Transit users on road looking for vision

Community Aug 29, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton’s Transit Users Group wants resident to hop on its campaign in search of a vision for transit use in the city.

“What we are trying to do is a call for action and have a public discussion about transit in this community,” said Peter Hutton, a member of TUG.

Transit users have become increasingly frustrated at how the HSR and councillors set “lofty goals” for future expansion of public transit in the city, but stumble later in trying to meet those targets, said Mr. Hutton.

In addition, every budget year, the debate surrounding the HSR is dominated by whether or not to raise fares. As 2010 budget discussions move closer this fall, fare increases will again be at the top of the agenda, he says, overshadowing more important issues, such as transit expansion and adding routes.

Yet public transit supporters should be applauding what has recently occurred with the HSR over the last few years. The provincial government, through its crown corporation Metrolinx, is prepared to fund major transit projects for Hamilton, including expanding its bus lines and advocating a light-rail transit service.

Federal and provincial gas tax funding are also being used to improve the city’s transit routes in Flamborough and on Rymal Road and to purchase more efficient buses and better computer technology.

HSR is also conducting an operational review of its routes and schedules, meaning possible changes could also occur in the future.

The city’s transportation master plan calls for an “aggressive expansion” of the system, boosting the ridership from the current 47 riders per capita, one of the lowest in the province, to between 80 to 100 riders per capita.

“These are exciting times,” said Mr. Hutton. “We are not in this game to make the HSR look bad. We don’t have a disagreement with what the HSR is doing. (TUG)’s proposal is to use its plan in conjunction to what HSR is doing.”

He said the city’s operation review is “limited” based upon number crunching.

Mr. Hutton, who uses public transit, says riders are “very cynical” about the service. Transit drivers, he said, are also frustrated about what type of service HSR is suppose to provide.

TUG’s survey, which can be accessed online at www.hamiltontug.com/vision/survey includes questions about how to improve service; how to increase ridership; the best and worse aspects of the HSR; whether you would pay more for public transit; whether drivers should pay more, through tolls.

“We are collecting people’s stories, trying to reflect what the community is feeling,” he said.

The survey, he said, will be secure, so people won’t feel inhibited about making their feelings known.

The information is expected to be collected and presented both online and at a community meeting sometime in October, said Mr. Hutton.

Transit users on road looking for vision

Community Aug 29, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton’s Transit Users Group wants resident to hop on its campaign in search of a vision for transit use in the city.

“What we are trying to do is a call for action and have a public discussion about transit in this community,” said Peter Hutton, a member of TUG.

Transit users have become increasingly frustrated at how the HSR and councillors set “lofty goals” for future expansion of public transit in the city, but stumble later in trying to meet those targets, said Mr. Hutton.

In addition, every budget year, the debate surrounding the HSR is dominated by whether or not to raise fares. As 2010 budget discussions move closer this fall, fare increases will again be at the top of the agenda, he says, overshadowing more important issues, such as transit expansion and adding routes.

Yet public transit supporters should be applauding what has recently occurred with the HSR over the last few years. The provincial government, through its crown corporation Metrolinx, is prepared to fund major transit projects for Hamilton, including expanding its bus lines and advocating a light-rail transit service.

Federal and provincial gas tax funding are also being used to improve the city’s transit routes in Flamborough and on Rymal Road and to purchase more efficient buses and better computer technology.

HSR is also conducting an operational review of its routes and schedules, meaning possible changes could also occur in the future.

The city’s transportation master plan calls for an “aggressive expansion” of the system, boosting the ridership from the current 47 riders per capita, one of the lowest in the province, to between 80 to 100 riders per capita.

“These are exciting times,” said Mr. Hutton. “We are not in this game to make the HSR look bad. We don’t have a disagreement with what the HSR is doing. (TUG)’s proposal is to use its plan in conjunction to what HSR is doing.”

He said the city’s operation review is “limited” based upon number crunching.

Mr. Hutton, who uses public transit, says riders are “very cynical” about the service. Transit drivers, he said, are also frustrated about what type of service HSR is suppose to provide.

TUG’s survey, which can be accessed online at www.hamiltontug.com/vision/survey includes questions about how to improve service; how to increase ridership; the best and worse aspects of the HSR; whether you would pay more for public transit; whether drivers should pay more, through tolls.

“We are collecting people’s stories, trying to reflect what the community is feeling,” he said.

The survey, he said, will be secure, so people won’t feel inhibited about making their feelings known.

The information is expected to be collected and presented both online and at a community meeting sometime in October, said Mr. Hutton.

Transit users on road looking for vision

Community Aug 29, 2009 Ancaster News

Hamilton’s Transit Users Group wants resident to hop on its campaign in search of a vision for transit use in the city.

“What we are trying to do is a call for action and have a public discussion about transit in this community,” said Peter Hutton, a member of TUG.

Transit users have become increasingly frustrated at how the HSR and councillors set “lofty goals” for future expansion of public transit in the city, but stumble later in trying to meet those targets, said Mr. Hutton.

In addition, every budget year, the debate surrounding the HSR is dominated by whether or not to raise fares. As 2010 budget discussions move closer this fall, fare increases will again be at the top of the agenda, he says, overshadowing more important issues, such as transit expansion and adding routes.

Yet public transit supporters should be applauding what has recently occurred with the HSR over the last few years. The provincial government, through its crown corporation Metrolinx, is prepared to fund major transit projects for Hamilton, including expanding its bus lines and advocating a light-rail transit service.

Federal and provincial gas tax funding are also being used to improve the city’s transit routes in Flamborough and on Rymal Road and to purchase more efficient buses and better computer technology.

HSR is also conducting an operational review of its routes and schedules, meaning possible changes could also occur in the future.

The city’s transportation master plan calls for an “aggressive expansion” of the system, boosting the ridership from the current 47 riders per capita, one of the lowest in the province, to between 80 to 100 riders per capita.

“These are exciting times,” said Mr. Hutton. “We are not in this game to make the HSR look bad. We don’t have a disagreement with what the HSR is doing. (TUG)’s proposal is to use its plan in conjunction to what HSR is doing.”

He said the city’s operation review is “limited” based upon number crunching.

Mr. Hutton, who uses public transit, says riders are “very cynical” about the service. Transit drivers, he said, are also frustrated about what type of service HSR is suppose to provide.

TUG’s survey, which can be accessed online at www.hamiltontug.com/vision/survey includes questions about how to improve service; how to increase ridership; the best and worse aspects of the HSR; whether you would pay more for public transit; whether drivers should pay more, through tolls.

“We are collecting people’s stories, trying to reflect what the community is feeling,” he said.

The survey, he said, will be secure, so people won’t feel inhibited about making their feelings known.

The information is expected to be collected and presented both online and at a community meeting sometime in October, said Mr. Hutton.