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  #2561  
Old Posted May 3, 2017, 7:01 AM
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ScreamingViking ScreamingViking is offline
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Originally Posted by HillStreetBlues View Post
Jurisdictions that ostensibly pay for roads with gas taxes will have to move to VMT systems quickly. Because of the take-up of electric vehicles, but also because gasmobiles are becoming more efficient, and most importantly because they have mostly found it impossible to increase gas taxes. January was the 25th anniversary of the last time Ontario raised its gas tax. Moving to a VMT system means charging drivers in closer relation to the wear they actually put on the roads, but it's also an opportunity to increase taxation to actually cover the cost of the roads. It has to happen, and soon.

Remind me: is HSR increasing fares again this year? Improving service is good and necessary, but if fares go up, ridership will continue to decline, and Hamilton's share of the gas tax will remain flat or declining.
That's a logical replacement. Politically, VMT charging is likely to be a hot potato (especially for owners of electrics, unless the hydro rate issue cools off), though if mileage-based insurance starts becoming more popular that may help moderate perceptions. But any change in the taxation/fee system will be met with grumbling no matter how it's handled.

Re: the HSR fare increase, it was delayed too.
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  #2562  
Old Posted May 19, 2017, 1:18 AM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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HSR riders left behind
(CATCH, May 1 2017)

In peak months, up to 50 HSR buses per day pass by stops without picking up waiting passengers because the bus is already full. These “pass-bys” that discourage transit use are most common along the future LRT corridor. And that won’t change soon because city council has ‘postponed’ system improvements.

In accepting the postponement, HSR staff warned that taxes will have to climb 1.15 percent just to meet next year’s transit funding needs. And it could be higher because staff assumed extra revenue from another fare increase this September that council also decided to postpone. The bus drivers’ contract is up for renegotiation next year, adding further financial pressures.

Most threatening to improving HSR ridership is a quarter-century council history of refusing to use new tax dollars to improve transit. That will be even more likely to continue in 2018 because it is a municipal election year when councillors try to keep tax hikes to an absolute minimum.

HSR statistics for the last two years show at least 200 pass-bys every month with peaks climbing over 1000 during the six busiest months. The pass-bys here don’t drop below 800 during either the September-November period or the January-March timeframe when most university students ride the HSR. This is consistent with data showing there are more passengers per bus in Hamilton than anywhere else in the GTA except Toronto.

If these pass-bys occur mainly during weekdays, that works out to at least 10 and up to 50 buses a day that are so overloaded as to be unable to pick up more passengers. The HSR pass-by report in late January didn’t garner any reaction from city councillors, who instead forced HSR staff to reduce their budget.

HSR graphs show most of the pass-bys are in the Main-King-Queenston corridor where LRT is to be located, exceeding 700 in five of the 24 months reported. But they also surpassed 100 in the majority of months for the mountain to downtown routes, and were even more frequent along other downtown routes…

Federal help for the HSR has also been delayed despite an announcement last summer of $1.5 billion for Ontario transit systems from Trudeau’s Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF). City staff calculated that would mean $36 million for Hamilton to spend on capital improvements and included the required city matching funds in the 2017 capital budget.

But council balked at the 0.45 percent tax hike and postponed budgeting for this windfall. That then became a key justification for cutting this year’s HSR budget on March 24.

“Given the delay of the PTIF announcement, the 2017 service enhancements will not be operationalized until 2018,” explained the reduced budget report. “Therefore, the operating costs associated with year 3 of the Strategy would be moved to 2018, extending the overall time horizon for completion of the 10 year plan beyond 2024.”

As it turned out, that report was approved by council just seven days before the formal federal announcement of the transit funding details for Hamilton and other Ontario cities. That leaves the city without the required matching funds in this year’s budget.



Read it in full here.
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  #2563  
Old Posted May 26, 2017, 2:37 PM
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Starting on Monday HSR will provide free rides for cyclists up the escarpment.


Jason Thorne
https://twitter.com/JasonThorne_RPP


Jason Thorne
https://twitter.com/JasonThorne_RPP
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  #2564  
Old Posted May 26, 2017, 3:11 PM
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Neat.
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  #2565  
Old Posted May 28, 2017, 4:54 AM
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Starting on Monday HSR will provide free rides for cyclists up the escarpment.
But not on Parkdale (the second pic). James Mtn Road only, and only from St Joseph's to Brantdale and vice-versa.
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  #2566  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2017, 3:36 PM
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Always wondered why the bus ads on the HSR were so terrible.

Despite Multi-Million Deficits, HSR Failed to Put Bus Ad Contract to Competitive Bid in 2015 & 2016

https://www.thepublicrecord.ca/2017/...-in-2015-2016/

Hamilton’s embattled transit division is facing another multi-million dollar shortfall this year, but despite successful advertising agencies, including Pattison and Corus Entertainment, seeking to offer the City more money for bus advertising, Council approved putting off competitive bids and failed to hold HSR managers to a 2015 deadline for the bids.

