HRM council to decide on Metro Transit ferry service cuts
Late-night Metro Transit ferry service across the Halifax harbour could end in just a few weeks.
City staff is recommending that Halifax regional council approve a service reduction.
HRM councillors realized the ferry service was being cut only after the spring budget was already passed.
Metro Transit planned to reduce several trips on both ferries, but it was the cancellation of the late-night Alderney ferry run that angered people.
So council put the idea on hold and asked staff to study it.
Coun. Dawn Sloane says she's against any cuts to ferry service.
"I am definitely opposed to any ferry cutbacks or any cutbacks right now of any kind of mass transportation," said Sloane, the councillor for the city's downtown.
"I think the issue at hand here is that people that rely on the service will of course look for alternative ways to get around, which means more cars which means more traffic and more parking issues.
"If anything, I think what we need to be doing is investing in getting people onto mass transit."
Council is considering three options:
- Metro Transit can go ahead with the original plan and keep the city on budget.
- Maintain the current schedule which would cost more than $370,000 a year.
- Council can reduce the service all week long, except Friday and Saturday nights.
Staff say it's their understanding that Friday and Saturday nights are when the service would be missed the most.
It's also a much cheaper option — at only $19,000 a year.
Sloane says she thinks the added $370,000 needed to keep the service as-is can be found through attrition and other means.
Council will vote on what it believes is the best course on Tuesday. Any changes will come into effect on Aug. 27.