No bridge toll relief for Metro Transit

Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission will continue to collect nearly a half million dollars annually in tolls from city buses

The Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission wants to increase tolls on the Macdonald and McKay bridges. An application to the Utility and Review Board, which regulates bridge tolls, asks that fares for cars be increased from 75 cents to one dollar, with MacPasses increased from 60 to 80 cents. The higher rates will help pay the $137 million for replacement decking on the Macdonald Bridge, according to the commission.

The application asks for no increase in charges for buses, but neither does it call for the elimination of the $1.20 MacPass charge for Metro Transit buses, even though the commission says a new $1.1 billion bridge will be needed if transit ridership doesn't increase. "Users have to pay," says Alison MacDonald, spokesperson for the commission, explaining why the bus charge isn't eliminated. Metro Transit pays $470,000 annually in bridge tolls.

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