Comment 86742

By JayRobb (registered) | Posted February 25, 2013 at 14:34:32

Agree that light rail transit running thru the core and linked to all-day GO service would be a smart long term investment (would eliminate the need for more taxpayer funded / subsidized parking lots and garages and would get large numbers of people in and out of the core quickly for work and events).

Yet how much of Hamilton's stagnant public transit ridership is due to short commute times within the city and an abundance of cheap parking?

When I worked at Dofasco, my crosstown commute was under 20 minutes thanks to some one-way streets with synchronized lights and the parking was free.

It takes me less than 10 minutes to drive to my current employer and while parking isn't free, it's not prohibitively expensive either. The few times I've taken the bus to work, the 10 minute commute's become a 45 minute bus ride and a 10 minute walk. And those extra 55 minutes don't make life easier at the back end of the day when the kids have afterschool lessons.

Our family went to a Hamilton Bulldogs game last week. It took all of 5 minutes to drive to Copps and we paid just $3 to park at a municipal garage. By comparison, we take the GO Train to weekend Jays games because it's cheaper, quicker and more convenient.

Until the cost of driving in time and money is greater than the cost of taking public transit , I can't see those who have a choice in how they get around choosing to park the car in favour of a bus or train. And these are the folks who can afford to pay full fare and help subsidize an expanded transit system. If a tax hike for public transit went to a referendum in the 2014 election, would it pass?

Not sure what the solution is? Maybe more pain at the pumps, higher parking rates downtown, addition of congestion pricing / tolls and a conversion to complete streets would convince more of us to choose transit?

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