All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Halifax (officially “Halifax Regional Municipality”) was formed 01 April 1996 by the amalgamation of Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax County [Wikipedia].

Principal System

Halifax City Railroad Company (11 June 1866 - 17 May 1876)
(Artz). Incorporated 29 April 1863 by William O'Brien. A ticket illustrated in Stephens reads Halifax City Rail Road Co.

Adams' omnibus line (circa 1876 - 1886)
Replaced in part the service of the defunct rail road. Company acquired by the HSRCo in 1886 to eliminate competition (Brown).

Halifax Street Railway Company (21 October 1886 - 01 August 1890)
Company formed 11 May 1886. Assumed the rights of the uncapitalized Halifax Railway Company (inc. 19 April 1884 (NS)) 29 May 1886. Also operated omnibuses on one route circa 1886 - 1891 (Brown). The bankrupt HSRyCo acquired by NSPCo 01 August 1890. (Lownds)

Nova Scotia Power Company (01 August 1890 - 30 August 1895)
Incorporated 17 April 1889 (Artz). NSPCo bankrupt 1895. (Lownds)

Halifax Electric Tramway Company (30 August 1895 - 10 January 1917)
Incorporated 20 March 1895. (Lownds). (CR&MW 1933 erroneously calls this the Halifax Electric Railway Company.) Acquired at auction 30 August 1895 the HSRy and the NSPCo (Artz). Acquired 1917 by the NST&PCo (CR&MW 1933). (Lownds says HETyCo was "reorganized" as the NSTy&PCo early 1917). (CTH, RS)

Nova Scotia Tramways and Power Company (10 January 1917 - 28 March 1928)
Incorporated 10 June 1914 (Artz).

Halifax birney streetcar Nova Scotia Light and Power Company, Limited (29 March 1928 - 31 December 1969>)
Electric power utility. Introduced electric trolleybuses and discontinued electric streetcars 1949. ETBs ended with NSL&P 1969. Last services 31 December 1969 ran into the early hours of 01 January 1970. (CYB 1934-35, CYB 1939, TBB, Canadian Coach 1969, Photos davesrailpix, Peter Cox, W.R. Linley [Peter Cox coll.]).

Halifax NSL&P ticket (front) NSL&P [Halifax] 238 CCF-Brill (WR Linley 1967 Sep 12, Peter Cox coll.) NSL&P [Halifax] 309 GM new look (Peter Cox 1969 Oct 25)

Halifax Transit Corporation (01 January 1970 - 28 February 1981)
Municipal operation. All motor bus operation. Expanded service area resulted in displacing Acadian Lines suburban services in 1970, 1972, and 1979. (Canadian Coach 1969, Dawes et al. 1972, Transit Canada 1975, CUTA 1976-77).

Metro Transit (01 March 1981 - 15 July 2014)
Took over from separate Halifax and Dartmouth systems (Transit News Canada 1982). (\maps) Administered by the Metropolitan Authority of Halifax-Dartmouth 1981 - 1996. The Cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, the Town of Bedford, the Villages of Uplands Park and Waverley, and the County of Halifax amalgamated to form the Halifax Regional Municipality 01 April 1996. Metro Transit transfered to the Regional Operations Department, Transportation Services Division of the HRM. Premium service on three routes (159 Portland Hills Link and 165 Woodside Link from 21 August 2005, and 185 Sackville Link from 20 February 2006) are marketed as MetroLink. Service to rural areas within amalgamated Halifax introduced 31 August 2009 under the name Metro Express or MetroX. System rebranded in mid July 2014. (CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992)

Metro Transit [Halifax] logo
Metro Transit logo
MetroLink [Halifax] logo
MetroLink logo
MetroX [Halifax] logo
MetroX logo
Service area population259,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet179 buses,
3 ferries (2000)
Employees406 (1991)
Ridership19,346,370 (2009)
Data sources:CUTA 1991/2
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)
website 2011 (logos)

Halifax Transit (16 July 2014 - present)
System rebranding from Metro Transit.

Secondary Systems

Charles A. Pender (early 1920's - 1933)
Probably known publically as Pender's Bus Service. Began operating bus service in the very early 1920's between Halifax and Bedford (Gillis p. 9). Received a Public Utilities Board certificate 13 July 1923 to operated four buses in scheduled service between Bedford and Sackville (Gillis p. 139). 1927 certificates for Halifax to Bedford and Sackville, and Halifax to the Ashburn Golf Club (Gillis pp. 140, 141). Incorporated 1933 as CAP, Ltd.

Joseph J. Purcell (1920's)
P.U.B. 1923 certificate to operate scheduled bus service between Bedford and Sackville, 4 buses (Gillis p. 139). Certificate renewed 1927 (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on the 1930 list.

George M. Robinson (1920's)
P.U.B. 1923 certificate to operate 1 bus in scheduled service between Halifax and French Village (Gillis p. 139). Certificate renewed 1927 (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on the 1930 list.

Parker Berry (1920's)
P.U.B. 1923 certificate to operate scheduled bus service from Armdale to Memorial Tower, Jollimore Village, 1 bus (Gillis p. 139). P.U.B. 1927 certificate to operate from Head of North West Arm to Flemming Park (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on 1930 list.

