From top-left: Halifax Transit bus in new livery, Lacewood Terminal at night, view of Halifax from the deck of the Stannix, warning on Halifax III railing, new entrance to Dartmouth Alderney terminal.
|Area served||HRM Urban Transit Service Area |
|Locale||Halifax, Nova Scotia|
|Transit type||Bus, Ferry|
|Number of lines||57 bus routes
2 ferry routes
5 express bus lines
|Number of stations||
|Key people||Dave Reage, Director|
|Headquarters||200 Ilsley Avenue, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia|
|Operator(s)||Halifax Regional Municipality|
|Number of vehicles||312 buses
Halifax Transit is a Canadian public transport service operating buses and ferries in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Founded as Metro Transit in March 1982, Halifax Transit provides service in the urban service and adjacent area of the regional municipality utilizing 2 ferry routes, 57 conventional bus routes, two limited stop express routes, and three limited stop rural express routes. Halifax Transit also operates Accessabus, a door-to-door paratransit service for seniors and the disabled. In 2nd quarter 2016 bus ridership was 3.96 million, ferry ridership 641,000, and Accessabus ridership was 37,300. According to the 2011 census, Halifax has the 7th highest proportion of workers taking transit to work in a city in Canada.
- 1 History
- 2 Operations
- 3 Services
- 4 Transit routes
- 5 Criticism
- 6 In Popular Culture
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The municipality's first transit service came with establishment of the Dartmouth ferry service, first chartered in 1752. In 1816 the sail powered ferry was replaced by a horse powered boat, and in 1830 with a steam ferry. While private omnibus services are known to have begun in the city at least as early as 1854, the roots of Halifax Transit date back to June 11, 1866.
The Halifax City Railroad Company (HCR) began operations with five horse-drawn trams on rails that stretched from the corner of Barrington Street and Inglis Street in the south end to the city’s first railway station near the corner of Duffus Street and Campbell Road (now Barrington Street) in the north end.
Notwithstanding a ten-year hiatus, horse-drawn street railway services continued in Halifax until April 1896 when the system, now operated by the Halifax Electric Tramway Company, completed the conversion to electric-powered operation. The street railway served Halifax until March 1949, when the war-worn trams were replaced by "trackless" electric trolley coaches.
The bright yellow trolleys, operated by utility Nova Scotia Light and Power, plied city streets exclusively until 1963, when they were supplemented by diesel buses for the first time. The system became all-diesel on January 1, 1970, the same day the City of Halifax took over the operation.
Metro Transit, a single transit agency serving all of the greater metropolitan area of Halifax-Dartmouth, began operations in March 1981. The system was created by the Metropolitan Authority, a common-services agency representing the former cities of Halifax and Dartmouth as well as suburban Halifax County, to consolidate the transit operations of the Halifax Transit Corporation in Halifax and Dartmouth Transit.
Metro Transit expanded in 1994 with the absorption of the Dartmouth ferry services formerly operated by the city of Dartmouth. Ownership of the transit service was transferred to the newly created Halifax Regional Municipality at amalgamation in 1996. Since that time the service has been operated directly by the municipal government and since October 2010 Transit has reported though the Transportation Standing Committee of Halifax Regional Council. The municipality announced on July 15, 2014 that it was changing the services name to Halifax Transit in reflection of the city's new brand.
In January 2014, Halifax regional council approved a study to look at a major re-design of the city's transit system. The "Moving Forward Together Plan" was adopted in principal by Halifax Regional Council in April 2016. Proposed amendments to the plan were defeated in November 2016, with the exception of a change to the route of the Porters Lake Metro X (soon to be Rural Express) and a short reprieve to attempt to increase ridership to save the #15 bus to York Redoubt. A review will be undertaken involving an outside consultant in 12–18 months to evaluate the results and suggest possible route optimization.
There are 312 buses in the fleet, all of which will be low floor and wheelchair accessible by the end of 2017/18.
