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  #1501  
Old Posted Jun 13, 2010, 3:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post
I dunno why they just don't copy the 1981 plan for the mountain access for either BRT or LRT...



Have it elevated and go ground level once at James St and St Joseph's Drive.
For a 1981 plan, that looks kinda sexy if you don't mind me saying. I could see this
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  #1502  
Old Posted Jun 14, 2010, 2:07 AM
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That thing just reminds me of the Detroit people mover. That's definitely not a good thing to be reminded of.
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  #1503  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Reversal of transit fortunes

Declines in gas tax cash, ad revenues stall city budget
June 23, 2010
Meredith Macleod
The Hamilton Spectator
http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/794480

A declining share of the province's gas tax money and a hit to advertising on buses and bus shelters will drive a hole of more than $500,000 through the city's transit budget next year.

"We have pretty significant pressures coming in 2011," said Hamilton's transit director, Don Hull.

In 2010, the province is sharing $316 million in gas tax funding with 93 municipal transit systems. Hamilton got $10.8 million of that. That was down from the $11.1 million the city got the year before.

The city won't know definite numbers until the provincial budget is finalized next April, but it's expected the allocation for 2011 could be down another $300,000.

Along with that, a soft market for advertising is expected to hit the Hamilton Street Railway's ad revenue by about $225,000.

"We're certain the revenue will decline but we're not certain how much," Hull said.

Transit systems nationwide are bracing for the blow but Hamilton is unlucky to also be renewing its 15-year contract for the ads splashed across buses and in shelters next year.

Hull says the province's gas tax allotment formula is also unlucky for Hamilton. The formula weighs population change at 30 per cent and ridership change at 70 per cent in order distribute the two cents a litre of gas tax revenue.

Hull says places such as Toronto, York and Brampton have strong population growth, increasing traffic congestion and have made big investments in transit that immediately boost ridership.

But he argues that if the province looked at returns on investment, Hamilton would rank very well.

"Hamilton's return on investment is as good or better. We're getting new ridership in strong numbers compared to our investment."

In the first quarter of 2010, ridership is up about 1.9 per cent, after a decline in 2009.

Hull says the 2009 gas tax revenue was used to offset a fare increase and to fund $8.1 million in service enhancements -- including more trips on the B-Line and accessible transit and new routes on Rymal, Wentworth and in Waterdown. The remaining $3 million was used to buy buses.

Hull and his staff will present a report to council in August that will outline ways to offset the hits to the HSR's budget for next year.

Councillor Brian McHattie wants to see the $3 million in gas tax money going to capital funnelled into boosting service. He says adding routes and increasing frequency where needed is the best way to grow ridership. "Investments could protect our provincial gas tax money."

He's anxious to see the results of a route rationalization study last year that could point to places to reallocate services.

"There are routes in the Kirkendall neighbourhood that haven't been touched in 30 or 40 years. For instance, you can't go up Dundurn to the Fortinos plaza ... That would drive ridership numbers."

The transit system's overall budget for 201o is $85 million, $43 million of which is paid by Hamilton taxpayers.
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  #1504  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2010, 2:36 PM
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$3 Million Service Improvement Plan

51 University and 1 King - More frequency improvements (Daily)
21 Upper Kenilworth – frequency improvements and new service extension to Heritage Greene (Daily)
10 B-Line – new service hours (Saturday service)
5 Delaware –frequency improvements to Dundas (Daily)
43 Stone Church –new service hours (Weekend)
44 Rymal – new service hours (Weekday)
7 Locke – new service extension on Dundurn (Daily)

Transit Operational Review and Service Improvement Plan
http://www.hamilton.ca/NR/rdonlyres/...it_Operati.pdf
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  #1505  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2010, 10:53 PM
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Looks great to me, especially Saturday B-Line service.
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  #1506  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2010, 10:55 PM
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Hamilton’s transit service being driven off the road
By Kevin Werner, News Staff

News
Aug 19, 2010
http://www.hamiltonmountainnews.com/news/article/217474

Hamilton’s transit is expecting to get a $3 million boost next year that will provide much needed expanded service across the Mountain and throughout the downtown areas.

