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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Change for the Bus?

Posted on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

Halifax is an incredibly walkable city. This is a fact. However, sudden rain (which happens more frequently than I would like) can turn an otherwise delightful and joyous experience into something quite the opposite. Especially if you happen to be carrying articles that really shouldn’t be exposed to water. Anyway, so what’s the problem? There are buses and taxis! You don’t have to be walking around steeped in the most bountiful treasure of our earth. There are other modes of transportation! Well, call me cheap or frugal, or just a poor, in debt student, but I just can’t justify taking a taxi! Not in this city, not even when I need to get to Bayers Lake or Dartmouth Crossing. So I opt for the bus. I’m fine with buses. I don’t have a problem with being on buses! My only issue is how I get on the bus.

In this day and age, it’s rare for many people to carry change. Freshly dispensed bills maybe, but not change. People hate change. (Both kinds). Ok, so fine, I’ll go get cash. I’ll go to the store and make change, whatever. That’s all fine and dandy in the daytime. You can even think ahead and save money by purchasing a 10-pack of bus tickets (to use for other rainy days) at the store AND even pay with plastic! But, when you’re downtown in the “financial” district, where when all the money makers go home, all the stores and shops close down (yes store owners, I understand why, my beef isn’t with you), and suddenly your simple task isn’t so simple. Unfortunately for the people still around (in my case, the summer student who is getting out of art class at 8 or 9 or even 10 PM), choices are limited as you strategize routes to shops that are maybe selling bus tickets or do cash back or to change machines, while also thinking of routes to keep you and your precious items dry.

Well, how about this? Have ticket dispensing machines by the Lower Water Bus Terminal, or Scotia Square, or Historic Properties, or wherever else they would be convenient! Just an idea... Ok, too costly to have all these one-purpose machines made up and distributed? How about just inserting the ticket packs or passes into your run-of-the-mill vending machine (maybe throw some snacks in while you’re at it, the stores are closed!) Then, place them beside ATMs or banks, so it’s not a goose chase! So I don’t have to pay at least quadruple the amount of bus fare to take a taxi home! Yes, I ended up taking the taxi.

All I’m saying is, if busing is supposed to be accessible, outlets to buy fare for the buses should be too, for everyone no matter their schedule! On a side note, yes there is an ATM and a change machine in the Ferry Terminal. But don’t get me started on ATMs! Paying money to receive money? A fee from the machine AND my bank? That’s bogus! That also costs MORE than the amount I needed in the first place. Clearly that small, little sum is critical. No, I will not throw that away! —Just A Suggestion

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