|Area served||Halifax, NS|
|Founded||1979 (as Metro Transit)|
|Fleet size||345 buses|
|Number of routes||64|
|Annual ridership||23,700,000 (2011)|
|Annual non-tax revenue||$34,246,500 (2016/17)|
Halifax Transit, formerly known under the name Metro Transit, is the main public transportation system operator in the Halifax Regional Municipality Region (HRM) of Nova Scotia, and is the largest transit system in Atlantic Canada. Halifax Transit operates fifty-seven conventional bus routes, three bus rapid transit routes, three community routes, one rural express route and two harbour ferry routes. The system has one of the highest ridership rates in Canada proportional to population for a medium-sized city, with over 10 percent of residents using it every day.
Metro Transit was created by the merging of two separate transit systems serving opposite sides of Halifax Harbour, the Halifax Transit Corporation (and Nova Scotia Light & Power Company before that) and Dartmouth Transit Service. The transit system was then run by both cities cooperatively by the Metropolitan Authority under the legal name Metropolitan Transit Commission. Although Metro Transit was formed sometime in early 1979, it did not takeover transit operations until early 1980, and continued to operate out of its predecessors garages in Halifax and Dartmouth until the new garage in Burnside was opened in March 1981.
The system was particular to GMDD's buses, and was one of the first agencies to order the Classic in 1983. Except for a brief order of Saab Scanias as a result of a provincial government attempt to create a bus building industry in Nova Scotia, Metro Transit continued to order the Classic until 1996, a year before Nova Bus discontinued the model.
In 1992, Metro Transit took delivery of seven buses that were an articulated version of the Classic, made by MCI. Seven more followed the next year. Midway through the second order, MCI's transit bus division was acquired by NovaBus, who immediately discontinued the model after completing the order for Halifax. As a result, Metro Transit is one of only two agencies who own articulated Classics.
From 1996 to 1999, Metro Transit faced several major budget cuts that left service at a very low level, with many customer complaints. In addition, no new buses were ordered during this period, which left the system unable to cope with demand. 1999 saw the delivery of 10 Nova LFS buses, the first low-floor buses in the fleet, with an additional 4 units in 2000. Routes 3 and 7 were made low-floor only routes, and route 54 was made low-floor only the next year. Ironically, the wheelchair ramps on most of the 10 1999 LFS's, which were of the telescopic variety, eventually stopped working. As a result, the 1999 units no longer carry the International Symbol of Accessibility, while technically the 4 ordered in 2000 still do.
After this, Metro Transit began to prefer New Flyer Industries's D40LF model, ordering 32 in 2002 and an additional 127 in the years afterward. Most of these buses were replacements for retired buses, however, and the system is currently trying to cope with rapidly increasing demand.
Since the beginning of the new millennium, funding for transit has more than doubled, and the system has been able to introduce new routes and services, such as a MetroLink, a bus rapid transit system started in 2005. Part of a pilot project from Transport Canada, the $20-million system was a success, and more MetroLink routes are in the planning stages.
In the past few years, a new transit centre has been opened, new bus terminals are under construction/in planning, and MetroX routes to Halifax Stanfield Airport and Porters Lake were introduced in 2012-13.
On July 15, 2014, as part of a larger rebranding of the entire Halifax Regional Municipality to simply "Halifax", Metro Transit was renamed Halifax Transit, and a new livery was unveiled, which will be applied to buses and ferries as they come up for repainting.
Directors/General Managers since formation of HRM
- 1996-2005: Brian Taylor
- 2005-07: Paul McDaniel
- 2008-10: Patricia Soanes
- 2010-11: Eddie Robar, Lori Patterson, Erin Flaim (rotating position of Acting General Manager while a permanent one was chosen)
- 2011-16: Eddie Robar
- 2016-present: Dave Reage
Halifax Transit's conventional system operates fifty-six bus routes in the metropolitan Halifax area, including peninsular and mainland Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford and Lower Sackville. Conventional routes also service areas such as North Preston, Eastern Passage and Purcell's Cove.
Conventional routes are numbered from 1-99, as following:
- 01-29: Routes servicing Halifax
- 30-39: Rush-hour express routes servicing Halifax
- 40-49: University routes servicing Dalhousie University
- 50-79: Routes servicing Dartmouth
- 80-90: Routes servicing Bedford and Lower Sackville
In 2010, Metro Transit introduced the urban express route concept. These routes operate as a limited stop service once they arrive in the metro Halifax area, only stopping at major stops, reducing the time it takes to arrive in the downtown core. Express route bus stops are marked with a red bar and the word EXPRESS on them, along with the route number.
In 2013, Metro Transit created a 'high frequency' transit corridor along Portland Street and Alderney Drive in Dartmouth, between the Bridge Terminal and the Portland Hills Terminal. The Portland Corridor is made up of three routes: 59 Colby, 61 Auburn-North Preston and 68 Cherrybrook. Between the three of them, it provides 10-minute or better service along the corridor from the start to end of service (20 minute service on weekends).
