Special Report: Bus Lane

Most Hamiltonians Support Keeping, Improving Bus Lane: Independent Survey

A new survey found 53 percent of Hamiltonians support keeping the bus lane and 67 percent support keeping the bus lane and making the staff-recommended modifications to mitigate problems with the lane.

By Ryan McGreal
Published January 21, 2015

Last week, Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead had a city-wide telephone survey conducted to gauge public opinion on the contested transit-only lane on King Street between Mary and Dundurn. The survey methodology was, um, less than rigorous and Whitehead persists in misstating even those poorly-obtained results.

In response, a group of Ward 2 residents crowd-funded an independent city-wide survey. It found 53 percent of Hamiltonians support keeping the bus lane and 67 percent support keeping the bus lane and making the staff-recommended modifications to mitigate problems with the lane.

You can download the press release [PDF].

The 322 respondents were randomly selected from both land lines and cell phones and the results are weighted by age and gender to reflect Hamilton's population demographics. (Respondents were asked four demographic questions at the end, which were posed in random order to each respondent.)

The sample size is accurate to +/- 5.5 percent, 19 times out of 20 for questions that all respondents answered. Every respondent was asked every question but some people hung up before the end of the survey.

Whereas Whitehead's poll asked leading questions that produced contradictory results from that poll's respondents, the new survey followed a more careful methodology. It did not allow unsure/undecided options, and the wording was chosen carefully to elicit clear responses.

Volunteer-Organized, Crowdfunded

Mike Borrelli helped organize the poll and develop the questions. He is a sociology graduate from McMaster University and has a background in social research.

The survey itself was conducted via interactive voice response (IVR) by Grand River Research on the evening of January 21, 2015.

The survey was funded by volunteers. If you want to donate toward the total, you can send money to Mike Borrelli via paypal using his email address: michael@myboytheriotgirl.com.

Alternately, you can send donations to Beasley Neighbourhood Association care of Allison Chewter, interim treasurer, at 239 John St. N., Hamilton ON, L8L 4P4.

Questions and Responses

The survey questions and response breakdowns are as follows:

How often do you currently use public transit?

Are you aware of Hamilton's Transit Only Lane pilot project, running along King St. from Mary St. to Dundurn St.?

Do you currently travel along King St. during rush-hour, using any form of transportation?

Do you support the ongoing operation of the Transit Only Lane, or the cancellation of the pilot project at a cost of $100,000 to remove the lane?

If the Transit Only Lane were modified to address some of the concerns of road users and businesses along the route, would you support the ongoing operation of the Transit Only Lane?

Please add your voice to the Support Hamilton Transit campaign to keep the bus lane.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan wrote a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. His articles have also been published in The Walrus, HuffPost and Behind the Numbers. He maintains a personal website, has been known to share passing thoughts on Twitter and Facebook, and posts the occasional cat photo on Instagram.


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By Yes (anonymous) | Posted January 21, 2015 at 15:02:37

One only needs to look at the recent election results to know majority of Hamiltonians support this and ultimately LRT. The LRT vote really just got split between Eisenberger and McHattie as both ran on pro-LRT platforms. Combined thats an overwhelming majority.

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By AndrewMuller (registered) | Posted January 22, 2015 at 17:43:21

This poll organized by the Beasley Neighbourhood Association is an excellent contribution to the rational discussion of public transit in Hamilton and a great credit to the organizers. The results of the poll constitute a powerful rebuttal to those whos insist that their constituents are demanding the removal of the bus lane. Congratulations to all involved.

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