A passenger watches as a Dartmouth-bound ferry passes by on Thursday.

As Diana Erskine sat reading a book on the Halifax ferry Thursday, she occasionally looked up to gaze out into a grey and rainy harbour. It’s something she missed.

“I find it relaxing. It’s a nice way to unwind after the day’s work,” said Erskine, who regularly takes the ferry to and from work at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, but resorted to using her car during the strike.

Erskine was one of many who hopped across the harbour Thursday, as Metro Transit’s ferry service resumed for the first time in six weeks.

Many regular users expressed relief, but for 25-year-old Maxwell Gallacher, it was the free ride that brought him onto the ferry.

“I used it today because it was free and I needed to get to (downtown Halifax),” said Gallacher, sitting in front of a window overlooking downtown Dartmouth.

About 40 people sipped coffees, listened to music and read books while crossing the harbour from Halifax to Dartmouth Thursday at about 4 p.m.

Lori Patterson, spokeswoman for Metro Transit, could not say the exact number of passengers who were back using the service Thursday, but said ferry operators reported “lighter” crowds.

“But that also could be attributed to March break and that there (are) no bus connections yet for today,” said Patterson, adding that normally 4,300 passengers trips are made per week day.

Patterson added operators noted that passengers were in good spirits.

“No complaints have been heard,” she said. “The passengers seem happy to be back on the service.”

Metro Transit’s bus service resumes on Friday and could see a similar first day as the ferry, said Paterson.

“It’s hard to speculate. Depending on weather and different things, we expect it will gradually ramp up as the service is back in full operation,” said Patterson.

“We expect the numbers to increase over the next few weeks.”

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