Bus routes needed to link Dartmouth communities: business groups

The Dartmouth Thing says it just takes too long to travel by bus within the communities of Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage.

Business coalition says it can take 90 minutes to bus from one end of Dartmouth to the other

The coalition hired an urban planner to review the transit system and recommend changes that would not cost more money. (CBC)

A coalition of business groups called The Dartmouth Thing says it just takes too long to travel by bus within the communities of Dartmouth, Cole Harbour and Eastern Passage.

"We have an overly complex system that makes no bloody sense," said Derek Brett, chair of the Greater Burnside Business Association. "You can actually get to Burnside faster if you are coming from the Halifax side."

Brett said it can take up to 90 minutes to get from one part of Dartmouth to another. He said that's shrinking the pool of available workers at a time when Burnside is trying to grow.

'Hard time getting to work'

The president of the Cole Harbour and Area Business District said the lack of cross-town bus routes is also affecting employers in her area.

"I've got employers who say they have a hard time getting employees because unless they have a car they have a hard time getting to work," said Angela Mercier.

Mercier adds the worst case scenario is the young people who live in Humber Park off Highway 7 and attend the Akerley NSCC campus.

Mercier said because there are no buses that travel down Main Street, it's faster for them to walk than to take the bus.

Buses for Main Street

The coalition hired an urban planner to review the transit system and recommend changes that would not cost more money. The proposal included a couple of buses for Main Street.

But transit officials have rejected the suggestions, along with 21 other ideas for improving a five-year plan.  
So coalition members think the municipality should hire an outside expert who can bring a fresh perspective.

"They have a proven track record, made some changes and increased ridership by 30 per cent," said Grazella Grbac, executive director of the Main Street Business Association. "Our ridership seems to be going down."

A report on Halifax Transit's five-year plan will be debated at Halifax Regional Council on Tuesday.

About the Author

Pam Berman

Reporter

Pam Berman is CBC Nova Scotia's municipal affairs reporter. She's been a journalist for almost 35 years and has covered Halifax regional council since 1997. That includes four municipal elections, 19 budgets and countless meetings. Story ideas can be sent to pam.berman@cbc.ca