The HSR’s current advertising agent, StreetSeen Media, was awarded exclusivity in 2004 when they won a five year contract.
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  #2567  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2017, 1:31 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Back to the Future

Spotted this morning: HSR workers removing the MacNab Transit Terminal's System Maps which have been unchanged since they were installed at time of opening.
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  #2568  
Old Posted Aug 9, 2017, 6:37 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Via @joeycoleman:



In Feb 2015, the HSR’s Ten Year Local Transit Strategy anticipated year-over-year gains that would see the HSR net an additional 600K riders and $8.8M in revenue by year-end 2017.

Compared to the HSR's rosy projections, this revised outlook represents a loss of 1.4M riders and $13M in revenue in the same three-year span.

2015-2017 represents the HSR's second largest three-year ridership decline in 20 years (narrowly edged by the contraction of 1995-1997). Considered contra projected gains, it represents the second steepest HSR ridership decline of the last 25 years.

An under-acknowledged challenge to the HSR's core ridership is arguably the hike in monthly pass costs. (In Feb 2015, monthly passholders were said to represent 51% of HSR users.) The "adjusted" senior pass multiplier is notable in this regard. Seniors made up around 6% of HSR users in 2015, but Hamilton's seniors' passes were identified as 40% below the average of southern Ontario peers and promptly brought to level.

Sept 2015 Fare Increases
Cash Fare: 17.6%
Adult Ticket: 12.5%
Student Ticket: 8.8%
Adult Monthly Pass: 13.8%
Student Monthly Pass: 5.4%
Senior Monthly Pass: 24.4%

Sept 2016 Fare Increases
Cash Fare: 0.0%
Adult Ticket: 4.4%
Student Ticket: 2.9%
Adult Monthly Pass: 4.4%
Student Monthly Pass: 2.9%
Senior Monthly Pass: 16.7%


In the same document, the HSR chalked out its ridership calculus.

1% increase in fares = 0.2% to 0.5% decrease in ridership
1% increase in service = 0.5% to 0.7% increase in ridership


In other words, as long as fare hikes accompany service improvements, all is well.

And here's where much of the decline is rooted: Not in the advent of Uber or SoBi, or the fluctuations of OPEC, but in the policies of the HSR and the direction of council.

Council, which punted 2015 HSR system improvements into the second half of 2016.
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Last edited by thistleclub; Aug 10, 2017 at 10:49 AM.
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  #2569  
Old Posted Nov 6, 2017, 11:41 PM
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Crucial transit budget
(CATCH, Oct 16 2017)

Next year’s HSR budget requires a string of crucial decisions. It is heading to councillors early in November, months before public input is invited or most other features of the 2018 city spending are scheduled to be finalized. Critical decisions include a fare increase, re-commitment to council’s 10-year strategy, getting ready for LRT, and finding monies to match large federal transit grants.

Ridership has been stagnant or dropping for several years and is projected to be down again in 2017 in contrast to substantial increases in other parts of the country that have occurred every month this year. The most recent figures from Statistics Canada show July ridership in the ten largest transit systems jumped 9 percent over the previous year.

Ironically the repeated failure to add riders has further undermined council’s historical reluctance to provide new funding to the struggling system. Each recent budget has projected more riders, so when that didn’t happen, the HSR budget shortfall has had to be made up from city coffers despite years of council refusing to approve increases during the budgeting process.

The transit budget will be the focus for the general issues committee meeting on Friday, November 10 that could see decisions finalized at the following Wednesday’s full council meeting. In contrast, discussion of the rest of the city’s 2018 operating budget won’t start until the new year and isn’t expected to be finalized until at least March.

Even the capital budget decisions aren’t scheduled until December. The formal public opportunity to make comments on the budget isn’t until late February. However, individuals can request to speak to any item on a committee agenda.

Big fare hikes took place in 2015 and 2016 and appear to have caused a sharp drop in ridership in both years that has gotten worse in 2017. Council’s official policy is to raise fares every September, so a fare hike in 2018 seems likely, but an increase was waived this year because of the ridership crisis.

It also responded to public anger over councillors abandoning their 10-year transit strategic plan last March at the first point when new tax monies were scheduled to be provided to the HSR. All the monies for the first two years came from the fare hikes in 2015-16 which had been justified by the promise to add city monies in 2017. Councillors promised to get the 10-year strategy back on track in 2018, but that will require even more city funding and would almost certainly require tax hikes – something councillors are loathe to do in a re-election year.