Richmond Bus Company, Ltd. (22 September 1923 - 29 November 1926)
Suburban service established and owned by the NST&PCo (Canadian Coach 1970). P.U.B. 1923 certificate to operate 2 buses on Gottingen and Duffus Streets (Gillis p. 139). Certificate renewed 1927 (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on 1930 list.

George C. Jackson (late 1920's)
P.U.B. 1927 certificate to operate scheduled bus service between Halifax and Bedford (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on the 1930 list.

Oswald Dauphinee (late 1920's)
P.U.B. 1927 certificate to operate scheduled bus service from Halifax to Hackett's Cove (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on 1930 list.

Charles Mahar (late 1920's)
P.U.B. 1927 certificate to operate scheduled bus service from French Village to Hackett's Cove (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on 1930 list.

North and South Bus Line Limited (1920's - 1927)
Owned by Cyril N. Pike. P.U.B. cancelled certificate to operate on Prospect Road in 1927. Does not appear on the 1923 list of certificates.

Charles A. Pender, Ltd. (1933 - 1945)
Probably known publically as Pender's Bus Service. 1938 P.U.B. certificate covered schedule services Halifax - Sackville and Halifax - Johnson's Cabins via St. Margaret's Bay Road (Gillis p. 145). Added route between Sackville and Bedford 03 September 1942 (Gillis p. 38). Company purchased 1945 by United Service Corporation (Gillis p. 41). (Canadian Coach 1970).

Ocean View Bus Company (1930's - 1944)
1938 certificate for scheduled bus service Halifax - Purcell's Cove and Halifax - Herring Cove via Spryfield (Gillis p. 145). By 1944 was operating Halifax - Herring Cove, Halifax - Purcell's Cove, and Halifax - Shad Bay when company was bought by United Service Corporation (Gillis p. 39). Operations amalgamated with Pender as Fleetlines. (Canadian Coach 1970).

Park Transit Limited (circa 1940 - 1949)
Suburban contract operator for NSL&PCo. Affiliate of United Service Corporation. Buses drawn from Acadian Coach Lines and Pender Bus Service used on the two routes (Leger & Lawrence). (Canadian Coach 1970).

Fleetlines, Ltd. (1945 - 31 December 1955)
Subsidiary of United Service Corporation, parent company of Acadian Lines and formed from an amalgamation of Pender and Ocean View. Suburban services from Halifax to Sackville (Oland's Corner) via Kempt Road, Rockingham via Arm Bridge, Johnson's Cabins on the St. Margaret's Bay Road via Arm Bridge, Purcell's Cove via Melville Cove and Jollimore Village, Shad Bay via Arm Bridge and Goodwood School on the Prospect Road, Spryfield, and Herring Cove via Spryfield (Gillis p. 147). Abandoned Halifax - Johnson's Cabins and Bedford - Waverley 1954 (Gillis p 157). 1954 routes were Halifax - Sackville, Halifax - Herring Cove, Halifax - Fairview, and Halifax - Purcell's Cove (Gillis p. 153).. Bus operations of United Service consolidated as Acadian Lines in 1955 (Gillis p. 65). (Leger & Lawrence, Canadian Coach 1970).

Thomas A. Welsh (late 1940's or early 1950's - 1955)
P.U.B. 1954 certificate to operate scheduled bus service between Halifax and White's Lake, Halifax County [Shad Bay] [23km] (Gillis p. 156) Certificate cancelled 1955 (Gillis p. 159). Does not appear on the 1946 list.

Acadian Lines (01 January 1956 - 28 February 1979)
Province-wide intercity bus line with suburban routes at Halifax and Sydney. 1955 P.U.B. licence included the following Halifax suburban services: Halifax - Sackville (Junction of Lucasville Road); Halifax - Herring Cove via Armdale, Spryfield and Herring Cove Road; Halifax - Fairview via Armdale and Dutch Village Road; and Halifax - Purcell's Cove via Armdale and Purcell's Cove Road (Gillis p. 158). Expansion of the HTC service area (see above) in 1970 resulted in abandonment of routes Halifax - Fairview, Halifax - Purcell's Cove, and Halifax - Leiblen Park (Gillis p. 75). In 1972 Acadian applied to abandon Halifax - Herring Cove due to HTC competition (Gillis p. 76). The final Halifax-area suburban service, Halifax - Bedford - Sackville, was abandoned to HTC 1979 (Gillis p. 77). (Canadian Coach 1970, Leger & Lawrence).

Beaver Bank Transit Ltd. GM new look (David Slater/flickr 1992) Beaver Bank Transit Ltd. (circa 1985 - 1996?)
Bus service between Sackville and Beaver Bank. Halifax council minutes from 1996 suggest Metro Transit moving to assume BBT service. (photo David Slater/flickr).

MusGo Rider Cooperative Ltd. (01 October 2012 - present)
Demand-responsive transit service for Jeddore, Musquodoboit Harbour and Porters Lake areas. Trips must be booked 24 hours in advance. Using the service requires an annual membership. (website 2013).

