Transit fare increase still on board

News Nov 05, 2009 Ancaster News

The push to raise Hamilton’s transit fares to counter a

potential million dollar loss this year is expected to be proposed by the

politicians before the next council meeting.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger is seeking a potential compromise that

would raise bus fares by 15 cents rather than the more severe 20 cents. Both

the 10 cent and 20 cent fare increases were turned down by councillors during a

special council session on transit issues last week.

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, one of three politicians

who was absent when the votes on the fare hikes were taken, says he will back

any increase necessary.

“I would support 10 cents, 20 cents,” said Mr. Ferguson.

He would also throw his weight behind a 15 cent compromise

proposal, which he said the mayor was cobbling together to be presented at the

Nov. 11 council meeting.

The main reasons for the increases, he said, is to offset higher

transit expenses, especially the escalating labour and insurance costs.

Director of Transit Don Hull said for the department to meet

council’s impose 2 per cent budget increase, a 20 cent fare increase was

needed. But transit officials were only recommending a 10 cent fare hike, and asked

politicians to refer any capital and operating expenses to the city’s budget

process. A 10-cent fare increase would raise about $1.9 million. Hamilton’s

transit service is projected to lose about $1.6 million this year, and $3.4

million next year.

A 10-cent fare increase would raise cash fares to $2.50, an

adult ticket to $1.95, and an adult ticket to $84.

Hamilton’s cash fare increases shot up between September

2001 and January 2008 from $2 to 2.40. Councillors approved two increases from

$2.55 to $2.40 in less than a year from June 2007 and January 2008.

But councillors listened intently to a number of social

activists that urged the city to refrain from raising fares.

Jessica Dyment and Rose DiGiovani, who teach at risk youth

at St. Thomas More Secondary School on the west Mountain, said their youths are

already missing school, or walking home in the dark because of the current high

fares. Ms. DiGiovani said one youth got frostbite after her 45-minute walk from

school.

“For these youth it is usually a choice between buying a bus

ticket or buying lunch,” said Ms. DiGiovani.

The teachers suggested the city provide weekly bus passes

for unlimited rides to at risk youth. And the city’s summer bus program should

be extended year-round.

A 10-cent fare increase would mean a student ticket would

cost $1.60, and a student past would jump to $68.

Deirdre Pike, Hamilton’s Network for Poverty Reduction, said

raising bus fares will mean more people will shun using transit.

“A bus increase is a tax increase on the poor,” she said.

Tom Cooper, the interim director for the Hamilton Roundtable

on Poverty Reduction, said the city’s low income families and the vulnerable

“do not have the capacity to bear another increase.

“It is the only means for them to get around the city,” he

said.

He pointed out Hamilton remains one of the poorest cities in

Ontario, with an unemployment rate at 9.1 per cent, and where Ontario Works

applications have jumped 25 per cent, and Employment Insurance claims have shot

up 150 per cent.

Both proposals to raise transit fares were lost in 8-5

votes. But along with Mr. Ferguson, Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark and

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy were absent.

Opponents any fare increase were councillors Sam Merulla,

Brian McHattie, Bob Bratina and Bernie Morelli.   

Transit fare increase still on board

News Nov 05, 2009 Ancaster News

The push to raise Hamilton’s transit fares to counter a

potential million dollar loss this year is expected to be proposed by the

politicians before the next council meeting.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger is seeking a potential compromise that

would raise bus fares by 15 cents rather than the more severe 20 cents. Both

the 10 cent and 20 cent fare increases were turned down by councillors during a

special council session on transit issues last week.

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, one of three politicians

who was absent when the votes on the fare hikes were taken, says he will back

any increase necessary.

“I would support 10 cents, 20 cents,” said Mr. Ferguson.

He would also throw his weight behind a 15 cent compromise

proposal, which he said the mayor was cobbling together to be presented at the

Nov. 11 council meeting.

The main reasons for the increases, he said, is to offset higher

transit expenses, especially the escalating labour and insurance costs.

Director of Transit Don Hull said for the department to meet

council’s impose 2 per cent budget increase, a 20 cent fare increase was

needed. But transit officials were only recommending a 10 cent fare hike, and asked

politicians to refer any capital and operating expenses to the city’s budget

process. A 10-cent fare increase would raise about $1.9 million. Hamilton’s

transit service is projected to lose about $1.6 million this year, and $3.4

million next year.

A 10-cent fare increase would raise cash fares to $2.50, an

adult ticket to $1.95, and an adult ticket to $84.

Hamilton’s cash fare increases shot up between September

2001 and January 2008 from $2 to 2.40. Councillors approved two increases from

$2.55 to $2.40 in less than a year from June 2007 and January 2008.