MetroLink is Halifax Transit's limit-stop express Bus Rapid Transit system. The system consists of one limited-stop fully accessible express routes, connecting downtown Halifax's Scotia Square bus terminal, with the Portland Hills terminal in Cole Harbour. It formally included several other routes, one that connected Downtown Halifax with the Sackville Terminal in Lower Sackville. A third route also used to connect the Portland Hills terminal with the Woodside ferry terminal. These routes have been discontinued and replaced with new express routes, as part of the Halifax Transit Moving Forward Together Plan. A fourth route servicing Cobequid Terminal (to be assigned route number 184) was previously discontinued prior to the MFTP. Route 159 is scheduled to be discontinued later in 2021, which will mark the end of the MetroLink service.
The MetroLink service used to operate its own fleet of buses, New Flyer Industries model D40LF, which were assigned fleet numbers in the 600-series. The buses featured a distinctive livery on the exterior to tell them from the conventional bus fleet, and inside featured plush, high-back reclining chairs with arm and leg rests and a custom fabric design, as well as air conditioning and carpeting on the walls and ceiling to reduce noise. The buses were equipped with Opticom transmitters, which allowed the buses to hold green lights or activate transit priority measures at traffic intersections. In 2019, Halifax Transit announced that the special MetroLink busses had reached the end of their lifespans, and were phased out of service.
MetroLink routes are numbered in the 100-series.
MetroX Rural Express
MetroX is the name of Metro Transit's rural express transit system, designed to provide service directly to downtown Halifax (Scotia Square/Albemarle Street) from various rural areas along the province's 100-series highways. The first route, servicing Tantallon along the highway 103, entered service in August 2009 with the second route servicing Fall River and Halifax Stanfield International Airport in June 2012. Service to Porters Lake via highway 107 started in November 2013. The MetroX service operates a fleet of wheelchair accessible buses, which feature a distinctive livery and comfortable seating.
MetroX routes are numbered in the 300-series, with the second digit indicating the highway it services. For example, service on highway 103 is provided by the route 330.
Community Transit is the name of Halifax Transit's rural bus system, providing service to certain rural and suburban communities including Beaver Bank, Porters Lake, East Preston and Sambro. The Beaver Bank and Porters Lake routes are primarily serviced by New Flyer D30LFs, however are also occasionally serviced by D40LFs during busier months. The Sambro route is serviced by Glaval Bus Titans.
Starting 2012, Community Transit routes are given route numbers in the 400s, and now have designated bus stops along the routes.
Halifax Transit also provides two passenger ferry routes, one connecting downtown Halifax (Lower Water Street terminal) with Alderney Landing in Dartmouth (which operates daily using 2 vessels) and the other connecting downtown Halifax with Woodside (Monday through Friday, using 2 vessels). The ferry services are integrated with the bus services; the fares are identical, and transfers are accepted between the two systems. The harbour ferries are utilized by over 3,000 commuters daily. Each ferry carries up to 398 passengers.
Halifax Transit provides this accessible service, which is a dial-a-ride service for elderly and handicapped residents in the region. This service was created in 1981, the same year the transit system was formed. There are approximately 20 Access-A-Bus vehicles in service, all of the cutaway variety.
Fares are collected on buses via GFI Cents-a-Bill fareboxes, and by collectors inside the ferry terminals for the ferry system. All fares are exact change only.
|Cash||10 Tickets||Monthly Pass|
|Terminal||Location||# of routes||Passengers per |
|Bridge Terminal||Wyse Road, Dartmouth||19||19,526|
|Scotia Square||Scotia Square Mall||35||11,351|
|Mumford Terminal||Halifax Shopping Centre||14||10,124|
|Halifax Ferry Terminal||Halifax Waterfront||2||5,706|
|Lacewood Terminal||Clayton Park||13||5,563|
|Alderney Ferry Terminal (Ferry)||Dartmouth Waterfront||1||3,452|
|Highfield Terminal||Highfield Park Drive, Dartmouth||8||2,628|
|Portland Hills Terminal||Cole Harbour||10||2,589|
|Alderney Ferry Terminal (Bus)||Dartmouth Waterfront||1||2,542|
|Woodside Ferry Terminal (Ferry)||Dartmouth (Woodside)||1||2,250|
|Mic Mac Terminal||Mic Mac Mall||6||2,236|
|Sackville Terminal||Hwy 101/Lower Sackville||9||1,721|
|Cobequid Terminal||Lower Sackville||14||1,614|
|Penhorn Terminal||Penhorn Mall, Dartmouth||10||1,591|
|Lower Water Street Terminal||Downtown Halifax||7||1,308|
|Woodside Ferry Terminal (Bus)||Dartmouth (Woodside)||3||442|
Park & Ride lots
Park & Ride lots are parking lots adjacent to or near bus terminals or major transfer points, usually providing free parking to transit users.
