While only 35 per cent of HRM residents are using Metro Transit buses, those that do would be willing to pay more for a better system.

Of those respondents in the CityThink survey that do ride the bus, 66 per cent said they’d be somewhat or very willing to pay more money per trip for an improved bus system.

“That’s good to hear,” said Lori Patterson, spokeswoman for Metro Transit. “We’re certainly getting lots more support from our regional council and everywhere in the past few years, because people have started to realize that (public transit is) part of what a healthy community consists of.”

But Patterson said the question puts Metro Transit in somewhat of a bind — people will pay for better service, but better service cannot be provided until people pay.

“People want the transit system to be more convenient, and they say that they would pay more for it,” said Patterson. “It’s kind of a catch-22. We can’t provide it until we get more money to provide the services.”

Another wrinkle Patterson mentioned is that fare boxes only provide a fraction of Metro Transit’s operating costs.

“We can’t provide the service just from the revenue that’s generated from the fare box,” said Patterson.