Comment 70478

By Myrcurial (registered) - website | Posted October 12, 2011 at 10:28:23

Nothing lies quite like financial projections and ridership statistics.

I'm getting tired of numbers being thrown around in a contextually free way.

1/ We need real ridership numbers for the HSR. They make no effort what-so-ever to collect any details on ridership - time for the people to step up.

2/ We need fully explained costs - both capital and operating for both LRT and BRT -- we need to see the case that BRT is capital light and operating heavy. Why don't the BRT numbers include the equivalent of "trackage" -- road maintenance costs are real costs associated with BRT.

3/ We need to have a city council that is actually interested in the future rather than lamenting the past -- this is an extension of the "Native Hamiltonian is Hamilton's Worst Enemy" problem. Isn't one of the definitions of insanity doing the same thing again and expecting a different outcome?

I think that the key to understanding the long term impact of status quo vs. BRT vs. LRT is to have a functioning transit system to begin with - so we understand the cost differential relative to where we are now.

Currently, the HSR just barely functions. I depend on it daily (buying another car is not a reasonable option when you live in a dense urban area and only need to travel a few kilometres) and I spend a whole lot of time frustrated with it.

I'm not sure who's managing things there but based on the fact that despite an investment in lots of little white SUVs and little computer screens, I'm seeing buses that arrive on a schedule that can only be predicted using chicken bones and tea leaves. Two buses every twenty minutes is not the same as one bus every ten minutes. I see lots of buses go screaming by because they're beyond capacity. I see lots of buses bombing around completely empty. I've given up expecting respect from the vast majority of drivers - utter contempt is the best way to describe the look on their face when I pay my fare and cheerfully say "Good Morning".

To get to the facts around the costs of transit options we need to do at least:

1/ I want to know which routes actually operate on time - and with what regularity they do so.

2/ I want to know what the trip/hourly/daily/weekly load on various routes are - to single digit precision.

3/ I want to know how many people are left standing at a stop when a bus that's too full goes by.

4/ I want to know what the fare mix is - between cash, ticket, pass, and free - for each ticket category. And where details are useful (which pass type, why free)

5/ I want to be able to lookup and report on maintenance issues for each vehicle.

6/ I want a way to report issues that actually gets dealt with - I'm tired of reporting one driver for texting while driving - sick and freaking tired of it - because whatever the sanctions are, they're not useful.

With this sort of information, we'd know how underfunded we are for our current service level and we'd be able to put some numbers behind the "lots of people use the B- corridor" statement.

I guess I'm asking for Open Data - the ability to determine whether or not my tax dollars are being spent appropriately.

And I'm asking why our elected representatives aren't asking the questions I would. Perhaps they've succumbed to the pleasures of ohh-pee-ummm -- OPM -- Other People's Money.

Gah.

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