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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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Quote:
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 Yesterday, 2:37 PM
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SteelTown SteelTown is offline
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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 Yesterday, 3:11 PM
Beedok Beedok is offline
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Neat.
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