Wheels in motion for new Dartmouth bus terminal
Project to sprawl onto city parkland
By PATRICIA BROOKS ARENBURG Staff Reporter
Mon. Apr 13 - 5:27 AM
It’s been a long wait, but a new bus terminal for Dartmouth is en route.
"We’re proceeding with plans to start building in the spring," Metro Transit spokeswoman Lori Patterson said Sunday.
The new terminal will replace the current one next to the Dartmouth Sportsplex near the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge.
A city website says the new terminal will be similar to but much bigger than the one at Portland Hills.
It will include: 16 bus bays, eight of which will be for articulated buses; an enclosed terminal waiting area; enhanced security measures; and the ability to accommodate low-floor buses.
Ms. Patterson was at home when contacted Sunday and didn’t have figures and exact dates at hand. But she said the "funds were in the budget since 2006 or ’07, and it was approved to go ahead."
Halifax Regional Municipality worked on the plans for about six years before the province hopped on board and amended the Municipal Government Act last November, allowing construction to extend over six acres of the Dartmouth Common, opening the doors for the project.
An estimated 18,000 commuters get on the bus at the Dartmouth terminal each day, Ms. Patterson said
Buses make between 1,200 and 1,400 daily trips to the terminal, said Dan MacDonald, president of Local 508 of the Amalgamated Transit Union.
"What people don’t realize is that with the (existing) terminal, we can only take so many buses per hour. With this new terminal, we’ll be able to . . . give transit the opportunity to be able to expand. That’s the big thing — expansion."
Expanding the terminal into part of the Dartmouth Common was a cause for concern among some residents, said area councillor Gloria McCluskey, who has supported building a new terminal.
The wooded area behind the Sportsplex, which will be part of the new terminal, is a "dirty area that’s always full of garbage," but she said the city "could’ve done better with their consultation."
"We have to have a place for residents to get on the bus and not everybody’s happy with it. It would be nice if we had another spot, but for now, it looks as though that’s the only spot we have."
The new terminal is going to be good for the union and for the people of Dartmouth, Mr. MacDonald said.
"It gives the people of Dartmouth the ability to get the service that they’ve . . . so longingly deserved."
The terminal is expected to open in the fall.