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HRM discussing pilot project for WiFi on public transit

HRM proposes year long WiFi pilot project on Halifax Transit
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Inside a Halifax Transit bus (Meghan Groff/

Halifax Transit is discussing the possibility of launching a 12 month long pilot project to determine the feasibility of putting WiFi on their entire fleet of buses.

The year long pilot project would see 20 transit buses outfitted with WiFi hotspots, in partnership with the Halifax Libraries - at a cost of $12,000 for installation, and an estimate $2,400 per month in data.

City staff says this will allow them to gather more information to make an informed decision about what the costs of greenlighting such a project would be.

To outfit all 340 Halifax Transit buses, the report suggests it would be very costly, with the new hot spots alone hitting $345,000.

On top of that initial infrastructure cost would come an additional $124,200 to $207,000 in mobile data, and the installation would require outside consultants, increasing the cost by another $100,000 to $200,000.

Halifax Transit says their Technical Services division is currently involved in four major projects (TransitMaster upgrade; Fare Management; Fixed Route Planning, Scheduling, & Operations; and Paratransit) and any extra major projects would require a priority adjustment (including costly delays to existing projects) or consultants.

Finally, the report says the municipality would also have to hire a new employee to manage hardware maintenance which would be an expected $140,000 per year when you include salary, benefits, tools, and materials.

Halifax Transit isn't considering just adding WiFi to buses, as they would also include many of the major nodes within their transportation network within the system, including the Alderney and Halifax ferry terminals, as well as the Lacewood and Dartmouth Bridge Bus terminals.

If the recommendation from city staff successfully passes through the standing committee, it would still need to be approved by the full Halifax Regional Council.

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