MusGo Rider Co-op [Halifax] logo
system logo (2013)
Data source: website 2013 (logo)


Elmsdale-Halifax commuter schedule (CN Table 40 1956 Sep 30) The June 27, 1937 and November 26 1944 Canadian National Railways time tables include a pair of commuter-scheduled weekday/Saturday trains operating between Halifax and Waverley (28.6 km/17.9 mi., 50-60 min.). In 1937 the service arrived at Halifax at 6:45am with departed at 4:30pm. In 1944 arrival at Halifax was 7:35am and departure was 6:20pm. By the Winter 1956/57 time tables trains operated daily except Sunday between Elmsdale and Halifax (51.4 km/32.1 mi., 80 min.). Commuters arrived at Halifax at 7:35am and departed at 5:30pm. By the Winter of 1966/67 service was extended to Truro (102.4 km/64.0 mi., 75-100 min.) and offered commuters an arrival in Halifax at 8:00am and departure at 5:15pm (CN Winter 1966/67 time tables). These services meet a basic definition of a commuter train (weekdaily, rush-hour scheduling and run time under about 90 minutes).

The Acadian Coach Lines Fall 1946 Time Tables include two bus services by MacKenzie Bus Lines which are scheduled to suit commuters:

  1. Halifax - Hubbards (70-75 min.), arrive Halifax 7:25 AM, return departs 5:30 PM (supplemented by four daily long-distance trips), and
  2. Halifax - Glen Margaret (70-85 min.), arrive Halifax 7:45 AM, return departs 5:30 PM (supplemented by two additional daily trips).

Dartmouth Systems

Dartmouth Ferry Commission (15 July 1890 - 1994)
Last separate operator of the longstanding ferry service between Dartmouth and Halifax (established 1752). Acquired 1890 the operations and assets of the Halifax and Dartmouth Steam Ferry Company, Limited (incorporated 24 April 1885 (NS)). Ferry service taken over by Metro Transit 1994.

Lawrence M. Bell (circa 1921 - before 1927)
From the early 1920's was operating in Dartmouth area (Gillis p. 9). Received Public Utilities board certificate #1 01 June 1923 covering two buses and operations between Dartmouth & Imperoyal, and Dartmouth & Eastern Passage (Gillis pp 10, 139). Incorporated before 1927 certificates were issued as L.M. Bell, Limited.

Darmouth Garage & Bus Co. Ltd. (circa 1923 - before 1930)
24 July 1923 P.U.B. certificate for scheduled bus service between Dartmouth and Imperoyal, 2 buses (Gillis p. 139). Certificate renewed 1927 (Gillis p. 140). Does not appear on the 1930 certificate list.

L.M. Bell, Limited (before 1927 - before 1938)
1927 P.U.B. certificate for Dartmouth - Imperoyal bus service (Gillis p. 140). Certificate renewed 1930 (Gillis p. 142). Name changed to BB Ltd. before 1938 certificates issued.

Waverley Bus Co. Ltd. (1930's?)
1938 P.U.B. certificate for scheduled bus service between Dartmouth and Waverley [18 km] (Gillis p. 145). Does not appear on the 1946 list.

George W. Frizzel (1930's?)
1938 P.U.B. certificate for scheduled bus service between Dartmouth and Montague [Gold] Mines (Gillis p. 146). Does not appear on the 1946 list.

Bell Busses, Limited (before 1938 - 01 April 1957)
1938 P.U.B. certificate for scheduled bus service between Dartmouth and Imperoyal (Gillis p. 145). Certificate renewed 1946 covering Dartmouth Ferry to Quigley's Corner, and Dartmouth Ferry to Port Wallis (Gillis p. 147). Succeeded by DTSBL.

Dartmouth Transit Service 139 GM new look (Brian Sullivan 1973 Oct 19, Peter Cox coll.) Dartmouth Transit Service Buses Ltd. (01 April 1957 - 01 February 1978)
Serving Dartmouth. Acquired by the City of Dartmouth 1978. (RS, Canadian Coach 1969, Dawes et al. 1972, Transit Canada 1975, photos Peter Cox, Brian Sullivan [Peter Cox coll.])

Dartmouth Transit Service Buses Ltd. #123, a 1963 GM TGH-3102 (Peter Cox)

Dartmouth Transit (01 February 1978 - 28 February 1981)
Municipal operation (RS). Suceeded by MT.


Omnibus1860's - 1891?
Animal railway11 June 1866 - 17 May 1876,
21 October 1886 - 31 May 1896
Electric railway12 February 1896 - 29 April 1949>
Motor buscirca 1921 - present
Trolley coach27 March 1949 - 31 December 1969


Nova Scotia statutes include two other Halifax omnibus companies: Halifax Omnibus, Express, and Conveyance Company incorporated 07 May 1867 (NS) and Halifax Street Carette Company, Limited incorporated 19 May 1891 (NS). It has not been established if either of these companies operated public transit services.


Copyright ©1989-2014 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
Return to All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

The author is always interested in comments, corrections and further information. Please email to:
This page last modified: Wednesday, 16-Jul-2014 09:50:23 CDT