Halifax City Council Jumps…to the tune of 1.2 Million

I am fascinated with how things get done here in Halifax through Council. I am equally interested in what does NOT get done. Our transit system for example, just scored 1.2 million dollars from HRM City council. How so and what for, you ask? The money is for a ‘security camera system’ on transit buses and ferries. It arose after a number of drivers were ‘attacked’ while on the job and the subsequent outcry from their union, as well as the press around it. I think the media attention on this whole thing is what really propelled HRM Council to move the money through to Metro Transit like greased lightning. After all, the city does not want  to appear negligent or uncaring about the safety of bus drivers. The teary radio interviews (I bet TV stuff was even more melodramatic) with the female compadres of the driver who was attacked,  really cinched it. I don’t  have any objection to driver- safety initiatives or union representation. The problem is, the idea of  cameras on buses for protection, is silly. My informal survey of female drivers has found that they don’t think security cameras  on buses will be effective in keeping them safe from the truly crazy, drunk and doped-up nuts who are the most likely to go spontaneously  berserk and attack them.  These types of live-wire attackers will not pause and reflect on the presence of a camera over their heads before they punch out a driver for not accepting their transfer or refusing to ‘make out’ with them.  It could be that grainy images of an attack, after the fact, will be moderately helpful in getting a conviction in court or  compensation  from the maimed driver’s employer (HRM).

My complaint is that our transit system gets funded, under funded, or not funded at all, in a way that is a  knee-jerk reaction to situations, trends  or public pressure. Spending seems to be totally unprioritized. We STILL, after one year of testing,  do not have a functioning ‘real time go-time’ service.  I can’t recall the price tag on that, project,  but whatever it was, it was huge. It should be given priority to get it WORKING at all costs, over some of  other recent add-on expenditures, like security cameras.  For example the city also purchased  some hybrid diesel  Transit buses last year  because of the push from the HRM’s official environmental geeks (I am a non-official geek supporter). They moved so quickly to tender the purchase of the buses,  that they scored vehicles  which apparently have proven to be defective.  I hear they are going back to the seller. We have no critically-needed voice enunciator system in Halifax,  and apparently no plan to find money for it any time soon. The list goes on.

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4 responses to “Halifax City Council Jumps…to the tune of 1.2 Million

  1. The way funding is handed out in Halifax is crazy. FYi Helen the pass is on the way out. this city would take the free pass for blind and low vision riders away rather than expand the program to people with other disablities. Go figure that one out. I don’t get it, other cities in Canada have free passes or discounted passes for their disabled riders but not backward thinking old Halifax.

  2. Hmm. Ovrick? Unusual name. I’m not sure that the ‘pass’ is gone yet. While it does expire soon, there is no official word yet, just rumours. It is, according to Metro Transit, a “Metro Transit Management decision” , not anyone else. I am positron that they WANT it to disappear, though I suspect that any ‘obviously blind’ person will not ever be asked for fare…the drivers will probably not be sent a communique or anything telling them that the pass is expired, so just keep getting on the buses Blind folk, I say! Show the old pass. In the meanwhile, my argument for it to be renewed continues to be that service is not equitable for the blind. My druthers would be to have better services (bus stop announcement, accessible schedules…) and to pay a reduced rate which would be offered to ALL persons with disabilities. Who is considered disabled? anyone Revenue Canada Disability tax credits apply to…it’s not hard to figure out.

  3. Check again it is now official. the CNIB has received the word, next june is the cut off. I agree a lower rate for all disabled people is the way to go.

  4. Hmm. I wonder why the CNIB info line is not including this tidbit of client- related news yet? Maybe the Board members (like PH- or should I say, YOU, –I’d bet the ranch that you’re cookindaddy) and staff did not get around to it? maybe they want to avoid the whole thing? Maybe they love to play a power trip on clients? Maybe I’ll organize a CNIB ID card burning party like they did in Ottawa. Hey! because what the hell is the point of having a CNIB ID now that clients don’t need to use it with a bus pass? and what have they done for me lately? hmm. shame on you hiding behind a lame handle like Orvrick, Patrick.

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