Conventional bus service
Halifax Transit operates 57 conventional transit routes within the Urban Transit Service Area, broadly similar to the metropolitan region of Halifax Regional Municipality (Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Sackville), including the areas of Eastern Passage, North Preston/Cherry Brook, Tantallon and Herring Cove. Routes are numbered according to the region or type of service provided.
Express routes, originally established as Metro Link express bus service operates Monday to Friday. The two express routes began service in August 2005. The system consists of two limited-stop fully accessible express routes, connecting downtown Halifax's Scotia Square bus terminal, with the Portland Hills terminal in Cole Harbour on the Dartmouth side, and the Sackville Terminal in Lower Sackville.
Regional Express Routes, formerly MetroX, is Halifax Transit's rural express bus service. There are three routes which started operating in August 2009 running between Halifax and Tantallon, the Airport, and Porters Lake, respectively. All routes terminate at Scotia Square in downtown Halifax, are handicap accessible and have facilities to carry bicycles.
Rural routes provide some suburban and rural communities access to the regular and express bus system operated by Halifax Transit. There are three rural routes provide service between the Sackville Terminal and Beaverbank; Portland Hills to East Preston, Lake Echo, Grand Desert, and; South Centre Mall and Ketch Harbour via the Old Sambro Road and Highway 349.
Halifax Transit also provides two passenger ferry routes, one connecting downtown Halifax with Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, and the other connecting with Woodside. Each route is serviced by a pair of vessels. The ferry services are integrated with the bus services; the fares are identical, and transfers are accepted between the two systems. The harbour ferries board 1.4 million passengers each year Each ferry carries up to 398 passengers. All routes are handicap accessible and have provision to carry bicycles.
Halifax Transit also provides Access-A-Bus service which is a dial-a-ride service for elderly and handicapped residents in the region. This service was created in 1981, the same year Halifax Transit was formed. There are approximately 20 Access-A-Bus vehicles.
Halifax Transit offers four main fare categories: Adult (16 years & up), Senior (65+ years), Child (5 – 15 years), and Student (Full Time Student with valid photo student ID).
|Category||Cash Fare||MetroPass||10 tickets|
Anyone with a ticket, pass or transfer for the regular or Metrolink service can pay the difference in cash fare to use a more expensive Metrolink or MetroX service.
A Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Identification card can be used to obtain free travel on Halifax Transit's conventional buses, MetroX buses, MetroLink buses and harbour ferry service. A university student bus pass (U-pass) is available for Saint Mary's, Mount Saint Vincent, King's College, Dalhousie, Nova Scotia Community College (Halifax Campuses only) and Nova Scotia College of Art and Design students, and the cost is included in tuition fees. Halifax Transit is also piloting a low income bus pass at 50% off regular price.
Transfers are issued upon request on all Halifax Transit buses and ferries. A transfer allows the user to transfer between multiple conventional route buses and ferries traveling in any direction without having to pay an additional fare. A transfer also allows users to transfer to MetroLink and MetroExpress buses at a reduced fare. Transfers are valid for 90 minutes after the last scheduled stop on the current run of the route where it was issued. Holders of a valid MetroPass or MetroLink Pass do not require transfers.
Schedules and route information
Route information can be accessed through the Halifax Transit Departures number 902 480 8000. Individual route schedules are available online at halifax.ca/transit. Most terminals have TV screens that display anticipated arrival times of buses that service the terminal.
In early 2016, Halifax Transit publicly released their next-generation AVL-based system called Departures. The system was first launched on May 15, 2016, with the introduction of the Departures Line, and as of July 2016 the rollout of the updated Departures Board that replaces the older GoTime departure displays found at terminals across the system. The Departures Board works similar to the previous GoTime-based departures display, with the exception that instead of showing the next two bus arrival times, will display the bay number and the next bus departure time, either showing the next hour and minute or the number of minutes before the bus departs, or "delayed" if the bus is behind by a certain number of minutes. It will also only show buses set to arrive in the next while, versus the older display which would show "(not scheduled)" for any route not running at that point in time.
