Summer camps dig deep for Halifax Transit fare

Children from dozens of summer camps use Halifax Transit for day trips, but some camps say their programs are limited because of the cost.

Halifax buys about $30K worth of transit tickets every summer for its camps

Children from the Ben James Summer Camp climb aboard a Halifax Transit bus. The camp is charged every time they want to travel. (CBC)

Children from dozens of summer camps use Halifax Transit for day trips, but some camps say their programs are limited because of the cost.

Tamsyn Brennan helps run the day camp at Veith House. They’ve packed the centre with drawing supplies and toys, but one thing they don’t have is money for bus fare.

"We would love to take our kids to the Discovery Centre and see the Sesame Street display right now. We simply can't,” she said.

They can’t afford to go to the nearest library either.

"That is a $115 round trip simply on the bus. So that's before you take into account the entrance fee to these venues and these opportunities for our kids,” she said.

The Ben James Summer Camp, a camp for children with autism, uses Halifax transit to ferry its campers. There's one counsellor for every camper so a quick trip to the beach is expensive.

All told, the camp spends $5,000 each summer on transit fare alone.

“Those kinds of things come into impact where financially we might not have that kind of money, so that impacts programming,” said camp director Yevonne Le Lacheur.

The YMCA spends about $300 per week to put their campers on buses, about $3,000 a summer.

Camps out of Mount Saint Vincent University spend a little less than that, about $2,250 each summer.

The Dalplex camps spend between $500 to $600 to move kids around the city.

Halifax Transit reviewing policies 

It’s no free rides for city-run camps either. Halifax buys about $30,000 worth of transit tickets every summer for its day camps. 

Halifax Transit says it will give non-profits who ask 50 tickets a year. For the average day camp, that’s good for one trip.

"Well, it's not for me to say whether it's generous or not,” said Eddie Robar, director of Halifax Transit. "Right now, what we look at is our budgetary perspective and what we want to do is make sure that we're strategic and sustainable as we move forward.”

Although Halifax Transit is keeping an eye on its bottom line, Robar says it's also reviewing its policies to see if it can do more for non-profits.

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