Valentine's Day contest scrapped by Halifax Transit following public outcry

A Halifax Transit bus drives a route in Dartmouth, N.S. on Thursday, March 26, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)

A public backlash has forced the Halifax Transit authority to scrap plans for a Valentine's Day contest it called "Love in Transit."

When the municipal agency asked the public to share stories of love on the city's buses and ferries, many responded with disturbing accounts of verbal, physical and sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

The online reaction included stories from women describing how they felt trapped when approached by threatening people while on buses or at ferry terminals or bus stops.

The transit authority pulled the campaign Wednesday and issued an apology, saying any passengers experiencing abusive behaviour should contact police.

It said it was looking for positive stories to lift passengers' spirits and that it recognized many people had taken offence to the contest.

As well, Halifax Transit said it has zero tolerance for all forms of harassment and violence.