|Location||Notes||Capacity||Daily Usage (2011)|
|Woodside Ferry Terminal||Free with MetroPass||300||300|
|Portland Hills Terminal||230||226|
|Dartmouth Ferry Terminal||MetroPass + $30/month||110||61|
|Maybank Field||Mic Mac Blvd||30||30|
|South Centre Mall||Spryfield||15||10|
|Exhibition Park||Ragged Lake||50||1|
|Highway 118 & Perrin Dr.||Fall River||90||New (May 2012)|
|Sheldrake Lake||Hubley||48||New (August 2012)|
|Porter's Lake||New (November 2013)|
|Burnside Transit Centre||200 Ilsley Avenue, Burnside Industrial Park, Dartmouth||D30LFs, D40LFs, LFS Artics, MetroLink D40LFss, G4500/Aerotech and G4500/EC II||Also contains maintenance, wash and fuel facilities, the paint shop, body shop, dispatch centre and administrative offices. Formerly called the Ilsley Transit Centre.|
|Ragged Lake Transit Centre||Prospect Road, Ragged Lake Business Park, Halifax||D40LFs, LFS Artics, 40-ft LFS', DE60LFRs, C5500/Titan and S2C/Legacy||Opened in August 2010. Contains a comprehensive maintenance and administrative facility, as well as indoor storage for buses.|
|Fleet number(s)||Thumbnail||Year||Manufacturer||Model||Engine||Transmission||Destination sign||Notes|
|GM Duramax 6.6L||None|
|GM Duramax 6.6L||None|
|GM Duramax 6.6L||None|
|Christopher Stannix||2014||A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar C12 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12R4/EC 75-1 (x2)||
|Craig Blake||2015||A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar C12 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12R4/EC 75-1 (x2)||
|Viola Desmond||2016||A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar C12 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12R4/EC 75-1 (x2)||
|Vincent Coleman||2017||A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar C12 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12R4/EC 75-1 (x2)||
|Rita Joe||2018||A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar C12 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12R4/EC 75-1 (x2)||
|GM Duramax 6.6L||None|
|GM Duramax 6.6L||None|
|GM Duramax 6.6L||None|
|Sherbrooke||1816||Dartmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1830.|
|Sir C. Ogle||1830||Dartmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1894.|
|Boxer||1838||Dartmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1864.|
|Annex 2||1878||New Baltimore, New York||Retired in 1909 (destroyed by fire).|
|Chebucto||1878||Dartmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1892.|
|Mic Mac||1878||Dartmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1901.|
|Arcadia||1884||Yarmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1891.|
|Dartmouth||1888||Yarmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1935.|
|Chebucto||1906||Retired in 1951.|
|Halifax||1911||Retired in 1956.|
|Dartmouth||1934||Lauzon, Quebec||Retired in 1957.|
|Governor Cornwallis||1941||Dartmouth, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1944 (destroyed by fire).|
|Scotian||1946||Pictou, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1955.|
|Dartmouth II||1956||Lunenburg, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1979.|
|Halifax II||1956||Lunenburg, Nova Scotia||Retired in 1979.|
|Dartmouth III||1978||Ferguson Industries, of Pictou, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar model 3306 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12E/75 (x2)||
|Halifax III||1978||Ferguson Industries, of Pictou, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar model 3306 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12E/75 (x2)||
|Woodside I||1986||Ferguson Industries, of Pictou, Nova Scotia||Caterpillar model 3306 (x2)||Voith-Schneider 12E/75 (x2)||
- Halifax Transit's Official Website - First ever official transit website in North America, established in 1994
- Halifax Transit's Twitter Feed
- Fan discussion group
|Garages||Burnside - Ragged Lake|
|Bus Terminals||Alderney - Bayers Road - Bridge - Cobequid - Dalhousie - Downsview - Highfield - Lacewood - Lower Water Street - Mic Mac - Mumford - Penhorn - Portland Hills - Sackville - Scotia Square - Woodside|
|Ferry Terminals||Dartmouth - Halifax - Woodside|
|Conventional||526-534, 535-540, 600-619, 717-731, 732-741, 742-761, 1083-1107, 1108-1130, 1131-1153, 1154-1159, 1160-1161, 1162-1183, 1184-1198, 1199-1207, 1208-1276, 1277-1299, 1300-1334, 1335-1406|
|Access-A-Bus||405-406, 407-412, 413-431, 432-445|
|Ferries||Christopher Stannix, Craig Blake, Viola Desmond, Vincent Coleman, Rita Joe|
|MetroX||320, 330, 370|
|Ferries||Dartmouth / Halifax, Woodside / Halifax|