opinion

A boat by any other name is still not accessible…

Work is well underway at Meteghan River where the new ferry is being built by A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd

Work is well underway at Meteghan River where the new ferry is being built by A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd

Our new ferry is currently under construction, and the call is out for citizens to vote on a name for it.

I’m excited to see some real diversity in the choices this time round, and I’m lobbying for my suggestion of Maxine Tynes. (But I think I’d be equally as happy with Raymond Taavel or Ruth Goldbloom.)

While I applaud Halifax Transit for including the public in the naming, I’m wondering if we’re being left out of a more important process: the design of the new ferry.

Halifax Transit has the opportunity to get feedback from the public on what is right, and wrong, with the design of The Christopher Stannix, last year’s addition to the fleet, but so far, no one has asked.

Many people have chimed in on social media that the seats on The Stannix are incredibly uncomfortable, and cyclists have expressed that more bike racks are needed.

And from an accessibility standpoint, the boat gets a big thumbs down. (Check out this blog post: New Halifax Ferry Is Terrible.)

Halifax Transit has the opportunity to make improvements this time round. Wouldn’t it be great if they asked us what we need?

1 Comment

  • Agreed – thank you for trying to make a change.

    The seating is my biggest issue. Way too narrow and does not allow for more people sitting. I can see how their design may indicate more seating – they may be able to put more people on the “bench style” seats instead of the “bucket style” and because there is less space between each bench…but two usability factors do not allow this to practically occur:

    1. A person can not walk past a person sitting to get to an open space in the middle….yes, we could ask the person to move in , but most people will not do this….but it is common for people to walk in and sit in an open spot in the old style.

    2. Identifying an open spot is not as easy…this morning I noticed on one of the short benches…2 people were sitting and taking up most of the bench (I would guess that the design on this bench would indicate that at least 3 people could sit). This was in a front row so accessing the space was not an issue, however, I still would not expect anyone to ask to sit in between them, but if the seats were the bucket style it would be obvious that there is a space there and people would attempt to sit there…

    As others have noted, great to have the extra ferry and service, but this is a real issue worth considering.