Read it in full here.
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  #2570  
Old Posted Nov 7, 2017, 12:10 AM
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As someone who relies on public transit for all my transportation needs, and someone who relies on the use of Mobility Scooter, I'll give my two cents on this issue.

Hamilton's transit excels in size and variability of routes. There is no doubt, if I need to get to most places in Hamilton, I can do so.

Hamilton's transit needs to get it's act together on bus frequency. Recently, needing to head out to Lawrence road, I waited over 45 minutes for a #5 Delaware. Four #1 Kings, and 2 #10 B-Lines passed me. This was at the Main and MacNab stop.

And that was waiting for any eastbound #5, Since I get off at Maplewood and Gage, and then scoot to my destination.

This was a cold night. By the time my bus came, there were at least 30 people waiting for the #5. This meant that on the bus, it was so overcrowded that there was simply not enough room for everyone, and had multiple people bump into my mobility scooter. I don't mind that, I realize its overcrowded, but it shows just how overcrowded it really is.
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  #2571  
Old Posted Nov 8, 2017, 7:58 AM
mishap mishap is offline
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Originally Posted by scootaround View Post
Hamilton's transit needs to get it's act together on bus frequency. Recently, needing to head out to Lawrence road, I waited over 45 minutes for a #5 Delaware.
That's not a frequency issue, that's a missing bus (or two). There is 45-minute frequency late at night to each spur, but there is no scheduled 45-minute gap between Delaware buses on the shared routing.
Huh, it's a Delaware Gap discussion. ;-)
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  #2572  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2017, 6:18 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Here's hoping that ATU107 brass are preparing a delegation for tomorrow's General Issues Committee to inform the transit budget debate that will unfold over the next week, and which is of critical importance to the HSR's performance in the coming year and beyond.

AFAIK, this has only happened once before, on December 14, 2010, when then-president Budh Dhillon, accompanied by then-VP Eric Tuck, presented the ATU's perspective to the GIC. (Appearing in an explicitly non-official, Tuck did speak as a citizen for a brief, impromptu delegation at a February 23, 2017 GIC meeting on transit.)

This delegation followed council's August 2010 decision to postpone investment in the HSR. Via CATCH:

A proposal to fix problems with HSR service is on hold until next year. Transit director Don Hull hopes to start using federal gas tax funds to end overcrowding that is frequently leaving people behind at bus stops.

Hamilton is only one of two large cities which do not use federal gas tax monies for transit. Hull is calling for a shift of $3 million of these funds – out of the city’s $32 million annual allocation – to increase service on some HSR routes and take an initial step towards meeting the approved objectives of the city’s master transportation plan – but a council decision last week means no changes are likely before late 2011.

Hull notes new spending on the HSR over the last decade has been “marginal” and what has taken place has come entirely from senior levels of government. He told councillors last week that Hamilton really needs to add $80 million a year to the HSR budget to achieve the ridership levels of cities like Ottawa and meet the goals of council’s approved ridership goals.

“$30 million is just what it would take over the next five years to keep moving towards the Transportation Master Plan,” he explained. “The $3 million that we’re asking for in alternative to the $30 million is simply what we feel we need in the very short term to prevent the public satisfaction with this program from deteriorating.”

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson suggested the $3 million was Hull’s “real pie in the sky wish list”, but the transit director strongly defended the financial need to bolster existing HSR routes and get back to earlier service levels that have gone downhill in the face of growing pressures.


Dhillon later continued to push the issue via the media. An ATU news release from March 2012 could have been written yesterday:

Hamilton Street Railway management ignored a consultant's report on the deteriorating state of the City's transit system, says Budh Dhillon, President of ATU Local 107. The Union represents the drivers, mechanics and support staff working for HSR.

"We have been raising the issue of unsatisfactory levels of service for at least the last eight years", says Dhillon. "HSR management continued to dismiss our concerns, until we finally negotiated a clause in our collective agreement requiring them to get serious about it." Dhillon says the collective agreement signed by the parties in 2007, required HSR to hire an outside consultant to examine the state of the transit system. HSR hired IBL Consulting Group who conducted a study in 2009. The consultants recommended an injection of an additional $30 million, just to bring the transit system to an acceptable level.

In 2010, City Council approved only $3 million for transit improvements. Dhillon states "Not only is the amount woefully inadequate, but management has not spent a penny of the $3 million until now." HSR is attempting to improve service levels at the end of this month. "But even that will only account for $1 million of the amount allocated to improve the transit system."

Bus drivers are being verbally and physically assaulted by passengers who are frustrated by the lack of adequate service, Dhillon says. HSR and the City need to explain to commuters why they have failed to approve sufficient funds to improve service levels and why the small amount approved was not spent for two years.

