Metro Transit – My Letter

Metro Transit – Transit Services

Halifax Regional Municipality
200 Ilsley Ave, Dartmouth, N.S., B3B 1V1

mail to: contactHRM@halifax.ca

Copy sent to

Mayor Peter Kelly Office of the Mayor kellyp@halifax.ca

Councillor Mary Wile District 10 – Clayton Park wilem@halifax.ca

Councillor Pat Murphy District 11-North End murphyp@halifax.ca

Councillor Dawn Sloane District 12 – Downtown sloaned@halifax.ca

Councillor Sue Uteck District 13 -South End utecks@halifax.ca

Councillor Sheila Fougere District 14- Quinpool fougers@halifax.ca

Blind Copies

Saturday, December 15, 2007 – 02:55 AM

Regarding Metro Transit Rout 18 From Spring Garden & South Park

Last trip ….. 1209pm

Dear Sir:

This is not an easy letter for me to write because in general I feel that the service provided by Metro Transit has improved greatly over the past five years. I live in the top end of Clayton Park (District 10) and work, socialize & find my entertainment in the Downtown Business District, and for most of the past 20 years have either walked the 10 k [each way] or relied on Metro Transit. Over the past 10 years my time has become more restrictive & I don’t have the 2.5hrs required to do the round trip by foot so riding the bus has become a daily occurrence. The combination of limited parking, an over abundance of crazy parking ticket dispensers, cost of fuel, environmental issues all rolled together has always rationalized my use of Metro Transit & I have to admit the extra bonus of being able to have supper & a few beer with friends before I head home without worrying about potential DWI charges works for me.

The addition of Routs 16, 18, 42, 52, running out of Lacewood have improved my ability to travel quickly to the top of Spring Garden or to the Dartmouth Bridge Terminal & transferring is always easy from either point. At least during the week, during school season but its time that Metro transit addresses the issue of their weekend schedule. The reduced schedule on Saturday is bad enough but traveling by bus on Sunday with the new retail hours is nothing short of painful. But thats not the reason for this letter……

I dealt with a situation this evening that frustrated me to the point that I’m sitting here at 3.45am writing to complain about a rather ridiculous flaw in the schedules that has to be addressed. Throughout the evening buses depart Spring Garden & South Park twice every hour at roughly 15 to the hour & 15 after to be at Saint Mary’s for 10 to the hour & 20 after the hour & proceed to Lacewood in roughly 30 minutes… quickest way home, doesn’t require transferring or dealing with the ridiculousness of the West End Mall.

The last trip is scheduled to leave Spring Garden & South Park at 11.45 to get to SMU for 1150p then 1156p at Robie & Quinpool then 1213 at MSV & home at 1225p. I know that should you miss that 11.45p departure there is no way to correct the situation with out a walk … the #1 & #80 don’t connect with the last #2 at West End or Joe Howe & running down to Scotia Square to try to catch the #2 there doesn’t work … believe me I’ve tried.

Friday evening I arrived shortly after 11.30pm at the Spring Garden & South Park bus stop and checked GoTime and was informed that I had 12 minutes to wait, I decided to walk as far as Spring Garden & Robie and catch the 18 after it had made the trip to SMU & was headed back to Lacewood. As I arrived at that corner I saw the 18 make the turn from Robie on to Spring Garden. From personal experience that would mean roughly a 15 minute wait till that bus came round the loop so I continued to walk up Robie as far as the stop in front of the QEII hospital.

The # 7 drove past, it was no assistance to me so I waved the driver on. The # 80 arrived & let a gentleman off the bus & departed……. no #18! I waited another 15 min and started walking – out Robie to Cunard to Windsor to the Fairview overpass & then up Main to Lacewood then Clayton Park Drive then Willette & Home.

That stroll through the snow took roughly 1hr 30 min … the walking was slow and in spots quite treacherous – sloppy slush on top of unshovelled icy sidewalks. NO FUN. Not to mention that I had been out for supper & not intending to walk home tonight so I wasn’t dressed properly for the conditions & my foot ware was not the best for that kind of trek.

The issues that this adventure highlight are:

  • It is absolutely ridiculous that the bus system shuts down at 11.45p on Thursday Friday & Saturday nights when the downtown entertainment world is open till 3 – 4.00 am It is time Metro Transit adopts a ‘Blue Line’ style service with select routs offering 24/7 service so that the thousands of hospital, hospitality, call center and cleaning staff who work weird hours have the ability to take Metro Transit to & from their jobs. Not all routs would nave to be involved … for example if the routs # 1, 2, 10, 20, 52, & 80 ran once an hour through the night and actually connected, most of the potential passengers could get with in an easy walk of their work or home & shorten the time involved.

I have friends who live in Highfield & have to be at work on Barrington St for 5.00am … no bus so they’re faced with a taxi ride of $12.00 each morning that their employer will not cover…. does that make sense for a $8.35/hr job? If the # 52 ran & connected at the Bridge Terminal with a #1 or 10 the trip would be $2.00.

  • There was no signage at the Spring Garden & South Park bus stop or anywhere along the rout that indicated that the bus I was waiting made its last trip at XX.XX. GoTime did confirm that ‘the next bus is scheduled to depart in 12 minutes and that that was the last trip for the day.’ If there was any notification that the trip would terminate anywhere before it reached Lacewood, I hung up after the ‘last trip of the day’ & if there was notification I did not hear it.
  • I did make three attempts to arrange for a cab but the week before Christmas so I was told the wait would be at least 45 min. & standing at a Bus Stop for that long & then to pay $25.00 to get home was just not going to happen.

In the end I was annoyed because I had deliberately left my friends to make the connection home, I was at the Bus Stop with all kinds of time and continued to put myself at Stops where the #18 should have arrived. I could have arranged to crash at one lady’s place or my daughter lives in the downtown so if I had been aware that I was faced with a long cold walk other arrangements could have been made.

There you go … I just vented! But you have to admit the situation is ridiculous and could be corrected with one or two more trips daily or a ‘Blue Line’.

The question I leave you with is:

How long is it going to take for Metro Transit to study the situation, come up with a plan and implement a solution to this situation?

I won’t hold my breath waiting… they’re still studying the impact of the Sunday Shopping on demand & I don’t see any solution coming soon.

But then again…. it is an election year.

Thank you in advance for your attention to this matter.

Yours truly

Les Muise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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