In March of last year, when the virus first arrived here, Halifax Transit waived fees, allowing passengers to use the rear doors to board and exit and thus limiting bus drivers’ exposures. Bus occupancy was limited. Fares were waived. Now, with infection rates much higher, and while facing new more virulent and deadly Covid-19 strains, Halifax Transit has refused to make a similar adjustment.
Press release: “Covid 19 is running rampant on Halifax Buses, and Halifax Transit isn’t doing near enough to protect the public,” says Ken Wilson, President and Business Agent of Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 508.
After declaring a climate emergency Halifax committed to buy upwards of 150 diesel buses from then until 2023. Meanwhile, PEI announced that their entire fleet of 220 school buses would be electrified by 2040 or sooner, and that, without preamble, they’d gone ahead and purchased their first twelve all-electrics. Zack Metcalfe investigates.
PSA: A Change.org petition (Change.org/HalifaxTransitMasks) started on behalf of transit workers is calling for enforcement of mandatory face masks on all public transit in Halifax. While masks have been technically mandatory on all transit buses since July, there is currently no enforcement or penalties for not wearing a mask.
Kathrin Winkler: “Why motor willingly to climate disaster? How is purchasing 130 diesel buses consistent with a climate emergency and evidence based decision making, that were declared unanimously by council?”
Old complaints about bullying and dysfunction at HRM workplaces resurfaced when Cathie Barrington, a former manager in HRM’s Council Support Office, was called out for posting vile racist posts on social media.
In this weekend’s weekend video the PLANifax people make a good case for free transit in Halifax. Timely too, with municipal elections around the corner.
Press release: An overwhelming majority of Halifax residents believe that the Federal Government should provide $5 billion in emergency funding to public transit agencies. A poll conducted by Probe Research on behalf of Amalgamated Transit Union Canada found that 78% of people in Halifax strongly support or somewhat support federal funding for public transit operations.
Because of the coronavirus the Amalgamated Transit Union wants only essential workers to travel on the bus. Don’t forget about poor people, says Kendall Worth, they depend on the bus.
“As a result of Halifax Transit being exempted from the social distancing order, we are seeing buses fully loaded with passengers forced to sit side by side, without any physical distancing at all,” says Wilson. “People will get sick. This level of bus loading will not flatten the curve”