Hamilton transit shifts gears

News Jun 18, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s transit service is slowly gearing up to accommodate passengers in a coronavirus pandemic era.

Starting June 22, transit users will be required to wear masks and beginning July 1, customers can use the front end of the bus to enter and exit, but they will be required to pay a fare for the ride.

Transit Director Debbie Dalle Vedove told councillors at the June 17 public works committee meeting that the city will be launching a communications plan to tell transit users it is safe to travel on a bus again.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that confidence level,” said Vedove.

She said the buses are undergoing extensive cleaning; bioshields are being installed on all 267 buses to protect drivers; and non-medical mask will be required for all passengers, except for people with a medical condition and children under the age of 2.

Staff will examine if the city will provide disposable masks for transit users if they do not have them, she said.

Vedove said it has been a very complex process to order, test and install the new bioshields for the vehicles in anticipation of getting the buses back on the road by the first week in July. She said staff can install bioshields for up to 30 buses per day.

Vedove added that the July 1 startup date will also give the city enough time to sell fare tickets to the public. In March, the city stopped selling tickets. She said the Hunter Street GO station reopened on June 17 to allow the public to purchase tickets.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson encouraged transit staff to accelerate the time to get the buses back on the road.

“Anything we can do to get these things going earlier to get the fare revenue back would be much appreciated,” said Ferguson. “We are losing a lot of revenue. We are staring down a $60-million hole for 2020.”

Transit staff is accelerating bus service after reducing the number of routes, curtailing service times and suspending fares because of the pandemic. The disruption to the service came at an inopportune time since transit was seeing a ridership bump in January and February that was exceeding projections. But since the start of the year, the service has lost an estimated $11.7 million and the number of passengers has plummeted.

In addition, transit’s much-touted (Re)envision campaign — which is being crafted in conjunction with McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics, and had been projected to transform the service to address deficiencies — has been suspended. The final report had been expected to be presented to councillors in March 2020.

“We will continue to work on the (Re)envision program,” she said.

The pandemic also forced the city to delay implementing year five of its 10-year transit strategy that would have added 13 additional buses, hire 35 full-time staff, added 46,000 hours of service and raised the fare by five cents. The total cost of year five was estimated to be over $4.2 million, with the federal government and higher fare revenues covering most of the price tag.

Vedove said there were too many risks to implement the transit strategy this year because of the pandemic.

Postponing the strategy creates an $823,000 savings this year.

This is the second time the city has put the brakes on its transit strategy. In 2017, it delayed implementing the strategy to keep taxes low.

Vedove said the city’s transit funding for next year has already been forwarded to the federal government for approval. And transit projects that had a March 2020 deadline for completion have an extension to July 2021.

Meanwhile, councillors agreed to issue credits to seniors who have annual transit passes and customers who purchased April 2020 monthly passes because they weren’t used during the pandemic. It is expected to cost the city about $66,000.

The city didn’t sell transit passes in May or June.

Hamilton transit delays improvements as it ramps up service in July

News Jun 18, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s transit service is slowly gearing up to accommodate passengers in a coronavirus pandemic era.

Starting June 22, transit users will be required to wear masks and beginning July 1, customers can use the front end of the bus to enter and exit, but they will be required to pay a fare for the ride.

Transit Director Debbie Dalle Vedove told councillors at the June 17 public works committee meeting that the city will be launching a communications plan to tell transit users it is safe to travel on a bus again.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that confidence level,” said Vedove.

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She said the buses are undergoing extensive cleaning; bioshields are being installed on all 267 buses to protect drivers; and non-medical mask will be required for all passengers, except for people with a medical condition and children under the age of 2.

Staff will examine if the city will provide disposable masks for transit users if they do not have them, she said.

Vedove said it has been a very complex process to order, test and install the new bioshields for the vehicles in anticipation of getting the buses back on the road by the first week in July. She said staff can install bioshields for up to 30 buses per day.

Vedove added that the July 1 startup date will also give the city enough time to sell fare tickets to the public. In March, the city stopped selling tickets. She said the Hunter Street GO station reopened on June 17 to allow the public to purchase tickets.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson encouraged transit staff to accelerate the time to get the buses back on the road.

“Anything we can do to get these things going earlier to get the fare revenue back would be much appreciated,” said Ferguson. “We are losing a lot of revenue. We are staring down a $60-million hole for 2020.”

