8 Plan Implementation
The Moving Forward Together Plan is intended to guide Halifax Transit service improvements for the next 20 years or more. In the short term, implementation of the Plan will be focused on reconfiguring the existing route network to adopt the proposed redesigned network. This will take place over approximately five years, in phases based loosely on geographic areas. In the longer term, implementation of the Plan will consist of balancing investments in service quality and reliability with the introduction of new services, both in developing areas, and within the existing network.
8.1 Annual Service Plans
The implementation of service changes proposed in this plan will be solidified and approved through the preparation of Halifax Transit’s Annual Service Plans, coinciding with annual budget approval.
An Annual Service Plan is a one year action plan which identifies detailed route and service changes for the forthcoming fiscal year and is developed consistent with the Moving Forward Together Plan. In the development of Annual Service Plans, proposals for service changes are reviewed and prioritized.
Annual Service Plans also incorporate the results of several on-going activities, including:
• Regular route assessments based on performance measures and including feedback from employees and consideration of operational issues;
• Review and evaluation of customer requests for new and/or changes to existing services; and
• The effect of external influences such as land-use changes, development proposals and ridership changes.
8.2 Five Year Plan Reviews
To ensure that the Moving Forward Together Plan remains current and reflective of the existing needs of Halifax residents, this Plan will be subject to a high level review approximately every five years, with the first review beginning five years after the adoption of the Plan. This review will examine routings, service levels, and other guidelines outlined in this document. The scope of this review will not include changes to the Moving Forward Principles which are at the core of this plan.
In addition, should there be substantial changes to the transportation network that were not anticipated in this Plan, a review should occur that is reflective of the scale of the change.
8.3 Routing Variability
Images and maps in the Moving Forward Together Plan are for illustrative purposes, to demonstrate the purpose of routes and connectivity. Proposed routing is subject to change during detailed implementation. Minor modifications to routes based on operational needs, demand, or integration with land uses are anticipated. More substantial modifications are not anticipated but may be necessary to accommodate a significant change to the transportation network or change of circumstances, and will be outlined in each year’s Annual Service Plan.
8.4 Stage I – Implementing the Network
In keeping with Moving Forward Principle 3: Invest in Service Quality and Reliability, it is important that the implementation of the new network is informed by data provided by Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) and Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) units. It is critical that as the plan is implemented, the appropriate level of resources are allocated to ensure schedule reliability and the provision of quality transit service to users. With that in mind, the implementation stages outlined here start with relatively smaller changes to the network, before moving on to larger changes further out in the implementation timeline, at which point significant data will have been collected to inform route and schedule changes.
The following represents a proposed schedule for the phased implementation of the Moving Forward Together Plan, contingent on resource availability, and subject to change.
Fiscal Year 2016/2017: The first phase of implementation for the Moving Forward Together Plan will be undertaken. As this year will also see the introduction of significant technology advancements, including the launch of real time public interface delivery and stop announcements, the resultant routing changes are necessarily minor to accommodate the staff and resource availability. These changes include:
• An additional trips on the Route 330 Tantallon; and
• Changes to Route 56, discontinuing service to Portland Hills Terminal and introducing a new connection to Bridge Terminal.
Fiscal Year 2017/2018: The second phase of implementation for the Moving Forward Together Plan will be undertaken. This will also primarily include smaller changes, and will potentially include the elimination and realignment of low ridership routes/route segments (Routes 402, School Specials), the introduction of some additional express service (Route 186, 330), and changes to several routes (Routes 6, 22, 7, 370).
Fiscal Year 2018/2019: The third phase of implementation for the Moving Forward Together Plan will be undertaken. This will primarily include changes to routes in Clayton Park, Fairview, Bedford, and Timberlea. This phase coincides with the expansion of the Burnside Transit Centre.
Fiscal Year 2019/2020: The fourth phase of implementation for the Moving Forward Together Plan will be undertaken. This will primarily include implementation in Spryfield and parts of the Halifax Peninsula.
Fiscal Year 2020/2021: The last phase of adopting the new transit network will be undertaken. This will primarily include the implementation of routes in Sackville and Bedford. It also includes the introduction of the Wrights Cove Terminal, West Bedford Park & Ride and the Margeson Drive/Middle Sackville Park & Ride. It will also include the implementation of routes in Dartmouth, Eastern Passage, and Cole Harbour.
There are a number of factors external to the Moving Forward Together Plan which impact the timing and phasing of network implementation. These include:
1. The Halifax Transit Technology Plan: This plan will see the installation of new Automatic Vehicle Location/Computer Aided Dispatch units on all Halifax Transit vehicles in 2016. These new AVL/CAD units will provide Halifax Transit staff with detailed information on ridership and running times of routes over the course of the day. This data will inform the development and refinement of schedules for routes adopted under the Moving Forward Together Plan.
2. The Big Lift: This project is being undertaken by Halifax Harbour Bridges to extend the life of the Macdonald Bridge by replacing the bridge decking. This project includes continuous overnight closures on the Macdonald Bridge, beginning March 1, 2015, and taking place five nights a week. For the duration of the bridge redecking project, significant resources will be invested by Halifax Transit to provide passengers travelling across the harbour with as seamless a trip as possible. Modifications to routes that are to travel over the Macdonald Bridge in the evenings and are impacted by The Big Lift will not occur until after the completion of this project, anticipated for 2017.
3. Wrights Cove Terminal Construction: A number of routes proposed as part of the Moving Forward Together Plan rely on the existence of a transit terminal adjacent to the Burnside Business Park. Changes to the proposed timeline for the construction of this terminal may impact the implementation of the Plan.
4. Resource Availability: The implementation of the Moving Forward Together Plan requires additional resources. Any reductions in anticipated funding levels could have a significant detrimental impact on the ability of Halifax Transit to roll out this plan in the timeline described above. As the plan relies on Regional Council approved budgets to proceed, annual budget approval from Regional Council will steer the implementation of the plan.
8.5 Stage II – Expansion of the Network
During the second stage of implementation, tentatively beginning in 2021, resources must be balanced between re-investment in existing routes as needed to maintain the quality and reliability of the service, and the introduction of new services. It is possible that, during Stage II, new and developing areas could see new transit routes, and existing areas could see the introduction of new routes or services. Details related to the potential service expansion described below will be detailed in the Five Year Review which will take place upon the completion of Stage I implementation.
Building Frequency on Corridor Routes: Where resources are available to improve service frequency, it is the intention of this plan that resources will be focused on increasing service on Corridor Routes first, with the ultimate goal of providing a minimum of 15 minute headways on all Corridor Routes during the service day, subject to ridership demand.
Service in Developing Areas: There are a number of growing and developing areas that may be candidates for Halifax Transit service in the future, following the adoption of the redesigned transit network. Transit service in these areas would be designed in alignment with the four Moving Forward Principles, and subject to resource and road infrastructure availability.
Areas that are developing, or scheduled for further development, that were considered as part of this Plan as potential candidates for future transit service include: Port Wallace, Regency Park Drive, Long Lake Village, Brunello Estates, Seton Ridge, Bedford South (Moirs Mill/Nine Mile Drive), Millwood (currently undeveloped portions), and Bayers Lake and Burnside Business Park expansions.
Future Express Routes – There are some areas that were identified in the preparation of this plan that are considered potential candidates for future Express Routes. These areas could include:
• Williams Lake Road to Downtown Halifax;
• Washmill Lake Drive to Downtown Halifax;
• Montebello to Downtown Halifax;
• Sackville to Burnside;
• North End Halifax to Burnside; and
• Cole Harbour to Burnside.