Halifax: Is your bus driver stoned?
Metro Transit has this week kicked off a PR campaign to convince people to ride the bus. It may be something of an uphill battle, as even mayor Mike Savage hasn’t used a bus since he’s been elected, says Savage's spokesperson, Shaune MacKinlay. Savage has taken the ferry across the harbour to attend meetings at the city's Alderney Landing offices, but that doesn't count: the campaign is called "Do it on the bus," after all, not "Fly with the ferries." But some Metro Transit employees appear to be embracing the idea of doing it on the bus with gusto. The Coast has learned of two worrying incidents involving Metro Transit employees misusing intoxicants. The first occurred last fall. On Wednesday, October 24, at 11pm a RCMP officer came across an empty, but idling, Metro Transit bus at Highway 7 and Lake Major Road. The RCMP had stepped up patrols in the Lake Major area in response to unknown people pelting passing buses with rocks, and since this wasn’t a normal stop for the bus, the officer investigated. At that point, the bus driver came out of the woods, and the officer “noticed the odour of marijuana,” says Scott MacRae, a spokesperson for the RCMP’s Halifax division. The officer “didn’t believe” the bus driver was impaired, and the driver was not arrested or charged. The officer did, however, notify Metro Transit of the incident. The driver’s name has not been released. The second incident occurred on Saturday, January 26. At 1:45pm, Halifax police received a call from a citizen saying there was a vehicle driving erratically at Burnside Drive and Akerley Boulevard. The citizen followed the vehicle to 200 Isley Avenue, which is the Burnside Transit Garage. Police arrived, and at 2:15 arrested a man for impaired driving and for having a blood alcohol level in excess of the legal limit. Charged is 48-year-old Steven MacPhee of Westphal. He is to appear in Dartmouth court on March 12. Constable Dianne Woodworth, speaking for the Halifax Regional Police Department, says Metro Transit assisted in identifying MacPhee. MacPhee is a service supervisor. When arrested, he had been driving his own vehicle, but sources tell The Coast MacPhee was about to start his shift, and would’ve been expected to drive one of Metro Transit’s SUVs to perform his supervisorial duties. Read More..