But Don Hull, manager of transit, said the money, although it’s desperately needed now, is only a drop in the bucket for what the ailing transit system truly has to have over the next few years.

“The sustainability of our program is at risk,” said Hull. “Right now we are keeping our heads above water. We are a shadow of what we had years ago.”

The $3-million proposal was deferred by councillors last week to the 2011 operating budget deliberations scheduled for next year.

The money, if approved, will be taken from the provincial gas tax, which is currently used to buy buses. Hamilton is one of only a few municipalities in Ontario that doesn’t use the money for transit operations.

However, Hull says if the city is serious about preventing its transit service from falling into a hole, councillors should direct at least $30 million over the next five years to meet a target of 320,000 service hours. Ideally, he said, if the city was forced to meet its transit master plan goals, the cost would reach $80 million.

“We have been very fiscally responsible over the last 10 years,” said Hull. “Still, the actual transit service is falling behind.”

Hull said the transit service is overwhelmed because of the rising demand from the frail and elderly users, and the vulnerable, and the outcry over improved and better services across the city.

Over the last 15 years, said Hull, the transit service has also had to deal with higher volumes of traffic, more stop signs and lights, and a unique demographic ridership that has to carry more Hamiltonians out of the city every day, than ferry them in.

“We have not responded to our growth,” he said.

Hull said the transit service has recovered from the pre-recession ridership dip to where the number of riders is about the same as it was two years ago, to the surprise of staff. That has only added to the transit’s service pressures, he said.

“We have different service levels across the community,” he said. “We have not maintained our house.”

With the $3 million in hand, Hull is proposing to add daily service along the University, Delaware and King street lines, introduce a B-line service during Saturday shopping hours to Eastgate Square, add more frequent service into Dundas neighbourhoods during the day and establish bus service along Governors Road on weekends.

Added service to the Meadowlands on weekends between McMaster and the Meadowlands will also be introduced.

There will also be more daily service along Upper Kenilworth, in response to ridership growth along the east Mountain and Heritage Green retail complex, and Rymal Road, and more weekend service along Stone Church during Saturday evenings, along with Sunday and holiday service due to travel demand.


“If you put more service on the street, it will be used,” said Hull.

Meanwhile, Hull said councillors will be reviewing a bus fare policy report to be presented in September that will attempt to prevent the yearly tug-of-war between staff and politicians about whether to increase fares.

Hull said the service remains under constant pressure from higher fuel prices, mounting insurance costs, and increasing salaries. He did not say if staff was recommending a fare increase in 2011.
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  #1507  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2010, 6:49 PM
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Do we have megabus service to Hamilton? I saw a megabus at Main St W near Mac.
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  #1508  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2010, 12:57 PM
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Do we have megabus service to Hamilton? I saw a megabus at Main St W near Mac.
Not to my knowlewdge, I think the megabus only goes to Toronto.
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  #1509  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2010, 4:58 PM
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Not to my knowlewdge, I think the megabus only goes to Toronto.
The Megabus or any Double Decker buses do not fit under the T.H.& B. bridges on James and John Streets. They cannot get into the GO Centre with out having to detour thorough residential areas.
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  #1510  
Old Posted Nov 12, 2010, 3:23 AM
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Presto will be rolled out in Hamilton Feb 2011.
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  #1511  
Old Posted Feb 26, 2011, 12:52 AM
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City eyes more hybrid buses
Wireless electric trolleys possible

By MARK NEWMAN, NEWS STAFF
Feb 23, 2011
http://www.hamiltonmountainnews.com/news/article/230214

Could Hamilton bus riders see a return to electric trolleys in the future? According to Don Hull, the city’s director of transit, the answer could be yes. Hull noted St. Eustache, Que.-based Nova Bus plans to begin offering fully electric buses by 2017 and the city will certainly be looking at that option when it’s time to make its annual bus replacement order.

“All-electric is only a concept right now,” said Hull, who noted that unlike the old trolleys there will be no overhead wires as the buses run on rechargeable battery power.

Nova Bus spokesperson Nadine Bernard confirmed the company is developing an all-electric bus.

“It’s pretty new stuff,” said Bernard, who added the unit cost per bus has yet to be determined.

