Universities accommodating for transit strike

Metro Transit bus and ferry services stopped running at midnight on Feb. 2 (Photo: Adam Scotti)

Universities across Halifax are trying to help students and staff deal with the Metro Transit strike, which started at midnight this morning. The information lays out temporary solutions and resources for students, faculty and staff who are affected by the strike.

While classes are being held as usual, universities are asking faculty to accommodate those students affected by the strike.

In an email to Dalhousie University and University of King's College students, Dal Vice-President of Student Services Bonnie Neuman encouraged instructors to consider alternative options for students in relation to attendance or participation policies, office hours and course delivery, including the option of online coursework.

Students who are drastically affected by the strike, such as their ability to attend classes or write exams, are encouraged to contact their professors and faculty.

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Universities encourage students to carpool to and from campus (Photo: Adam Scotti)


Other online carpooling search options:


Ride shares

The universities are also encouraging carpool options and ride-share opportunities. Dal is providing resources for students to arrange carpools during the strike, including a "rides" option on MyDal Classifieds, a Facebook ride sharing group and a Twitter hashtag (#DalRides) to search carpool opportunities online.

Dal's Hancock parking lot, located on the corner of Oxford Street and Coburg Road, will become a carpool parking lot. Only cars transporting three or more persons are allowed to a park there between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. After 9:30 a.m., the lot is open to all general pass holders. 

"The idea behind that is to accommodate more people using an existing space," said Rochelle Owen, director of the Office of Sustainability at Dal.

Similarly, on a trial basis, Saint Mary's University pass holders with three people in the vehicle will be guaranteed a spot in a portion of the parking lot at the south end of the Tower Athletic Facility, up to its capacity. A supervisor is monitoring the lot, sending cars with fewer than three people away.

Carpool opportunities can also be found in SMU's carpool forum on Facebook.  

SMU has 700 parking spaces available and issues 1000 parking passes at any one time, valid for either a year, a semester or three months.

"We oversell the lot, because there's a lot of different people coming in at different times," said Steve Proctor, communications manager at SMU. "But in this situation, there are more people likely to bring their vehicles. There is a likelihood that even when you have a parking pass, you may not be able to find a spot on campus."

According to its website, Mount Saint Vincent University offers parking tickets at a reduced rate of $10 a week, instead of the regular weekly fee of $22.78 plus tax.

"There are no carpooling requirements connected to this," said Jo-Anne Peckham, communications assistant at MSVU. "As it is still quite early in the strike, we are not aware of [more parking pass requests] at this time, but will be monitoring the situation if the strike continues."

King's Dean of Residence Nicholas Hatt said the University of King's College is converting one of its common rooms into an "informal hostel" for any day students who have a long distance to travel. He said King's hasn't formally released any strike-related policies as of yet, but is directing students to the information provided by Dal.

Most Halifax universities have information websites to inform students about strike-related options:

For the latest updates on the transit strike, visit www.halifax.ca/metrotransit, follow them on Twitter @hfxtransit or call (902) 490-4000.


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