The Departures Line works similarly to the previous GoTime IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system. Instead of dialling (902) 480- plus the 4-digit number found on bus stop signage, one dials (902)-480-8000 and following the voice responses, one would input the bus stop number to access route departure times. The system gives the estimated departure time if available, scheduled times if the bus is not reporting real-time data or is delayed by a number of minutes, adjusted time to depart when schedule adjustments are made, and will announce when a bus is arriving within the minute.
On December 16, 2016 Halifax Transit began piloting an automated stop announcement system on several bus routes and equipping all conventional buses with the new service by end of March 2017. The stop-by-stop announcements offer Transit riders a more accessible and user-friendly experience.
Route number structure
Routes in the 00s, the 10s and the 20s are primarily Halifax-based routes. Routes in the 30s are rush-hour only routes serving Halifax. Routes in the 40s are university routes serving the Dalhousie University Studley campus which normally operate only during the academic calendar (September to April). Routes in the 50s, 60s and 70s are primarily Dartmouth-based routes. Routes in the 80s and 90s are Sackville and Bedford routes. Routes in the 100s are the MetroLink routes, routes in the 300s are the MetroX routes, and routes in the 400s are the Community Transit routes.
|No.||Name||Features||Inner Terminal||Outer Terminal||Notes/History|
|1||Spring Garden||Bridge Terminal||Mumford Terminal|
|2||Wedgewood||Water Street Terminal||Kearney Lake & Wedgewood||Used to provide service to Exhibition Park.|
|4||Rosedale||Water Street Terminal||Ross & Dunbrack|
|5||Chebucto||Water Street Terminal||Downs & Milsom||Weekday service only.|
|6||Quinpool||Water Street Terminal||Stonehaven & Glenmore|
|7||Robie||Merv Sullivan Park||Northridge Loop|
|9||Barrington||Point Pleasant Park||Mumford Terminal|
|10||Dalhousie||Dalhousie University Terminal||Invenary & Strath|
|11||Dockyard||Bridge Terminal||Halifax Dockyard||Partially a re-reinstatement of a former route with the same number.|
|14||Leiblin Park||Barrington & Duke||Leiblin & Juniper|
|15||Purcell's Cove||Bayers Road Terminal||York Loop|
|16||Parkland||Bridge Terminal||Lacewood Terminal||No Sunday service.|
|17||Saint Mary's||Saint Mary's University||Lacewood Terminal||Weekday service only. No evening service.|
|18||Universities||Saint Mary's University||Lacewood Terminal|
|19||Greystone||Mumford Terminal||Greystone Loop||Weekday service only.|
|20||Herring Cove||St Paul's & School||Barrington & Duke|
|21||Lakeside / Timberlea||Charles & Richard||Summer & Trollope|
|22||Armdale||Mumford Terminal||Exhibition Park|
|23||Timberlea / Mumford||Upper Water & Cornwallis||Glengarry Gardens||Weekday service only.|
|31||Main Express||Summer & Trollope||Lacewood Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|32||Cowie Hill Express||Barrington & Duke||South Centre Mall||Weekday service only.|
|33||Tantallon Express||Summer & Trollope||Hubley Centre Mall||Weekday service only.|
|34||Glenbourne Express||Summer & Trollope||Kearney Lake & Parkland||Weekday service only. Used to be the Rockingham Express.|
|35||Parkland Express||Via Rail Station||Lacewood Terminal||Weekday service only. Used to service Rosedale.|
|41||Dartmouth – Dalhousie||Dalhousie University Terminal||Bridge Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|42||Lacewood – Dalhousie||Dalhousie University Terminal||Lacewood Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|51||Windmill||Bridge Terminal||Princess Margaret & Killkee||Weekday rush service extends from Bridge Terminal to Princess Margaret & Killkee to Joseph Zatzman Dr.|
