Which irritating bridge shuttle should you take for the next year?

Comparing and contrasting competing transit services.

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Once again we thank the Big Lift for its upcoming 18-month-long disruption of our lives.


Starting next week, Halifax Transit won’t travel across the Macdonald Bridge after 6:30pm (from Sunday through Thursday). To compensate, HT will run a special shuttle service between Halifax and Dartmouth five nights a week.

Which is confusing, since Halifax Harbour Bridges is running its own shuttle service starting in June. The bridge commission plans to use its three new 17-seat shuttles to make up for the Macdonald Bridge’s year-and-a-half lack of sidewalks and bike lanes.

Technically one option is for transit riders and one is for walkers and cyclists, but both will get you across the harbour in a pinch.

Let’s leave the speculation on why both organizations couldn’t have worked on a collaborative, less convoluted single transit system for another day.

What matters is you: the commuting/walking/cycling/nightlife-attending resident of HRM. Which pain-in-the-ass is right for you? We’ve prepared this handy chart to help residents make the most informed decision about how to be inconvenienced.

A Halifax Transit bus A Bridge shuttle bus
Halifax Transit HHB
When does it start?
February 23, a few days before the Macdonald starts closing to traffic in the evenings. End of June, when the bridge’s bike lanes and sidewalks are removed.
How much does it cost?
Regular bus fares apply Free!
Expected route
Scotia Square to the Bridge Terminal whenever the MacDonald is open to regular traffic, and over the MacKay to the Highfield and Bridge terminals when it's closed. Corner of Wyse Road and Faulkner Street to the waste water treatment plant at Cornwallis and Lower Water. 30 Faulkner Street in Dartmouth to North and Gottingen Street in Halifax.
What times does it run?
Sundays through Thursdays, at 10-minute intervals from 6:30 to 10:30pm and every 15 minutes after that. 24 hours, with projected 20 minutes departures on either side of the harbour.
Meant to replace
Bus routes 1, 10, 14, 41, 52, 61, 159, 320 Sidewalks for walkers, bike paths for cyclists
How convenient is it?
You’ll have to transfer off the bus you were riding, onto the shuttle and then back onto another bus once you’re over the bridge. Hopefully those will all connect. Free, 24-hour, 20-minute service is hard to beat. The only drawback is the Halifax drop off's complete inconvenience. Also, those shuttles could fill up fast during rush hours.
Number of bicycles each holds?
Two 14
Who should take it?
If you already have a bus pass, or you want to depart from/arrive at Scotia Square. Anyone going to Highfield may get there quicker if the Macdonald is closed. If it's before 6:30pm, you have a bike, you don't have bus fare, or you're anywhere in the north end closer to Cornwallis Street than Scotia Square.
Any other options?
Starting March 2, ferry service to-and-from Alderney will increase to every 15 minutes after 6pm. Sunday service will now start at 6:30am and run on a 30-minute rotation. It only takes a few more minutes to bike down to the ferry, but then you’ll be paying transit costs. Really, it depends on how many lazy bums just use the shuttles as free transit across the bridge.

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