Rapid Transit Strategy

A faster, better-connected, more frequent and easier-to-use transit service. 

The Rapid Transit Strategy includes a network of four Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines and three new ferry routes, which will promote the creation of more compact and walkable communities and increase mobility options alternative to private vehicles. 

Proposed BRT lines and ferry routes

Proposed BRT lines and ferry routes (click to enlarge)

Four Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines

The BRT lines will operate every ten minutes and will be within walking distance of approximately 120,000 residents, helping in the creation of complete communities by orienting land use towards transit and reducing the need to invest in road expansions. In turn, complete communities contribute to improved public health from higher rates of walking, rolling, and cycling in conjunction with transit use.

Investment Amount Timeline
Investment Amount Timeline
Procurement of buses (33) $36M to $64M 2-6 Years
Design and construction of BRT stations (130) $62M 2-6 Years
Transit priority lanes and intersection improvements $86M 2-8 Years
Additional studies, functional plans and project overhead $5M 1-8 Years
Total $189M to $217M 7-8 Years

Three new ferry routes

The three new proposed ferry routes will provide direct connections between downtown Halifax and new terminals at Mill Cove, Larry Uteck and Shannon Park. These routes would provide reliable service with travel times to downtown Halifax likely faster than travel by private vehicle or bus. The routes are anticipated to use multi-hull catamaran vessels with a 150-passenger capacity and a single deck, capable of operating at higher speeds while minimizing wake effects. 

Shannon Park Ferry proposed times
Mill Cove Ferry proposed times
Larry Uteck proposed ferry times
Proposed electric ferries with capacity for 150 passengers.

New electric ferry with capacity for 150 passengers

Investment Amount Timeline
Investment Amount Timeline
Procurement of vessels (10) $71M 1-4 Years
Halifax Ferry Terminal upgrade $17M 1-3 Years
Mill Cove Terminl $6M to $18M 1-3 Years
Larry Uteck Terminal $6M to $7M 1-4 Years
Shannon Park Terminal $4M to $8M Aligned with development
Additional studies, functional plans and project overhead $4M 1 Year onward
Total $108M to $125M 4+ Years

What Happens Next?

Phase Two - Mill Cove Ferry Service

The second phase of the project is funded by an investment by levels of government for a combined $260 million, and will focus on the design and construction of the Mill Cove Ferry Terminal, the replacement of the Halifax Ferry Terminal as well as the procurement of the new vessels. 

Both terminals will be net-zero, and the ferries being added to the fleet are high-speed, zero-emission electric ferries. 

Other portions of the project include a maintenance facility and the construction of a bridge spanning the Bedford Highway over an existing CN rail line. 

This project contributes to the municipality's HalifACT 2050 initiative, which calls for a 75 per cent reduction in community-wide emissions by 2030 from the baseline year of 2016 and to achieve net-zero by 2050. 

It is expected that the service will start in the 2027/28 fiscal year.


Phase One - Mill Cove Ferry Service 

The province and federal government partnered with the municipality to undertake the first phase of the Mill Cove Ferry Service. 

Phase One included a vessel technology study, concept design work at Halifax Ferry Terminal, site access, site design and terminal concept design at Mill Cove, service calibration studies, and climate assessments.