Transportation

Council Rejects Transit Fare Increase

By RTH Staff
Published March 12, 2009

Last November, the city's Committee of the Whole turned back a staff recommendation to raise HSR transit fares starting in 2009, referring the proposal to the 2009 budget process. This week, Councillors rejected the proposal again, citing the claim by staff that falling oil prices have reduced pressure on the HSR budget.

Last year, after a fare increase in mid-2007 and at the start of 2008, transit ridership in Hamilton rose only one percent overall, far lower than the average for Canadian cities during a year when high gasoline prices had many people rethinking their transportation arrangements.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 12, 2009 at 13:18:58

Is this a typo???

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 12, 2009 at 13:42:58

Which part is hard to believe, that they rejected it, or that the ridership only increased 1% last year?

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 12, 2009 at 14:00:49

it's hard to believe they rejected it and hard to believe that ridership went up at all.

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By Beans (anonymous) | Posted March 12, 2009 at 14:05:34

Actually, I think the real typo regards the fact that the ridership they track increased only 1%. Of the thousands of times I've been on the HSR, they've only counted me once, namely, the time I forgot my student pass and had to interact with their coin-gadget.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 12, 2009 at 14:24:07

Beans wrote:

Actually, I think the real typo regards the fact that the ridership they track increased only 1%.

That's a very important point. The HSR really doesn't have any reliable way to know how many riders it has, or what is the distribution of riders by form of payment (fares, tickets, passes). Passholders simply flash their cards on entering buses but do not have to swipe them anywhere.

Right now the HSR is conducting an audit of its service. It has hired a consultant (IBI Group if I'm not mistaken) to survey ridership on its routes so the HSR can determine how to rationalize its service delivery (insert ominous noises here).

I'm not sure quite what that will entail, and it's certainly premature to accuse the HSR of planning to cut service to less-busy routes, but this is certainly something to keep an eye on.

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By omro (registered) | Posted March 12, 2009 at 14:53:26

When the HSR implements the Presto card in 2010 that should give them significantly better tracking data.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted March 13, 2009 at 19:04:15

The HSR does occassionally count ridership on certain routes occassionally, like the McMaster route. I remember they had someone sit on the bus with a clipboard and count people as they boarded. Unfortunately they were they chose exam week to do it, when the flow of students is light and irregular. But I do recall an exchange between the counter and bus driver about how the newer buses were all supposed to be able to count individuals on their own, through some sort of sensor? But they never worked reliably, hence the reason for a person sitting there and counting (can't trust the drivers to count of course!).

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By Tom West (anonymous) | Posted April 01, 2009 at 13:46:04

Why is there always such a fussover fare increases? Do people seriously think that tranit employees should have their wages frozen? Because that's the only way costs won't rise every year.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted April 01, 2009 at 15:31:57

Tom, No way! Only a select few have been blessed with the skills to drive a town bus. If anything, their wages should be doubled, or even tripled.

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