|52||Crosstown||Colfold & Akerley||Chain Lake & Lakelands|
|53||Notting Park||Highfield Terminal||Bridge Terminal||Weekday rush service extends from Bridge Terminal to Summer & Trollope.|
|54||Montebello||Dartmouth Ferry Terminal||Caledonia & Du Portage|
|55||Port Wallace||Dartmouth Sportsplex||Portobello Loop|
|56||Dartmouth Crossing||Portland Hills Terminal||Wright & Countryview||Used to service Westphal|
|57||Russell Lake||Woodside Ferry Terminal||Portland Hills Terminal||Used to service Mic Mac|
|58||Woodlawn||Bridge Terminal||Dorthea & Lucien|
|59||Colby||Bridge Terminal||Ashgrove & Cole Harbour||Weekday rush service extends from Bridge Terminal to Summer & Trollope.|
|60||Eastern Passage / Heritage Hills||Bridge Terminal||Caldwell & Shore|
|61||Auburn / North Preston||Barrington & Duke||North Preston Recreation Centre||Used to service Bisett.|
|62||Wildwood||Bridge Terminal||Cole Harbour Place||Used to be the 62 Cherrybrook.|
|63||Woodside||Bridge Terminal||Irving & Franklyn||Weekday service only.|
|64||Akerley||Bridge Terminal||Akerley & McClusky||Weekday rush hour service only.|
|65||Caldwell||Portland Hills Terminal||Caldwell & Cole Harbour|
|66||Penhorn||Cobequid Terminal||Gaston Loop||Used to provide service to the Woodside Ferry, and Forest Hills.|
|68||Cherrybrook||Bridge Terminal||Cherrybrook & Hwy 7||Weekday peak service extends from Bridge Terminal to Summer & Trollope. Used to provide service to Ross Road and Auburn.|
|72||Portland Hills||Portland Hills Terminal||Finlay & Shuble|
|78||Mount Edward Express||Woodside Ferry Terminal||Cole Harbour Place||Weekday rush hour service only.|
|79||Cole Harbour Express||Woodside Ferry Terminal||Colby Village||Weekday rush hour service only. Replaces former MetroLink route 165.|
|80||Sackville||Upper Water & Cornwallis||Sackville Terminal|
|81||Hemlock Ravine||Upper Water & Cornwallis||Bedford & Uteck||Weekday service only. Used to service Bedford|
|82||Millwood||Cobequid Terminal||Sackville Terminal||Weekday peak service extends from Cobequid Terminal to Barrington & George|
|83||Springfield||Sackville Terminal||Springfield Estates|
|84||Glendale Express||Summer & Trollope||Sackville Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|85||Downsview Express||Summer & Trollope||Sackville Terminal||Weekday service only. Used to be the Bedford Express.|
|86||Basinview Express||Summer & Trollope||Hwy 1 & Rockmanor||Weekday service only. Used to connect Bedford and Dartmouth.|
|87||Glendale||Bridge Terminal||Sackville Terminal||Used to service Halifax and Connolly.|
|88||Bedford Commons||Cobequid Terminal||Bedford Commons||Used to service Atlantic Acres.|
|89||Bedford||Lacewood Terminal||Cobequid Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|90||Larry Uteck||Lower Water Street Terminal||Larry Uteck Roundabout|
|159||Portland Hills Link||Barrington & Duke||Portland Hills Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|185||Sackville Link||Barrington & Duke||Sackville Terminal||Weekday service only.|
|320||Airport/Fall River||Albemarle & Duke||Halifax Stanfield International Airport|
|330||Tantallon||Albemarle & Duke||Tantallon Rink Park & Ride||Weekday service only.|
|370||Porters Lake||Albemarle & Duke||Porters Lake Rink Park & Ride||Weekday service only.|
|400||Beaver Bank||Sackville Terminal||Beaver Bank Villa, highway 354|
|401||Porters Lake||Portland Hills Terminal||Grand Desert, highway 207||Weekday service only.|
|402||Sambro||South Centre Mall||Ketch Harbour fire station, highway 349||Weekday service only.|
Wheelchair – Uses Accessible Low Floor (ALF) buses only.
Rush Hour Service Only.
Designated Bike Route.
