IMTB’s Official Response to Halifax Transit

March 31, 2015

Dear Halifax Transit staff:

It’s More than Buses (IMTB) has been working for four years to build support for a fast, frequent and reliable transit system for Halifax. We support a high-quality transit network that serves high numbers of riders simply and efficiently and contributes to achieving the vision for the Halifax region described in HRM’s Regional Plan. IMTB is the voice of residents interested in high-frequency transit as well as a wide range of stakeholders that publicly endorse our Essential Elements of Good Transit (itsmorethanbuses.com) as Transit Champions (see Appendix A).

We strongly support Halifax Transit’s four Moving Forward Principles. Those principles were the product of Halifax Transit’s extensive public consultation in the fall of 2013, and they should be applied robustly to a redesigned transit network. Those principles are:

  • Increase the proportion of resources dedicated to high ridership services;
  • Build a simplified, transfer based system;
  • Invest in service quality and reliability;
  • Give transit increased priority in the transportation network.

IMTB believes that Halifax Transit’s proposal is an important and necessary first step toward a transit network that satisfies these principles. In particular, IMTB strongly supports Halifax Transit’s proposal to concentrate service on busy Corridor Routes, and feels that these routes will be an important step toward high-quality transit that residents can depend on.

IMTB urges Council to pass Halifax Transit’s proposal with the following improvements to key areas of the draft plan:

  • The corridors need more service and higher frequencies, especially at midday;
  • The proposed network still includes too much overlapping service. That overlap should be reduced;
  • The proposal is not nearly bold enough in its plans for transit priority measures. Council and municipal staff must start planning for dramatically increased transit priority infrastructure;
  • The proposed network needs better crosstown connections;
  • The proposed network should consolidate stops to improve transit speed;
  • The proposal must be implemented faster than Halifax Transit plans to, and it must be implemented all at once.

One final, critical point: Halifax Transit’s proposal offers no explicit vision of how public transit can serve the goals of Halifax’s Regional Plan or secondary plans such as the Downtown Halifax Municipal Planning Strategy (HRMbyDesign) or the forthcoming Centre Plan. This is an unfortunate missed opportunity. IMTB believes that a transit network that satisfies the four Moving Forward Principles will be a transit network that supports the Regional Plan’s goal of 16% of work trips being made by public transit. Fully implementing the Moving Forward Principles is also critical to achieving the Downtown MPS’ goal of public transit progressing “into a whole new level of public acceptability by making its use vastly more convenient and treating users as customers with much improved levels of service.” In what follows, we will highlight several ways Halifax Transit’s proposal should be improved to better support those goals. …

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