Transit ridership on the east-west route of the LRT line is already high enough to justify the line and will only grow when the LRT line opens.
By Ryan McGreal
Published January 08, 2014
In his State of the City speech today, Hamilton Mayor Bob Bratina claimed that transit ridership needs to grow before it can support the planned east-west light rail transit (LRT) line, which has been approved in principle and is waiting on provincial funding.
This is flatly wrong. According to the 2010 HSR Operational Review, daily ridership on the bus lines along the LRT route already carry 13,000 passengers a day, which is more than enough to justify an LRT line.
If introduced today, LRT between the eastern Sub-Regional Service node (Eastgate) and western Major Activity Centre (McMaster) of the lower City would exhibit ridership performance in the mid-range of existing North American systems, such as San Francisco, Portland and Minneapolis.
Note as well that transit ridership generally goes up significantly once the line is upgraded from buses to LRT, so we can safely predict that ridership would quickly grow much higher than the current 13,000.
The ridership red herring is just one of several discredited myths about LRT in Hamilton that its opponents continue to raise in contradiction with the facts.
Bratina promised in February 2013 to start championing LRT after Council approved the Rapid Ready plan, but then he grossly misrepresented that plan in a disastrous Council meeting that resulted in an integrity commissioner investigation of his conduct.
Bratina's continued stubborn refusal to acknowledge either real case for Hamilton's LRT plan or the mayor's essential role as a political champion threaten to leave Hamilton falling behind cities like Mississauga, whose leaders understand how transformational LRT will be in their economic development and are advocating forcefully for priority funding from the Province.
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