Don Hull, Transit Director, says HSR couldn't hire drivers fast enough to replace retiring baby boomers. Dhillon points out the impending retirements of a large part of the work force have been no secret. "HSR management has been fully aware of the need to hire new drivers," he says. "They could have been proactive in hiring new drivers, but instead, they dragged their feet and did nothing. We were down to two trainers from mid-2010 to mid-2011 because one was away on maternity leave. Had management even bothered to fill her position temporarily, badly needed drivers could have been hired and trained."

Dhillon suspects HSR management is making these public excuses because the Union has notified them it is taking the issue to arbitration. "We put HSR on notice that we want the arbitration hearing to be open to the public, so that the community is aware of this issue," says Dhillon. "Suddenly, HSR is making public excuses for their lack of action. It's appalling."

Management is accountable for the current state of the transit system, says Dhillon. Their failure to act in a timely fashion has caused a lot of hardship for employees and commuters alike. "The very least they could do, is admit they have been delinquent in dealing with this issue," says Dhillon. "Management shouldn't be making up excuses for their lack of action. They should be doing everything in their power to improve the City's vital transit system."
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Last edited by thistleclub; Nov 9, 2017 at 6:52 PM.
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  #2573  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2017, 6:35 PM
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I'm very glad to see ATU107 lighting a fire under the HSR's ass. We're long overdue for a shake up of all the upper management, for both the sake of the employees and customers.
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  #2574  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2017, 7:04 PM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Originally Posted by matt602 View Post
I'm very glad to see ATU107 lighting a fire under the HSR's ass. We're long overdue for a shake up of all the upper management, for both the sake of the employees and customers.
The HSR needs forceful, dedicated advocacy at budget time, each and every year. Chopping heads won't change much if council can't be budged from its historic underfunding of the HSR.

If nothing else, the HSR needs to build its service model on something more realistic than an 8% absenteeism formula that can't be attained without adequate operational funding that isn't being fought for. Garbage in, garbage out.
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  #2575  
Old Posted Nov 9, 2017, 7:16 PM
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City Finally Releases HSR Long, Short-Term Disability, WSIB, and Other Leave Stats
(The Public Record, Joey Coleman, Nov 9 2017)

Following repeated requests from The Public Record, the City of Hamilton released a breakdown of its “19% absenteeism” statistic:
  • Long-Term Disability: 5.5%;
  • Short-Term Disability: 7.3%;
  • WSIB: 2.4%; and
  • Other: 3.8% (includes Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Emergency Leave, Leave w/o Pay).


Read it in full here
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  #2576  
Old Posted Nov 10, 2017, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by thistleclub View Post
City Finally Releases HSR Long, Short-Term Disability, WSIB, and Other Leave Stats
(The Public Record, Joey Coleman, Nov 9 2017)

Following repeated requests from The Public Record, the City of Hamilton released a breakdown of its “19% absenteeism” statistic:
  • Long-Term Disability: 5.5%;
  • Short-Term Disability: 7.3%;
  • WSIB: 2.4%; and
  • Other: 3.8% (includes Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Emergency Leave, Leave w/o Pay).


Read it in full here
Well it isn't people just no showing, but the numbers on disability and WSIB seems pretty high to me. I doubt Dofasco would have these high numbers.
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  #2577  
Old Posted Nov 18, 2017, 4:01 PM
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The latest poll on https://www.thespec.com/

Area rating for transit in Hamilton : Should Hamilton end area rating for transit?

The latest vote @ 11 am 18 Nov.

Yes - 57.4%

No - 42.6%
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  #2578  
Old Posted Yesterday, 2:35 AM
thistleclub thistleclub is offline
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Placeholder reminder that 16 upgraded A & B Line Passenger Amenities (aka Enhanced Bus Stops) were to have been fully installed roughly 4 years ago... thanks to $29.8 million in Metrolinx Quick Wins funding received by the City of Hamilton 9.5 years ago.
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  #2579  
Old Posted Yesterday, 5:04 AM
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Originally Posted by LikeHamilton View Post
The latest poll on https://www.thespec.com/

Area rating for transit in Hamilton : Should Hamilton end area rating for transit?

The latest vote @ 11 am 18 Nov.

Yes - 57.4%

No - 42.6%
City Council voted down Section F, the section which would have studied eliminating Area Rating.

I don't have much hope in these Councilors and the Mayor for voting it down. Especially when their excuse is that they were promised to not touch it 'til next term in return for supporting the LRT.

And Fred Eisenberger lost my support tonight. We need people who will stand up for transit fairness whether it was off-limits as part of a deal or not.
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  #2580  
Old Posted Yesterday, 3:33 PM
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...And Fred Eisenberger lost my support tonight. We need people who will stand up for transit fairness whether it was off-limits as part of a deal or not.
The future of Hamilton's public transit is......bleak.
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