Originally Posted by hfx_chris
Anybody could tell you why buses are getting more crowded in the last couple of months: school. Routes 1 and 7 are both university routes, the 52 services an NSCC campus in Bayers Lake (and a call centre near Burnside) both of which can be busy at peak times. And of course it only makes sense that routes like the 20 would get busier; all of those univeristy students have to get home.
As far as how Metro Transit is dealing with it, they took delivery of 25 new buses earlier this year and are currently taking delivery of 25 more. Of course that means some of them are for replacements. I know at least 9 buses were retired when the 25 came earlier this year, and I'm expecting at least another 5-10 to be taken out of service in the next few months.
That's still a lot of new buses, so expect some service improvements in the coming months. The next scheduled service improvement is in late November, so if they're going to increase frequency on any routes it would happen then.
I know last August they created a new route 16 Parkland, which goes from the Dartmouth bridge terminal (Sportsplex) to Mount Saint Vincent (and Clayton Park West beyond that) via the MacKay Bridge, something I know a number of people have been asking for for years.
Edit: I forgot to mention there's also rumours of additional MetroLink buses being ordered, with a few possibly being articulated ("bendy" buses). I know they've been pushing for that in Sackville due to heavy loads, and Metro Transit also wants to add MetroLink service to other areas.
Dave McCusker (head of transportation planning) in HRM spoke at my transportation planning course. New MetroLink routes are not likely within the next year or two the way he was talking. Articulated buses on the MetroLink would be great as ridership continues to grow.
The crowding on the 1 is definetly university students, but I'm not sure it's the major factor on other routes. The 7 is packed with Citadel High students, and the 20 is busiest between Mumford Terminal and Spryfield. There's sometimes 30-40 people getting on the 20 at Mumford. These are only the routes that I know get crowded but there are definetly some peak hour buses coming in from the suburbs that are full up with commuters. Ridership is up across the board.
I'm interested in what they'll do in November. Service upgrades would be great but they've had problems on the 1 for at least a couple of years now but haven't put more capacity on the route. I'm not too optimistic, I think it could be months before they catch up with the capacity problems. Hopefully they stop expanding service for a while to catch up with the problems on their busiest routes.