On Friday, September 30, 2016, several groups, including the Quinpool Road Mainstreet District Association, North End Business Association, Main Street Dartmouth and Area Business Improvement Association, Spring Garden Area Business Association, Downtown Halifax Business Commission, “The Dartmouth Thing” (a newly formed advocacy group, comprised of Dartmouth communities, currently addressing transit), and Greater Burnside Business Association met with Sean Gillis of the public advocacy organization, It’s More Than Buses, and their guest, Darren Davis, a prominent, international transit planner from Auckland, New Zealand, to discuss the current Halifax transit conundrum.
The wide-ranging discussion focused, in particular, on Halifax’s ongoing bus network issues, which have not been addressed by Halifax’s Transit’s new “Moving Forward Together” plan. The groups present expressed serious concerns that the plan does not take the necessary steps to significantly increase transit ridership. As well, the plan does not properly account for the needs of people using transit to travel within Dartmouth.
Davis, providing the example of the inspired transit plan implemented by Auckland (a region with triple the number of people, but similar geographic, topographic and other similarities to HRM), demonstrated how to redefine and simplify regional transit without incurring additional costs.
Although the new transit plan has been approved in principle by HRM Council, there are still opportunities for HRM to improve the system, through the current Integrated Mobility Plan. The gathered groups agreed to build upon their coalition directed toward continuing to make public officials more cognizant of transit needs, and to hold those same officials more accountable for the ongoing problem surrounding regional mass transit.
About It’s More Than Buses:
It’s More Than Buses (IMTB) is a grass roots group. They work to make transit the best choice for most trips in Halifax. IMTB believes in building a great city by providing residents with quality transit. They lobby for fast, frequent, reliable and user friendly transit. For more information, visit: https://itsmorethanbuses.com.
About Darren Davis:
Darren Davis is a proudly car-free principal public transport planner. He has 25 years of experience in transport in Auckland. He began as a public transport lobbyist and grew into a planner, strategist, communicator and consultant. He has carried out public transport service design, done high-level policy and strategy work, and been a key team member in transit-oriented development projects. He currently leads the public transport network and service policy team at Auckland Transport.