Nova Scotia

Faster bus system in Halifax region would cost $132M, says committee

A quicker bus system in the Halifax region is likely a decade away and could cost up to $132 million. Details of a study on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) were discussed at Thursday's Transportation Committee.

Plan includes fewer stops, bus-only lanes and queue jumping at intersections

Transit officials expect the new service would increase ridership by 10 per cent. ( Robert Short/CBC)

A quicker bus system in the Halifax region is likely a decade away and could cost up $132 million.

Details of a study on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) were discussed at Thursday's Transportation Committee.

There would be fewer stops along the routes, bus-only lanes and queue jumping at intersections to reduce travel times. Transit officials expect the new service would increase ridership by 10 per cent.

But it could take up to 10 years to implement.

"Because to do it properly, it's not just getting rid of the parking along Robie Street," explained Coun. Waye Mason. 

The committee recommends four BRT routes in high demand corridors:

  • Cowie Hill to the Bridge Terminal
  • Lacewood Terminal to the Water Street Terminal
  • Portland Hills Terminal to the Via Rail Station in south-end Halifax
  • Mount Saint Vincent University to the Via Rail Station in south-end Halifax

The four routes could cost up to $132 million. Transit officials hope to complete a plan for BRT within six months so the municipality can take advantage of federal infrastructure money.

Coun. Tim Outhit said he supports the proposal but hopes BRT does not overshadow plans for commuter rail and expanded ferry service.

"We're surrounded by rail and we're surrounded by water and what are we doing? Talking about where to run more things on roads," said Outhit. "I know the difference that rail and ferries can make that buses will never make."

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