Big changes coming to Halifax Transit routes starting Monday
25 bus routes will be changed, 26 new routes will be introduced
Halifax Transit is making some large-scale changes on Monday and extra workers will be on hand to help riders navigate new and altered routes.
"[Transit workers] have been busy … I know Monday it's going to be all hands on deck," said Coun. Trish Purdy, who represents the Cole Harbour, Westphal, Lake Loon and Cherry Brook areas.
"So staff, our executive director, right from the top all the way down, are going to be out there travelling on transit and helping anyone and everyone who needs help."
The changes are part of a 2016 municipal plan to restructure the transit network and improve services.
Monday will see the largest number of route changes so far. Twenty-five will be changed and 26 will be introduced.
Changes intended to streamline system
The service changes will mostly affect Dartmouth communities, but will also impact Halifax, Spryfield, Cole Harbour and communities between Dartmouth and Porters Lake. A West Bedford park-and-ride will also open.
The changes are intended to streamline the system by creating shorter routes with more transfers. This is meant to prioritize high-ridership areas and reduce the amount of time buses spend in traffic.
"The intention is to get folks to the terminals and then, from the terminals, go out into the broader municipality," said Purdy.
Patricia Hughes, the manager of planning and scheduling for Halifax Transit, said she's hopeful the changes will also increase ridership, which is still down about 30 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
"We're offering a lot of new services, some really great commute trips for people — streamlining some things," Hughes told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Monday.
"So I do expect to see more people try transit again once they get a look at the new routes that are coming."
Purdy's district will be significantly impacted with 16 changes from the Portland Hills bus terminal. She said she has heard mixed reactions from residents.
"I've had some concerns from residents," she said. "Some routes are going to be made longer, so they'll have to leave earlier to get to their destination of work at the same time."
She said a resident told her that her trip to work used to take 62 minutes but will now take 83.
"Yet, for other residents, it would be a welcome change because they will be more streamlined in their ability to get to work," Purdy said.
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With files from CBC Radio's Information Morning