Why can't it be easier to buy a bus ticket in Halifax?

·2 min read
Halifax Transit officials are working on a mobile payment application. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)
Halifax Transit officials are working on a mobile payment application. (Robert Short/CBC - image credit)

A public transit user has a simple suggestion for how to improve the Halifax Transit system: make it easier to buy tickets.

Alison Zimmer made a presentation to the municipal transportation advisory committee on Thursday.

"No one can actually explain to me why tickets are not sold at transit terminals and are restricted to a very limited network of retailers," said Zimmer.

Zimmer told committee members that it's even more problematic if someone is trying to buy tickets on a Sunday or at times when the stores are not open. She pointed out that bus drivers and ferry terminal workers are not even aware of where the closest retailer is located.

"Given that there are only 47 across the entire municipality, some communities are left out entirely, like Timberlea, like Burnside," said Zimmer. "It's a big problem that the city doesn't have the responsibility to sell these tickets."

Payment app

Transit officials are working on a mobile application so people will be able to buy tickets and passes on their phones. That was supposed to be ready by this fall.

Transit officials have put out a request for proposals for such a service, but could not tell transportation committee members when it would be available.

Zimmer insists ticket kiosks are still necessary for visitors and people who do not have smartphones.

The chair of the transportation committee, Coun. Waye Mason, agreed.

He told the meeting that every Canada Day or Natal Day there are long lineups of people for the ferry, and many of them are unaware they have to have exact change or a ticket.

Mason pointed out there is a company in Burnside that makes dispensing machines for cannabis products, and suggested there could be something similar for bus tickets.

"So they're very secure," said Mason. "I think we need to do something."


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