Nova Scotia

Seniors free ride campaign launched

A Dartmouth man is lobbying Metro Transit to waive bus fares for seniors at least one day a week.

Calls to echo Ottawa program offering free bus service

A Dartmouth man is lobbying Metro Transit to waive bus fares for seniors at least one day a week.

Lorne Perry heard about the idea from a friend in Ottawa where seniors ride for free three days a week. It started off as a summer promotion and grew into a year-round service.

"There's a lot of older people here that are living alone and they can't afford to take the bus downtown and back," said Perry. "It would be good for them to get their groceries, to go and visit somebody, or maybe just to go for a drive."

"I simply think it is a need for seniors who've done their part in the community for all those years, to get something back," said Perry.

He's encouraging people to get in touch with their local HRM councillor to spread the word.

At least one is already onboard. Coun. Jerry Blumenthal represents North End Halifax.

"What would it cost Metro Transit? Nothing. It's just more people on the bus, and if they pick the day that's [not] the busiest for merchants and things, why not go with it?" reasoned Blumenthal. 

He plans to get the issue on next week's council agenda to request a feasibility study.

A representative for Metro Transit said it would take direction from council and consider the idea if budget considerations allow it.

Seniors pay $1.50 to take a Metro Transit bus one way. As a group, many seniors have become increasingly vocal in their fight to get around. Last fall, they successfully rallied to save the so-called 'Manors' route that connects seniors residences with downtown shopping. Last month, a Capital Health Authority budget cut axed a seniors bus service it had subsidized for more than two decades, that ran weekly from Musquodoboit Harbour on the Eastern Shore.

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