This summer has not been kind to Dartmouth.
Thanks to the Macdonald Bridge being closed most weekends for paving, citizens from the other side of the Halifax Harbour are finding themselves stranded downtown.
Dartmouthians who want to drink have basically two choices – you don’t stay out late in Halifax or you pay an outrageous cab fare to go around the MacKay Bridge on your way home.
The weird thing is there’s only two ways to cross the harbour – by bridge or ferry (three ways, including swimming, if you’re HRM Mayor Peter Kelly.) If one goes down, the other should increase service. It sounds so simple. But because of a lack of communication nothing has worked out.
The Halifax Bridge Commission said to me they told Metro Transit about the closures but have no control over the ferry. Metro Transit said they didn’t get enough advance warning and besides, keeping the ferry open longer would have to be worked out with the union and would be more expensive.
It’s a lot easier just to do nothing. The only ones who get screwed are commuters.
But, of course, there’s another option. More people could wrongly choose to drive over to Halifax, have some drinks and then drive back. To some, it’s better that than an $80 cab ride.
All it would take to cut down on drunk driving is to have the ferry go later into the night.
Come to think of it, why isn’t that the case all the time? There’s absolutely no form of public transportation in the city after 12:30 a.m. The last ferry is at 11:45 p.m.
So every busy bar night there’s hundreds of people swarming the downtown fighting for those scarce few cabs. A ferry or one or two buses could put a huge dent in everything from assaults, rapes, property damage, drinking and driving, all the way down to public urination.
Just imagine – offering drunken people a safe, reliable way home. Has anyone else thought of this? (A quick Google search reveals that yes, every other reasonably sized city has.)
So next time your local politician talks about putting money into the newest report or study on how to cut down on crime, ask them why they don’t just throw that money into the common sense solution that’s staring them in the face.