The Halifax Regional Municipality has decided to expand its subsidized bus pass program to any employer who wants to take part.

University students at Saint Mary's, Mount Saint Vincent, and Dalhousie have used what's known as the UPass for a number of years. Recently EPasses were offered to Dalhousie University employees and those working at a large insurance company and a law firm to test out the system.

Now, Halifax regional council said it's ready to extend the program to any interested workplace.

"Large and small, we welcome them all," said Dave McCusker, transportation planner for the Halifax Regional Municipality.  

Coun. David Hendsbee said the passes are a good deal for commuters.

"For residents of my particular area, for them to have their employers get on this band wagon, they can virtually buy a year's pass for Metro X for the price of nine months," he said.

Employers and the Halifax Regional Municipality would share the cost of the rest of the bill.

City officials are convinced there will be a lot of interest in the program because some workplaces already subsidize the cost of parking.

"There are costs to you as an employer when a number of your employees choose to drive to work. You have to provide parking, some employers subsidize parking and that's a cost to them and it's just not the best environmental situation for us as a municipality," said McCusker. 

The city plans to offer EPasses to its own employees a year from now.

Officials estimate about 300 municipal employees will take part.