Halifax Regional Municipality's bus service is asking passengers to dig a little deeper into their pockets to help update the system's technology.
Metro Transit officials have proposed an increase of $0.25 per ride, beginning later this year. If approved, the increase would
'I think if we're going to ask for a fare increase, we're going to have to clean up our act.'—Dartmouth Coun. Gloria McCluskey
bring the fare for an adult to $2.50 per ride.
In a report to the city from Metro Transit, it said the money would allow for automatic stop announcements, fare boxes that recognize smart cards and a system that will tell when the next bus is arriving. The upgrades could cost $36 million over the next three years.
In the report, transit officials compared Halifax fares to ten other similar sized cities across the country. Halifax ranked lowest below Gatineau, Saskatoon, Regina and Victoria.
Dartmouth Centre Coun. Gloria McCluskey said transit is the issue most complained about in her district.
"I hear more complaints about transit than anything else so I think if we're going to ask for a fare increase, we're going to have to clean up our act. We have to look at the whole picture and see where we can save money rather than increasing fares," she said.
McCluskey said she's not happy that the plan doesn't include reinstating the late night ferry service.
"I'm really, really, really annoyed about the ferry service," she said.
"In an area this size we could have the ferry running all night for people who are working, coming home late after hours — not having to take their cars."
Metro Transit cut ferry service back by an hour and 15 minutes last year to save money.
The budget proposal will be discussed at a finance committee meeting Wednesday. After, it will head to regional council for further debate in the spring.