MetroLink Service (see MetroLink section below)
MetroX Service (see MetroX section below)
University routes that only operate during the university academic calendar year (September – April).
|3||Gottingen||1927||1989||Merged with route 7.|
|8||Windsor||1963||1999||Discontinued due to overlapping service from other routes.|
|8||Waterfront||2010||2013||Discontinued due to inadequate ridership.|
|11||Macdonald Bridge||1955||1988||Merged with route 1, later partially reinstated.|
|66||Forest Hills–Woodside Ferry||1987||1989|
|71||Forest Hills Express||1982||1989|
|165||Woodside Link||2005||2014||Replaced by new conventional route 79|
- The lack of a connective network which will result in dramatically less travel choice for transit users
- Inefficient and redundant route design that will cause ridership to remain low
- Missing data and analysis making it difficult to have good, evidence-based discussion
- A five-year implementation, which will cause unpredictability for riders as routes continuously change
In addition, the "Moving Forward Together Plan" is characterised as a plan that disregards the key principles that Halifax Transit identified through years of public engagement and consultation. Business groups have also noted both the current lack of service, and lack of proposed future service, along key corridors of the region.
In Popular Culture
- The characters of Phillip and Phillmore the ferry twins from the children's TV show Theodore Tugboat are modelled after the Halifax-Dartmouth ferries.
- Regional Plan 2014 Urban Transit Service Boundary Map (PDF) (Map).
- "2016/17 Q2 Halifax Transit KPI Report" (PDF).
- "Commuting to Work". Statistics Canada.
- Wyatt, D.A. (2015). All-time list of Canadian transit systems: http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/alltime/
- Canadian Railroad Historical Association Bulletin 17 (1954) http://www.exporail.org/can_rail/Canadian%20Rail_CRHA_Bulletin_no17_April_1954.pdf
- Cunningham, D. and Artz, D. (2009). The Halifax Street Railway: 1866–1949. Halifax: Nimbus
- Leger, P.A. and Lawrence, L.M. (1994), Halifax – City of Trolleycoaches. Windsor ON: Bus History Association
- An Act Respecting the Metropolitan Authority of Halifax, Dartmouth and the Municipality of the County of Halifax. Statutes of Nova Scotia. 1978. c. 9.
- Halifax Transit brand unveiled The Chronicle Herald
- "Halifax Transit's Multi-Year Transformation Underway". Halifax Regional Municipality. Retrieved 10 July 2016.
As part of the evolution of our transit system, and in keeping with the brand strategy, the name Metro Transit was changed to Halifax Transit
- Gillis, Sean (6 January 2014). "Transit First – Big changes for Metro Transit". Spacing Atlantic. Retrieved 4 February 2014.
- Halifax Transit plan 'Moving Forward' at full speed after council amendments  Metro News
- Halifax Transit, Metro Express page (with planning documents)
- Metro Transit, Dartmouth-Halifax Harbour Ferries
- Halifax Transit, Access-a-bus
- Halifax Transit, U-Pass
- Halifax Transit,  Low Income Pass
- Halifax Transit, 2008 News Archive
- Halifax Transit  Stop Announcements
- Burke, David (August 1, 2016). "Halifax Transit's poor reliability costs people work, says Cole Harbour man". CBC.
- Ryan, Haley (December 1, 2016). "The long, long bus ride: Dartmouth man takes councillor on his hour-and-a-half commute". Metro Halifax.
- "Open Letter to Council – Halt Moving Forward, Bring in an Expert (updated)". It's More than Buses. November 18, 2016.
- Berman, Pam (November 22, 2016). "Bus routes needed to link Dartmouth communities: business groups". CBC.
- Media related to Metro Transit (Halifax Regional Municipality) at Wikimedia Commons
- Halifax Transit's official website
- Complete route map for Halifax-Dartmouth area.
- Complete route map for Bedford-Sackville area.
- Schedules, maps for individual routes, riders guide.
- hbus.ca Community-based trip-planning service for Halifax