Coping with success

http://www.thechronicleherald.ca

Coping with success
Wed. Jan 16 – 4:46 AM
WITH a roaring success on its hands, Metro Transit must fulfil its part of the bargain with commuters.

The agency in charge of transit buses in Halifax Regional Municipality expanded its service a couple of years back, putting in place a park-and-ride program under the name of MetroLink.

Fancy new buses – complete with special chairs, bike racks and the ability to trigger traffic lights – were put on the roads, resulting in faster travel between outlying areas and downtown Halifax. Part of the deal was free parking, allowing motorists to park their vehicles nearer home and be transported to work faster and more conveniently.

Commuters took up the offer with great enthusiasm: Parking lots in Portland Hills soon overflowed, forcing motorists to park their vehicles in illegal zones. After controversy arose about ticketing vehicles without notice, the parking lot was expanded, although not by nearly enough to accommodate commuters taking the buses.

The same problems have surfaced at MetroLink’s terminal in Lower Sackville, where commuters are as eager to use the service as are those in the Portland Hills area. Lately, some motorists have received tickets for illegal parking, but complain they weren’t given proper notice that a crackdown was coming.

Metro Transit says it has expanded the parking lot, and is exploring ways to ease the problems, such as having commuters park elsewhere and then busing them to the Walker Avenue terminal to pick up the MetroLink service.

Metro Transit is obligated to quickly deal with the problems created by the huge success of its park-and-ride program. Otherwise, commuters now committed to taking MetroLink may return to their old, bad habit of taking their vehicles downtown.

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