“We want to be competitive with what’s on the market now,” said Bernard, referring to diesel-electric hybrid buses that cost between $600,000 and $650,000.

Hull said the city replaces about 17 buses in the 220-vehicle fleet each year as they come to the end of their 12-year life span.

The city is expected to spend in the neighbourhood of $9 million on new buses this year.

That includes a $300,000 to $400,000 savings the city will receive as part of the Metrolinx bulk purchasing system that includes 13 other municipalities.

Hull said the province no longer provides a 33-per-cent subsidy cash for new buses.

Transit officials are mulling over whether to recommend that city council purchase diesel buses with electric engine cooling fans or more diesel-electric hybrid buses and add electric fans to the remainder of the diesel fleet.

A report to council is expected this summer.

Hull noted shifting to fans that are run off batteries rather than diesel could save the city up to 30 per cent in fuel costs which translates into about $1.5 million per year.

While a diesel bus with an electric fan could cost as much as $450,000 compared to as much as $650,000 for a hybrid bus, Hull noted the city also has to take into account that hybrid buses require less overall maintenance, particularly for big ticket items such as engines and transmissions and the batteries on the hybrids are lasting longer than the six years originally anticipated.

Hull said that when all costs are considered the hybrid buses are about 10 cents per kilometre less expensive to run than diesel buses.

“It’s safe to say that for 2011, we’ll definitely be recommending a conversion from hydraulic to electric wherever possible and potentially recommending that some or all the replacement fleet be hybrid,” Hull said.

As far as the environment is concerned, Hull noted both kinds of buses have very low emissions.

“Right now … transit only emits one per cent of all (greenhouse) emissions from all sources,” said Hull, who added the days of the big clouds of black smoke belching from bus tailpipes are long gone.

The city began purchasing hybrid buses in 2006 and currently has 28 of them. Twenty-five articulated hybrid buses run between Eastgate Square and McMaster University and between the John C. Munro-Hamilton International Airport and the downtown.

In 2004, city council agreed to begin phasing out natural gas-powered buses.

Even with rising world oil prices, Hull noted, natural gas buses cost about $1 per kilometre to operate as opposed to 80 cents per kilometre for diesel buses.

In addition, Hull noted diesel buses run much cleaner than a decade ago and any move to return to natural gas would mean the city would have to replace the natural gas pumping station at the Mountain transit garage on Upper James.

Hull said replacement parts for the station that was built in the mid-’90s are no longer available and the cost of building a new one would likely be several million dollars.

The HSR fleet includes 75 natural gas buses and 17 of them will be replaced this year.
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  #1512  
Old Posted Apr 5, 2011, 10:56 PM
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Posted on thespec.com today:

Quote:
Bus service to get $3m boost

For the first time in six years, Hamilton will spend its share of the provincial gas tax on beefing up bus service and adding more drivers instead of using it to replace buses.
The $3 million will fund more buses on overcrowded routes, some service expansions to more limited routes, and a restructuring of three outdated routes in the Kirkendall neighbourhood.
“Our most immediate priority is to address overloading,” said Don Hull, city director of transit. “It’s primarily occurring in the corridor between Stoney Creek and Dundas on the King-Main corridor.”
The cash will enhance service on the following bus routes: 51 University, 1 King, 21 Upper Kenilworth, 10 B Line on Saturdays, 5 Delaware, 43 Stone Church on weekends, 44 Rymal on weekdays, and 6/7/8 Aberdeen/Locke/York.
“This is fabulous news,” said Councillor Brian McHattie. “It gives us a chance to increase ridership across the city.” That’s key, he said, because the provincial gas tax cash is based on both population and ridership.
“So, as our ridership declines, as it has the past couple of years, you get less provincial gas tax than you did the year before,” he said. “We need to nip that in the bud and make sure our ridership begins to increase.”
The city will fund bus replacement from its $32-million federal gas tax allotment.
The transit service enhancements were approved by councillors in last week’s general issues committee, but must still be ratified by council later this month. Some of the money will also go to hiring more bus drivers and driver training.
Along with securing more funding, increasing ridership has direct environmental benefits by getting more cars off the road, McHattie said.
“This is something council had delayed twice,” said Peter Hutton, spokesperson for the Hamilton Transit Users Group citizens coalition that advocates for transit.
A lot of this money will go to addressing the overcapacity issues in the system, Hutton said. “That’s things like routes both in the west end of the city and on the Mountain and to a certain extent on the King Street corridor, which, at times, were having trouble maintaining schedule.”
One emerging problem for the city is that bus service improvements are not keeping pace with riders’ expectations. What’s more, Hamilton has the lowest investment in transit service among the seven municipalities in the Greater Toronto Area since the province first began giving out gas tax money for transit in 2005.
According to a staff report, Brampton’s transit service levels between 2005 and 2008 increased 37 per cent, while Hamilton’s declined 2 per cent.
“A bus rider is much more sensitive to the reliability of service than they are to cost,” Hutton said.
Last week, councillors were told that the PGT money funding better bus service means a fare hike will not be necessary this year. However, at a general issues committee meeting Friday, transit officials will present transit fare increase policy that sets out a formula for fare hikes based on a revenue-to-cost ratio.
“In an ideal world, (staff) would prefer that fare increases be used to expand service,” Hull said. “This is a very viable policy, but may not suit our purposes this year.”
How $3m will be spent

