Lauren Brown listened to her IPod after work yesterday as she waited for the No. 32 bus outside Scotia Square.
The 25-year-old says she has relied on Metro Transit since high school.
“It’s really expensive to park downtown. So, rather than bring my car, I just take the bus,” said Brown, who lives near the Armdale Rotary.
According to census data released by Statistics Canada yesterday, she is part of a rising number of commuters in Halifax who use sustainable modes of transportation.
In fact, 23.3 per cent of commuters got to work by bus, walking or cycling in 2006, which is up 1.9 per cent over 2001.
That’s more than a modest gain, Statistics Canada senior analyst Jim Ruel says.
“Halifax is one of the places where sustainable transportation increased the most compared to other urban areas in the country,” he said.
Ruel says the increase means 6,000 more people chose greener modes of transportation, which beats the number of additional drivers by 500.
Public transit accounts for the bulk of the boost. In 2006, 11.9 per cent of commuters relied on buses and ferries, up from 9.9 per cent in 2001.
Stephanie Sodero, transportation co-ordinator at the Ecology Action Centre, says the university transit program and MetroLink are helping to get people out of their cars.
“It also reinforces the notion that we should be funding those to a greater extent,” she said, adding that the provincial and federal government could be doing more.
Hal Dobbelsteyn, a program officer at Conserve Nova Scotia, said the census success should be seen as a starting point.
He says the province has invested $2 million in programs such as the ones Sodero cited, and is “working even harder to raise those levels.”