'A real lifeline': Purcells Cove comes together to bid farewell to transit route

Residents from the Purcells Cove area rode Route 15 one last time on Sunday. 

Transit riders organized a community bus ride to show support for transit in the area. It's the last time they'll be able to ride on a weekend.

Starting today, Route 15 will be replaced with Route 415, which will run at peak hours Monday to Friday. Weekend service has been cut altogether.

Halifax Regional Council voted last year to authorize a reduction in service to the area due to low ridership numbers.

Amina Khan, a psychology student at Saint Mary's, said she depended on the route for the past three years to get to and from school. She's most concerned about early and late classes. 

"I can't get home taking a taxi," Khan said. "It's very expensive to buy a car. I don't have enough money. I'm a student, so that doesn't work for me."

Marla Cranston

Khan is one of the transit advocates who helped organize Sunday's ride. "We want to show our appreciation [for the route], so we're showing how many people use the 15."  

Marla Cranston, a homeowner in the area for the past 10 years, usually drives her own car. But after some recent vehicle troubles, she realizes how difficult it will be to get around with the transit service changes.

Kaitlyn Swan

"We wanted to get together and mark the occasion [last day of weekend service] and let the city know that we really do rely on this bus, and a lot of people from different walks of life do." 

'Part protest, part celebration'

She said the ride was partly a protest, but the main goal was to show appreciation for the route. "The bus is a real lifeline for people in this area." 

Cranston said she realizes the number of transit riders aren't reason enough to keep the current services, but the people who do ride rely on it.

Purcells Cove residents aren't the only ones having to adjust to alternative routes. Route 15's transition is part of a larger transit overhaul.

Kaitlyn Swan

This new rural route will provide service between York Redoubt and Mumford Terminal via Purcells Cove Road. It will no longer proceed to Bayers Road Shopping Centre.

Cranston said she hopes the community bus ride will show the city how much the residents of Purcells Cove appreciate having a route, even if the hours of service have decreased. 

"Once we've lost something, it's going to be hard to get it back. But we're we're gonna continue working on this issue."