Riders held hostage

News Oct 23, 2009 Ancaster News

Re: The politics of delay, Oct. 16 The News.

Every rider of transit, and indeed every resident of Hamilton who surely knows someone who rides, should be incensed that they continue to be held hostage by a city council, and in particular, a mayor, who can't come to terms with the reality of 2009.

We applaud Hamilton Community News for picking up on this issue both in your news columns and editorials.

Yes, it is an important issue. But in reality it is one of those few remaining issues on the table where politicians can refight the city amalgamation issue, play to their constituents and not address the real needs.

It is almost at the point where we have lost count of the number of times council has tried to address this; I think this is the third.

And before that, there was an active lobby to prevent it from getting on the council floor, I would suggest, because council doesn't have the maturity to deal with the issue rationally. It’s disappointing to see the mayor being sucked into this childishness. There has been an entire year in which to consult and nothing was done. Enough already.

The position of our group, has and remains to be, that area-rating of transit should be ended immediately, which is by far the biggest chunk of the area-rated services for the urban area served by the system. Easily defined rural areas without service should, for now, be excluded. These exclusions will cut across old municipal boundaries.

We need to collectively examine a flawed formula that mitigates against proper integration of service, particularly in Dundas and Stoney Creek, but allows access to an entire system for some, while paying well below what would be their fair share. And I am one of them.

Yes, we should carefully examine the costs, which do mean higher taxes in those older suburban areas, but a true examination of the numbers would probably mean perhaps an amount of $10 a month on an average assessed home, more if the house is assessed above average, and less if it is below the average like every other portion of the municipal tax bill.

But what it would also do is create some tax room that might allow expansion of the HSR budget through both added taxes and fares to provide the badly needed investment in service and support services that riders, businesses, employers and community services depend on for access to clean efficient and dependable transit service.

If we want more riders, this is what we must do as a community. Changes could be phased in. But let's get on with it. Check out http://bit. ly/busbuzz.

Peter Hutton, Hamilton Transit Users Group

Riders held hostage

News Oct 23, 2009 Ancaster News

Re: The politics of delay, Oct. 16 The News.

Every rider of transit, and indeed every resident of Hamilton who surely knows someone who rides, should be incensed that they continue to be held hostage by a city council, and in particular, a mayor, who can't come to terms with the reality of 2009.

We applaud Hamilton Community News for picking up on this issue both in your news columns and editorials.

Yes, it is an important issue. But in reality it is one of those few remaining issues on the table where politicians can refight the city amalgamation issue, play to their constituents and not address the real needs.

It is almost at the point where we have lost count of the number of times council has tried to address this; I think this is the third.

And before that, there was an active lobby to prevent it from getting on the council floor, I would suggest, because council doesn't have the maturity to deal with the issue rationally. It’s disappointing to see the mayor being sucked into this childishness. There has been an entire year in which to consult and nothing was done. Enough already.

The position of our group, has and remains to be, that area-rating of transit should be ended immediately, which is by far the biggest chunk of the area-rated services for the urban area served by the system. Easily defined rural areas without service should, for now, be excluded. These exclusions will cut across old municipal boundaries.

We need to collectively examine a flawed formula that mitigates against proper integration of service, particularly in Dundas and Stoney Creek, but allows access to an entire system for some, while paying well below what would be their fair share. And I am one of them.

Yes, we should carefully examine the costs, which do mean higher taxes in those older suburban areas, but a true examination of the numbers would probably mean perhaps an amount of $10 a month on an average assessed home, more if the house is assessed above average, and less if it is below the average like every other portion of the municipal tax bill.

But what it would also do is create some tax room that might allow expansion of the HSR budget through both added taxes and fares to provide the badly needed investment in service and support services that riders, businesses, employers and community services depend on for access to clean efficient and dependable transit service.

If we want more riders, this is what we must do as a community. Changes could be phased in. But let's get on with it. Check out http://bit. ly/busbuzz.

Peter Hutton, Hamilton Transit Users Group

Riders held hostage

News Oct 23, 2009 Ancaster News

Re: The politics of delay, Oct. 16 The News.

Every rider of transit, and indeed every resident of Hamilton who surely knows someone who rides, should be incensed that they continue to be held hostage by a city council, and in particular, a mayor, who can't come to terms with the reality of 2009.

We applaud Hamilton Community News for picking up on this issue both in your news columns and editorials.

Yes, it is an important issue. But in reality it is one of those few remaining issues on the table where politicians can refight the city amalgamation issue, play to their constituents and not address the real needs.

It is almost at the point where we have lost count of the number of times council has tried to address this; I think this is the third.

And before that, there was an active lobby to prevent it from getting on the council floor, I would suggest, because council doesn't have the maturity to deal with the issue rationally. It’s disappointing to see the mayor being sucked into this childishness. There has been an entire year in which to consult and nothing was done. Enough already.

The position of our group, has and remains to be, that area-rating of transit should be ended immediately, which is by far the biggest chunk of the area-rated services for the urban area served by the system. Easily defined rural areas without service should, for now, be excluded. These exclusions will cut across old municipal boundaries.

We need to collectively examine a flawed formula that mitigates against proper integration of service, particularly in Dundas and Stoney Creek, but allows access to an entire system for some, while paying well below what would be their fair share. And I am one of them.

Yes, we should carefully examine the costs, which do mean higher taxes in those older suburban areas, but a true examination of the numbers would probably mean perhaps an amount of $10 a month on an average assessed home, more if the house is assessed above average, and less if it is below the average like every other portion of the municipal tax bill.

But what it would also do is create some tax room that might allow expansion of the HSR budget through both added taxes and fares to provide the badly needed investment in service and support services that riders, businesses, employers and community services depend on for access to clean efficient and dependable transit service.

If we want more riders, this is what we must do as a community. Changes could be phased in. But let's get on with it. Check out http://bit. ly/busbuzz.

Peter Hutton, Hamilton Transit Users Group