Rural transit funding program

On August 5, 2014, Regional Council voted to adopt the Rural Transit Funding Program, a grants program through which rural transit operators can apply for funding to subsidize the cost of operating their service in Halifax. The following questions and answers will assist potential applicants in determining if they are eligible, and how they can apply:

Which services are eligible for funding?

In order to be eligible under the Rural Transit Funding Program, the transit service provided must meet the following criteria:

  • It serves residents of the municipality: The organization must offer a public transit service within the municipality or is intended to serve the residents of the municipality.
  • The service meets an unmet demand: The service must be in an area of the municipality not currently serviced by Halifax Transit or alternately, the service can be in an area which is serviced by Halifax Transit if it can be demonstrated that the rural transit service would complement existing Halifax Transit service and address an unmet need in the community.
  • The service is available to the public: The organization offers a public transit service that is available to any member of the public and does not require a membership to access.
  • The organization operating the service is a non-profit society or cooperative: The organization which operates the service must be a non-profit society incorporated under the Societies Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c.435 and registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks, or be a non-profit cooperative incorporated under the Co-operatives Associations Act, R.S.N.S., 1989, c. 98 and registered with the Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stocks. Registered Canadian Charitable Organizations (registered pursuant to the Income Tax Act) also qualify.

How are the grants awarded?

Grants provided through the Rural Transit Funding Program are disbursed through in two ways:

  • An annual lump sum payment; and
  • A flat rate of $0.50 per kilometer travelled while providing transit service.

The amount of the annual lump sum payment is determined based on the level of service provided to the community and is valued between $5,000 and $10,000. For a detailed description of how this sum is determined, see section 6 of the Administrative Order 2014-012-ADM, HRM Rural Transit Funding Program.

The total amount of the flat rate payment will be based on the number of in-service vehicle kilometers travelled in each quarter of the municipal fiscal year, as reported in the required quarterly financial report.

How are grants paid out?

The lump sum payment is made following the annual grant approval process, and after Halifax Transit receives required documentation under section 21A of the Administrative Order.

The flat rate per km grant payment will be made following the submission of each financial report (to be submitted to Halifax Transit quarterly). To read about the quarterly reporting requirements and deadlines, see sections 9 to 13 of the Administrative Order.

How does my organization apply?

First time applicants must submit the following before the January 15 deadline:

  • Proof of incorporation;
  • Map of service area;
  • Business description, including services offered and governance structure;
  • Market assessment, including a description of the market being served, approximate population of the catchment area and its spatial distribution, a description of any competing services, and the integration of existing Halifax Transit Services;
  • Financial assessment, including three year projected revenues and expenditures, projected annual ridership and service kilometers; previous financial statements, and a list of other funding sources;
  • A description of use of community resources and volunteers to ensure service is as efficient and cost effective as possible.

If approved for funding, then the following must be submitted to Halifax Transit in advance of any funds being released (deadline for submission is September 30th of the year for which the grant was applied):

  • Description of fleet vehicles;
  • Proof of license under the Motor Carrier Act with associated proof of insurance; or confirmation from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board that the Motor Carrier Act does not apply, with proof of insurance commensurate with the operations being undertaken;.
  • Proof of drivers’ license for any driver;
  • A written declaration by the applicant stating that all drivers have submitted a criminal record check with vulnerable sector check and the applicant is satisfied that their drivers do not pose a risk to any member of the public.

Subsequent applications, for those organizations which have previously been approved, the following is required by January 15th in order to apply for funding for the subsequent fiscal year:

  • Annual audited or reviewed financial statements
  • Current proof of insurance and confirmation of status from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board

For a detailed description of application requirements, please see the Administrative Order. Incomplete or late applications will not be reviewed or considered.

Application Form

When are applications due?

There is one application period per fiscal year for both first time applicants and subsequent applications. Applications must be received in person or postmarked on or before January 15 in order to be considered for funding in the following fiscal year.

All applications must be received by mail or in person. E-mailed or faxed applications will not be accepted. Applications may be submitted:

In person to:
Rural Transit Funding Program
Burnside Transit Centre
Halifax Transit
200 Ilsley Avenue
Dartmouth, NS 

Or by mail to: 
Rural Transit Funding Program
Halifax Transit
PO Box 1749
Halifax, NS B3J 3A5

Is the grant automatically renewed after the first year?

No, it is not. If an organization which is receiving a grant intends to apply for a grant in the following fiscal year, projected ridership and in-service vehicle kilometers for the following fiscal year must be included in its third quarter financial report submission. In addition, a subsequent application must be made by the January 15th deadline.

Who reviews the applications and awards grants?

All applications will be screened for basic eligibility, and Halifax Transit staff will prepare a report for review by the Grants Committee for recommendation to Regional Council.

Final approval of all applications for grants is a decision of Regional Council.

Is there a limit on how much funding an organization can receive? What happens if there isn’t enough funding for all qualified applicants?

All grants are subject to annual budget availability, as approved by Regional Council each year. If the program budget is insufficient to provide both the lump sum amount and the per kilometer flat rate grant, the lump sum payments will be paid out in full, and the per kilometer flat rate will be distributed as a pro-rated percent to each approved organization.

Funding grants for 2022/2023

Rural Transit Funding Program 2022/2023 | Regional Council Report

Who do I contact if I have questions about the Rural Transit Funding Program?

If you have any questions about your organization’s application, or the Rural Transit Funding Program, please call 311.

Should there be any discrepancy between the information provided on this website and Administrative Order 2014-012-ADM, HRM Rural Transit Funding Program, than the Administrative Order takes precedent.