But councillors listened intently to a number of social

activists that urged the city to refrain from raising fares.

Jessica Dyment and Rose DiGiovani, who teach at risk youth

at St. Thomas More Secondary School on the west Mountain, said their youths are

already missing school, or walking home in the dark because of the current high

fares. Ms. DiGiovani said one youth got frostbite after her 45-minute walk from

school.

“For these youth it is usually a choice between buying a bus

ticket or buying lunch,” said Ms. DiGiovani.

The teachers suggested the city provide weekly bus passes

for unlimited rides to at risk youth. And the city’s summer bus program should

be extended year-round.

A 10-cent fare increase would mean a student ticket would

cost $1.60, and a student past would jump to $68.

Deirdre Pike, Hamilton’s Network for Poverty Reduction, said

raising bus fares will mean more people will shun using transit.

“A bus increase is a tax increase on the poor,” she said.

Tom Cooper, the interim director for the Hamilton Roundtable

on Poverty Reduction, said the city’s low income families and the vulnerable

“do not have the capacity to bear another increase.

“It is the only means for them to get around the city,” he

said.

He pointed out Hamilton remains one of the poorest cities in

Ontario, with an unemployment rate at 9.1 per cent, and where Ontario Works

applications have jumped 25 per cent, and Employment Insurance claims have shot

up 150 per cent.

Both proposals to raise transit fares were lost in 8-5

votes. But along with Mr. Ferguson, Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark and

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy were absent.

Opponents any fare increase were councillors Sam Merulla,

Brian McHattie, Bob Bratina and Bernie Morelli.   

Transit fare increase still on board

News Nov 05, 2009 Ancaster News

The push to raise Hamilton’s transit fares to counter a

potential million dollar loss this year is expected to be proposed by the

politicians before the next council meeting.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger is seeking a potential compromise that

would raise bus fares by 15 cents rather than the more severe 20 cents. Both

the 10 cent and 20 cent fare increases were turned down by councillors during a

special council session on transit issues last week.

Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson, one of three politicians

who was absent when the votes on the fare hikes were taken, says he will back

any increase necessary.

“I would support 10 cents, 20 cents,” said Mr. Ferguson.

He would also throw his weight behind a 15 cent compromise

proposal, which he said the mayor was cobbling together to be presented at the

Nov. 11 council meeting.

The main reasons for the increases, he said, is to offset higher

transit expenses, especially the escalating labour and insurance costs.

Director of Transit Don Hull said for the department to meet

council’s impose 2 per cent budget increase, a 20 cent fare increase was

needed. But transit officials were only recommending a 10 cent fare hike, and asked

politicians to refer any capital and operating expenses to the city’s budget

process. A 10-cent fare increase would raise about $1.9 million. Hamilton’s

transit service is projected to lose about $1.6 million this year, and $3.4

million next year.

A 10-cent fare increase would raise cash fares to $2.50, an

adult ticket to $1.95, and an adult ticket to $84.

Hamilton’s cash fare increases shot up between September

2001 and January 2008 from $2 to 2.40. Councillors approved two increases from

$2.55 to $2.40 in less than a year from June 2007 and January 2008.

But councillors listened intently to a number of social

activists that urged the city to refrain from raising fares.

Jessica Dyment and Rose DiGiovani, who teach at risk youth

at St. Thomas More Secondary School on the west Mountain, said their youths are

already missing school, or walking home in the dark because of the current high

fares. Ms. DiGiovani said one youth got frostbite after her 45-minute walk from

school.

“For these youth it is usually a choice between buying a bus

ticket or buying lunch,” said Ms. DiGiovani.

The teachers suggested the city provide weekly bus passes

for unlimited rides to at risk youth. And the city’s summer bus program should

be extended year-round.

A 10-cent fare increase would mean a student ticket would

cost $1.60, and a student past would jump to $68.

Deirdre Pike, Hamilton’s Network for Poverty Reduction, said

raising bus fares will mean more people will shun using transit.

“A bus increase is a tax increase on the poor,” she said.

Tom Cooper, the interim director for the Hamilton Roundtable

on Poverty Reduction, said the city’s low income families and the vulnerable

“do not have the capacity to bear another increase.

“It is the only means for them to get around the city,” he

said.

He pointed out Hamilton remains one of the poorest cities in

Ontario, with an unemployment rate at 9.1 per cent, and where Ontario Works

applications have jumped 25 per cent, and Employment Insurance claims have shot

up 150 per cent.

Both proposals to raise transit fares were lost in 8-5

votes. But along with Mr. Ferguson, Stoney Creek councillor Brad Clark and

Flamborough councillor Margaret McCarthy were absent.

Opponents any fare increase were councillors Sam Merulla,

Brian McHattie, Bob Bratina and Bernie Morelli.