Comment 20380

By brodiec (registered) | Posted March 27, 2008 at 05:19:06

I say make the HSR cost fare as long as it's one single coin. A penny, nickel, dime, quarter, loonie, toonie, whatever works the books the sexiest. The point being that a "free" tax-based system could prevent data about ridership from being collected (much as it isn't for pass users right now) and hinder improvements from being made to the system.

While I agree Hamiltonians need to pay more for their public transit to see a useful system I believe an entirely tax based system would be a strong political reason to let it languish. What should be done immediately is a way to essentially monetize the aggregate ridership data and know explicitly where riders get on the bus, when and how often. From there create fare zones for cash fares and keep monthly passes at a flat rate. Areas of low ridership and usually low urban density will encourage more pass use.

What will make the HSR useful to more people is not the cost of the service but the quality of it. And increasingly the quality of the HSR service is minimal. At best it's sufficient and regularly fails. Switching to an entirely tax based system would ghetto-ize the system allowing it to languish into uselessness as the political football, as it were, would not be in the hands of transit riders but in the hands of tax payers. And tax payers in Hamilton both pay a lot and complain a lot. The last thing we want to do is put the HSR on a fixed income. If anything we need to make the HSR smarter and make more money and start paying for itself. Slowly but surely.

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