Transit staff is accelerating bus service after reducing the number of routes, curtailing service times and suspending fares because of the pandemic. The disruption to the service came at an inopportune time since transit was seeing a ridership bump in January and February that was exceeding projections. But since the start of the year, the service has lost an estimated $11.7 million and the number of passengers has plummeted.

In addition, transit’s much-touted (Re)envision campaign — which is being crafted in conjunction with McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics, and had been projected to transform the service to address deficiencies — has been suspended. The final report had been expected to be presented to councillors in March 2020.

“We will continue to work on the (Re)envision program,” she said.

The pandemic also forced the city to delay implementing year five of its 10-year transit strategy that would have added 13 additional buses, hire 35 full-time staff, added 46,000 hours of service and raised the fare by five cents. The total cost of year five was estimated to be over $4.2 million, with the federal government and higher fare revenues covering most of the price tag.

Vedove said there were too many risks to implement the transit strategy this year because of the pandemic.

Postponing the strategy creates an $823,000 savings this year.

This is the second time the city has put the brakes on its transit strategy. In 2017, it delayed implementing the strategy to keep taxes low.

Vedove said the city’s transit funding for next year has already been forwarded to the federal government for approval. And transit projects that had a March 2020 deadline for completion have an extension to July 2021.

Meanwhile, councillors agreed to issue credits to seniors who have annual transit passes and customers who purchased April 2020 monthly passes because they weren’t used during the pandemic. It is expected to cost the city about $66,000.

The city didn’t sell transit passes in May or June.

Hamilton transit delays improvements as it ramps up service in July

News Jun 18, 2020 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton’s transit service is slowly gearing up to accommodate passengers in a coronavirus pandemic era.

Starting June 22, transit users will be required to wear masks and beginning July 1, customers can use the front end of the bus to enter and exit, but they will be required to pay a fare for the ride.

Transit Director Debbie Dalle Vedove told councillors at the June 17 public works committee meeting that the city will be launching a communications plan to tell transit users it is safe to travel on a bus again.

“We are doing everything we can to ensure that confidence level,” said Vedove.

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She said the buses are undergoing extensive cleaning; bioshields are being installed on all 267 buses to protect drivers; and non-medical mask will be required for all passengers, except for people with a medical condition and children under the age of 2.

Staff will examine if the city will provide disposable masks for transit users if they do not have them, she said.

Vedove said it has been a very complex process to order, test and install the new bioshields for the vehicles in anticipation of getting the buses back on the road by the first week in July. She said staff can install bioshields for up to 30 buses per day.

Vedove added that the July 1 startup date will also give the city enough time to sell fare tickets to the public. In March, the city stopped selling tickets. She said the Hunter Street GO station reopened on June 17 to allow the public to purchase tickets.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson encouraged transit staff to accelerate the time to get the buses back on the road.

“Anything we can do to get these things going earlier to get the fare revenue back would be much appreciated,” said Ferguson. “We are losing a lot of revenue. We are staring down a $60-million hole for 2020.”

Transit staff is accelerating bus service after reducing the number of routes, curtailing service times and suspending fares because of the pandemic. The disruption to the service came at an inopportune time since transit was seeing a ridership bump in January and February that was exceeding projections. But since the start of the year, the service has lost an estimated $11.7 million and the number of passengers has plummeted.

In addition, transit’s much-touted (Re)envision campaign — which is being crafted in conjunction with McMaster University’s Faculty of Engineering and the McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics, and had been projected to transform the service to address deficiencies — has been suspended. The final report had been expected to be presented to councillors in March 2020.

“We will continue to work on the (Re)envision program,” she said.

The pandemic also forced the city to delay implementing year five of its 10-year transit strategy that would have added 13 additional buses, hire 35 full-time staff, added 46,000 hours of service and raised the fare by five cents. The total cost of year five was estimated to be over $4.2 million, with the federal government and higher fare revenues covering most of the price tag.

Vedove said there were too many risks to implement the transit strategy this year because of the pandemic.

Postponing the strategy creates an $823,000 savings this year.

This is the second time the city has put the brakes on its transit strategy. In 2017, it delayed implementing the strategy to keep taxes low.

Vedove said the city’s transit funding for next year has already been forwarded to the federal government for approval. And transit projects that had a March 2020 deadline for completion have an extension to July 2021.

Meanwhile, councillors agreed to issue credits to seniors who have annual transit passes and customers who purchased April 2020 monthly passes because they weren’t used during the pandemic. It is expected to cost the city about $66,000.

The city didn’t sell transit passes in May or June.