Council needs to demonstrate meaningfully that it values transit before the HSR can be entrusted to manage rapid transit.
By Dan Jelly
Published July 05, 2017
Ten things that Council needs to do before I will support the the recent proposal to have the HSR (i.e. Council) operate and maintain Hamilton's light rail transit (LRT) system:
1) Reinvest the decade-plus worth of Federal gas tax dollars that were used on other projects back into the HSR. If the amount of money we get is dependent on transit ridership, the money should be spent on improving transit ridership. The HSR has been short-funded by many tens of millions of dollars to date.
2) Un-suspend the Ten-Year Transit Strategy. Council were already behind when they started and then they pulled the plug.
3) End Area Rating - There are people who pay $250 on their annual tax bill for transit living about 100 feet from people who pay only $65 for the same service. Some others pay nothing at all, even though they also benefit indirectly. There needs to be a fair way to make this work.
4) Enact policy that requires Council to implement new transit routes or improvements any time new trip generators are approved (i.e. new grocery stores, business parks, schools, etc).
Council acts stunned/indignant when people demand that transit change with new land uses. The supermarket they built on Dundurn in 1986 should be getting proper transit any day now ... right? I'm sure the people in Kirkendall would like access. (h/t to Jason Allen for reminding me of this one.)
5) Stop it with the drastically reduced service during summer holidays. Canada Day was a giant fiasco. They added extra shuttles to the harbour, anticipating huge demand, without adding service to give people options at the other end. Tall Ships got gold-plated service (which clogged traffic), while It's Your Festival got the shaft, as 60 foot buses were pulled off routes that serve Gage so they could serve Tall Ships. Major fail.
6) Recognize that people like to leave their house on evenings and weekends. The ban on Sunday shopping ended in 1990. Somebody should inform the HSR.
7) Run a bus to the Hamilton International Airport on weekends. You know, when people often fly.
8) Stop pretending all activity stops at McMaster and surrounding neighbourhoods during the summer months. There are actually still people living in Ainslie Wood. Getting to the opposite side of campus shouldn't be like planning a voyage from Spain to India in 1492.
9) Hire more than one person to do social media, particularly on weekends and outside the hours of 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. What is this, 1995?
10) Offer to pay 30 percent of the capital cost of LRT like other cities have. They want to operate the LRT but not pay for it? That's galling. They want to be seen as a city that values transit? They should start acting like one.
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