Enhancements
21 Upper Kenilworth
More buses to address overcrowding due to new bus pass program with Mohawk College that started in September. HSR has experienced considerable growth in route ridership.
10 B-Line
Extension of express service out to McMaster University and University Plaza in Dundas on Saturdays to deal with insufficient capacity.
5 Delaware
More capacity along Delaware, King and Main routes during daytime to ease overcrowding.
43 Stone Church
Will add weekend service along Stone Church between developing residential areas and the Lime Ridge Mall and Meadowlands transit nodes. Among the top requests for service from the public.
44 Rymal
New Monday-Friday service started last year from Eastgate Square up the Escarpment across Rymal Road to Ancaster Business Park. There has been considerable demand to expand it.
6/7/8 Aberdeen/Locke/York
Current service follows a circuitous route and has not been updated for many years. HSR will realign it, upgrade service along Dundurn and provide direct connection to McMaster University pending discussions with the ward councillor and the public.


Peter Morse, thespec.com
http://www.thespec.com/news/local/ar...o-get-3m-boost
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  #1513  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2011, 12:51 AM
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Posted on thespec.com today:
I am particularly happy about B-line service on Saturdays!
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  #1514  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2011, 1:49 AM
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All of those recommendations sound amazing. I'm very glad to be reading this.
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  #1515  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2011, 11:44 AM
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It's too bad there's no extra money for the College bus, but this is overall great news.
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  #1516  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2011, 2:33 PM
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Glad to hear about a McMaster endpoint for Aberdeen/Locke/York buses.
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  #1517  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2011, 2:53 PM
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It's too bad there's no extra money for the College bus, but this is overall great news.
But there is extra money for the 21, which is a pretty good alternate to the 35. And now the 20 runs through MacNab as well, which is a good stop-gap measure.

Eventually, there will likely be a terminal in that area, so that any of the buses passing by are equally close to the campus. And that should lead to some serious route restructuring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteelTown View Post
Glad to hear about a McMaster endpoint for Aberdeen/Locke/York buses.
The York could cover Dundurn, while the Locke could serve the MIP via the Frid Street Extension, and on to McMaster. Aberdeen doesn't need to change much.

As for the McMaster endpoint... where exactly would it be? There is still no agreement over a terminal location, so nothing is going to be built any time soon.
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  #1518  
Old Posted Apr 20, 2011, 7:26 PM
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Presto will roll out on Hamilton Street Railway buses May 4.

http://hamilton.openfile.ca/hamilton...unch-hsr-buses
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  #1519  
Old Posted Apr 21, 2011, 7:17 PM
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About 2 months behind schedule, unfortunately.
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  #1520  
Old Posted Apr 24, 2011, 6:35 AM
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"For the first time ever, the gas tax rebate will be used entirely on transit". I can't help but think this is a Bratina win.

Last edited by realcity; Apr 24, 2011 at 2:47 PM.
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