3.3.3 Limited-Service Local Routes
It is important to note that some Local Routes may provide levels of service which do not meet the guidelines outlined above as they exist to meet a particular demand which only exists at a specific time of day. For example the Route 50 Dockyard provides service between the Bridge Terminal and HMC Dockyard during AM and PM peak periods only. In addition, a few Local Routes with low ridership operate during peak periods only.
Furthermore, some Local Routes are replaced by Express Routes during weekday peak hours in order to provide local service as well as a direct trip in and out of Downtown Halifax. When this occurs, local service is still provided, but instead of ending at the local terminal, the route will then provide a limited stop service into Downtown in AM peak. In PM peak, the Express Route will provide limited stop service from Downtown, and then resume local service upon reaching the destination terminal.
3.3.4 Introducing Local Routes
The introduction of a Local Route will depend on the projected ridership of the new service based on adjacent residential and employment density, proximity to other transit routes, adjacent land uses (mixture of uses), pedestrian and active transportation connectivity, and the directness of road networks.
3.3.5 Local Routes Included in this Plan
The following list identifies all Local Routes included in this plan. Routes whose names are followed by an asterisk are replaced by an Express Route in the AM and PM peak, providing residents along these routes with single-seat, express trips into downtown Halifax. Corresponding Express Routes can be identified as they will have the same route name, and a similar route number. For example, in peak periods, the Route 82 First Lake will be replaced by the Route 182 First Lake Express. In some areas, Local Routes run all day and are complemented by Express Routes at peak, rather than being replaced by them. Limited-Service Local Routes are also described below, with limitations on service denoted in parenthesis.
24 Leiblin Park
25 Governors Brook
26 Springvale (peak only)
31 Bayers Lake
34 Parkland – Dunbrack
50 Dockyard (peak only)
55 Port Wallace
56 Dartmouth Crossing
57 Portland Estates (peak only)
61 Cherry Brook*
62 Grahams Grove
63 Mount Edward
64 Burnside (weekday only)
68 North Preston*
72 Portland Hills - Dartmouth Crossing
82 First Lake*
87 Sackville – Dartmouth
88 Bedford Common
89 Beaver Bank*
90 Larry Uteck
91 Hemlock Ravine
93 Bedford Highway (peak only)
3.4 Express Routes
3.4.1 Description of Express Routes
Express Routes, as they appear in this plan, are a hybrid of the successful MetroLink and Urban Express services familiar to the region. These are designed to provide commuters with a high quality, limited stop transit service during peak hour periods, making transit more attractive to individuals currently commuting for work and education during weekday peak periods.
Similar to the former Urban Express Routes, new Express Routes will provide local service in residential areas (making regular local stops for pickups and drop offs). In some cases Express Routes will actually replicate and replace Local Routes during AM and PM peak. Once the route departs the local area, similar to MetroLink service, it will provide express (limited stop) service into Downtown. In addition to servicing transit terminals, express routes may also service one or two major destinations on the way to downtown Halifax, such as HMC Dockyard. A major destination could include a regional shopping centre, large employer (more than 2,500 jobs), large universities or hospitals, or other regional attractions. Upon arrival in Downtown Halifax more frequent stops will resume, allowing users to access their destinations quickly and easily. Because of the volume of Express Routes travelling through Downtown Halifax during peak periods, Express Routes will follow one of two potential routings.
The intent of this revised Express model is to attract peak period commuters to transit and to reduce dependence on the existing Park & Ride facilities, which are extremely costly to build and maintain. Express service will pick up more passengers near their home so it is no longer necessary to get into a vehicle in order to access transit service. The new Express Route services will also still provide a high level of service at transit terminals, allowing those who continue to choose to Park & Ride to retain a similar, if not better, level of service as existed prior to this plan.
3.4.2 Level of Service Guidelines
Express Routes have no standard frequencies or spans of service. They operate during peak hours Monday to Friday only, and the number of trips provided will vary based on demand. Some Express Routes provide a high level of service during the entire peak period, and others have a limited number of trips concentrated around a certain time. Express Routes provide service in the peak direction only (i.e. towards Downtown during AM peak and out from Downtown during the PM peak). Due to the unique nature of commuting trips, Express Routes don’t always need a consistent time interval between successive buses, and in some cases could actually benefit from a cluster of trips to arrive at a destination for the start of the work day, in some cases less than five minutes apart.
3.4.3 Introducing Express Routes
Express Routes may be considered when the following additional conditions are met:
• If the introduction of an Express Route will reduce the need for a transfer for a common commuting trip pattern (i.e. it can be shown that a high volume of individuals from one neighbourhood work in the same employment district);
• The travel time between the start and the end of the route is more than 30 minutes;
• The Express Route can provide a noticeably shorter trip than local bus service; and
• It is expected that the trip would carry a full seated load upon reaching the Regional Centre.
Express Routes may also be considered as introductory service in an area otherwise unserviced by local transit, particularly in a primarily residential area with a low diversity of land uses where it is anticipated that transit demand will be focused in the morning and afternoon peak periods. The above conditions would still need to be met.
A new Express Route may be introduced with as few as two trips during each weekday peak period. Additional trips may be considered if ridership grows.
3.4.4 Express Routes Included in this Plan
The following list identifies all Express Routes included in this plan. Routes whose names are followed by an asterisk replace a Local Route in the AM and PM peak.
123 Timberlea Express
127 Cowie Hill Express
135 Flamingo Express
136 Farnham Express
137 Regency Park Express
138 Parkland Express
158 Woodlawn Express*
159 Colby Express*
161 Auburn / Cherry Brook Express*
165 Caldwell Express*
168 North Preston Express*
178 Cole Harbour to Woodside Ferry Express
179 Mount Edward to Woodside Ferry Express
182 First Lake Express*
183 Springfield Express*
185 Millwood Express*
186 Basinview Express
189 Beaver Bank Express*
192 Southgate Express
194 Bedford West Express
196 Starboard Express
3.5 Regional Express Routes
3.5.1 Description of Regional Express Routes
Regional Express Routes connect rural, outlying communities to the Regional Centre and other transit services. The intent of Regional Express service is to allow residents of outlying communities the option of using transit for regular commuting. Regional Express Routes will be subject to a premium fare. Currently, the cost per ride for these services is $3.50 per person, $1.00 higher than the fare for other service types.
The Regional Express service model is very similar to the MetroX service which it will supersede; however, the new format will potentially allow one to three additional stops between the start and end of the route, providing more flexibility for passengers. Any additional stops added to a Regional Express route must occur inside the Urban Transit Service Boundary and not delay the trip beyond the existing schedule.
3.5.2 Level of Service Guidelines
Regional Express Routes will strive to meet the following guidelines, subject to resource availability:
Table 5: Level of Service Guidelines for Regional Express Routes