Halifax rolls out 'ambitious' transit strategy featuring electric buses and more ferries
HALIFAX -- Halifax Regional Council has hopped on board with the idea of electric buses and more frequent ferries.
The new Rapid Transit Plan is one of the most ambitious -- and most expensive -- projects in Halifax history.
It is an eight-year road map, with a clear destination: getting more people to use Halifax Transit with the promise of a quicker ride.
"Probably the best thing about it is the idea that there will be a network of buses that runs every 10 minutes, all day, every day, that don't get stuck in traffic," said Scott Edgar, who is with the public transit advocacy group It's More than Buses.
The four designated routes are part of a rapid-transit strategy that received unanimous support from Halifax Regional Council on Tuesday.
"This plan calls for there to be 50 per cent electric busses by 2028," said Halifax Mike Savage.
Three new ferry terminals in Mill Cove, near the bottom of Larry Uteck Boulevard, and in Shannon Park would connect ferries to the downtown.
"So, the only way to ensure commuters from Bedford are going to be able to avoid traffic is the harbour, so that's what the ferries are going to do," Edgar said.
It's a plan with plenty of fanfare, but will it really happen?
"Ambitious? Yes; impossible? No," Savage said.
The multi-year plan will cost $780 million and require a commitment of both federal and provincial funding.
"I think the feds are probably good for the money because it's their funding program to begin with, but that means the next big question mark is the province," Edgar said.
The provincial government didn't comment Wednesday, but the mayor is confident there will be co-operation.
"There's a lot of belief the province and the feds are both going to look to stimulate the economy and help in the recovery by putting money into infrastructure," Savage said.
It's a long-term commitment that will be needed in order for the plan to roll out.