Nova Scotia

Council debates increase to Halifax Transit fares

The proposed new budget for Halifax Transit includes a fare increase to cash fares and monthly passes that would take effect on Oct. 1.

Transit fares have not increased in five years, according to officials

( Robert Short/CBC)

The proposed 2019-2020 budget for Halifax Transit includes a 25-cent fare increase that would take effect on Oct. 1.

Transit officials point out there has not been a fare hike in over five years and the municipality has one of the lowest fares in the country.

Cash fares for adults, children and seniors would all go up by 25 cents. The cost of an adult monthly transit pass would increase from $78 to $85 and the price of 10 tickets would go up from $20 to $22. Monthly passes for seniors and children would increase from $58 to $62.   

Some councillors raised concerns at a meeting Wednesday of the budget committee about the impact on seniors, while others worried it would affect ridership, which has recently started increasing.

But several councillors expressed support for the move.

"I have never been against fare increases, I just want the bus system to be frequent and reliable," said Coun. Waye Mason.

"This is a pretty marginal fare increase," said Coun Sam Austin. "And we have programs in place for low-income folks in our community."

Sackville routes

There was more push back on the proposal by transit officials to eliminate changes to Sackville routes in order to keep the municipality's overall tax rate increase to 1.9 per cent.

Coun Lisa Blackburn said she could not support the budget if the planned route changes were not included. She pointed out that growth is continuing in the area and it's already tough to find a spot at the Sackville park-and-ride.

Many of her colleagues agreed with her.

Mason said it was "ludicrous" not to complete the Moving Foward Together Plan, which is intended to guide transit service over the next two decades.

Regional council asked staff to reconsider the overhaul of the Sackville routes.

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