- Marie-Claude Hébert is from Montreal and moved to Halifax almost five years ago with her family. She loves languages and tries to do them justice in her work.
First, the context. In The Coast, a tiny article about a transformed transit network appeared. Some people read it more closely and started spreading the news: Halifax Transit had decided to make changes to its bus routes; among others, route 1.
Not long after, people in my neighbourhood started knocking at doors and sending emails to inform the individuals and businesses in the area, as well as the families who travel by that bus to this area, on Oxford Street, North of Chebucto Road.
Then, people found out that they could fill out a survey on the Halifax Transit website, which they did. Many also wrote their concerns to a Transit Planning technician who offered to transmit them to the committee in charge of the project planning. A petition, that everybody could sign, was even put in place at Local Jo Market Café on Oxford Street. And more recently, a webpage was created (savetheone.blogspot.ca) and its printed version is being distributed in the West End.
Indeed, in our opinion, the worst change in the HRM transit system in the proposed scheme is the re-routing of route 1 so that it now avoids a section of Oxford Street by branching off at Chebucto and replacing it with a very infrequent bus route 24 (every 30 minutes on week days, and every hour on weekends) which continues on Oxford and Bayers Road. Bus 24 will not even go downtown. So, the great number of people in that neighbourhood who already takes bus route 1 to go work downtown will now have to do a bus transfer, after waiting 30 minutes for the first bus to pick them up.
When you have an important and busy route like the 1, you want to keep it as frequent as possible. Frequency is the key to keep people using the transit system. Plus, that change would impact many businesses, services and families. Among other things, the new bus route 1 will stop covering one of the largest primary school on the peninsula: St. Catherine’s. The proposed take-off segment of bus route 1 running from Chebucto to Mumford Mall will have two major detrimental effects. First, it will significantly reduce the affluence of customers/users to many businesses and services both on Oxford Street and Bayers Road. Secondly, the new Chebucto-to-Mumford segment will NOT bring any new customers to Halifax Transit as it will be covered by two other bus routes: future bus 2 and bus 3. So the proposed new bus route 1 will: (a) detrimentally impact dense residential neighbourhoods and businesses in the Halifax West End community, (b) not bring any new customers to Halifax Transit, (c) push more people to use (or buy!) cars, thus increasing pollution and traffic jams and (d) face the Armdale Rotary traffic jams as opposed to the Bayers Road traffic jams.
So after everything that was done by users to keep bus route 1 as is, in this last attempt, we hope that the committee in charge will hear us and that as a result, bus route 1 will remain unchanged.