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Bus to the airport gets green light

Problem is, MetroX bus procurement's on a milk run. Airport service can't be implemented until spring of 2011.

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An airport bus appears to be coming after all. Mention of the airport bus was left off the Five-Year Transit Plan delivered to council a few weeks ago, but a separate staff report submitted to council this week says the airport bus is in the works.

Sort of.

Metro Transit hopes to incorporate the bus into its MetroX service, which began in August with a Tantallon to Scotia Square commuter run. But MetroX buses are built atop a GMC chasis, and the disarray in the auto industry presents procurement problems; the report says that "realistically" the airport service can't be implemented until spring of 2011.

Six buses, and two spare buses, are needed for the airport service. The Tantallon MetroX buses cost $140,000 each, but with the procurement problems that price will likely increase. Costs will be somewhat offset by a $450,000 grant from the airport. As far as operational costs go, council will only have to find a relatively modest $1.27 million annually for the service.

But as it's designed, the "airport bus" is really more of a "airport worker" and Fall River commuter bus. The new route will start at Scotia Square, make stops in Burnside and Fall River, then exit the 102 at Old Guysborough Road and swing through the Aero Tech Park businesses before finally arriving at the terminal. The bus will then make the circuit in reverse.

The bus will not have luggage racks, and the route will take perhaps an hour to complete. Buses will run hourly from 6am to midnight, except during rush hour, when it will run every 30 minutes.

While not exactly convenient, those travellers who can venture it will pay just $3.25 in fares, a considerable savings from the $21 Airporter bus or $53 taxi fare.

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