Downtown Bureau

Laying the Groundwork for Rapid Transit

It's quite exciting finally to see the future of transit being developed in Hamilton after years of neglect.

By Jason Leach
Published April 10, 2007

Now that Hamilton has brand spanking new buses - a first in Canada, no less - running the #10-Beeline, it seems the perfect chance to look at some simple, yet good, first steps in laying the groundwork for a future Rapid Transit System.

New HSR Articulated Hybrid Bus
New HSR Articulated Hybrid Bus

It was amazing to ride these new buses and see the response from people. Teenagers scrambled to get on and take pictures. Many wanted to sit over the 'bendy' part to see what that was like. All along the trip down King folks on the sidewalk stopped, stared and smiled.

It brought me back to my Portland days when new rail lines and streetcars were actually part of the fun in the city. Ben used to write articles chastising Hamilton for not knowing how to smile, let loose and have some fun. I saw more grins and excited citizens of all ages today than I've seen in a long time.

Let's hope the HSR recognizes this and really begins to ramp up service and introduce new buses such as this into the fleet.

As we've made abundantly clear in previous issues and Hamilton Spectator op-eds, streetcars are the preferred vehicle of choice to be used on the Mac-Eastgate corridor.

Let's leave that alone for now and focus on the rapid bus system that will be needed to augment the streetcar line. These are some initial steps worth implementing very soon and without much additional cost other than new drivers and probably some more of these 60-foot buses.

New Flyer Hybrid Bus, latest design
New Flyer Hybrid Bus, latest design

Obviously, the newly-established rapid transit office will begin work on having traffic signals controlled by buses and adding bus-only lanes.

Also, future purchases of our 60-foot hybrids could be of the newer style (yes, there's already a newer one) being built by New Flyer. This bus has doors on both sides and is more sleek, meant to evoke thoughts of a train or streetcar. And after seeing the gleeful response of citizens today, I'm sure these buses would be a hit.

It's quite exciting finally to see the future of transit being developed in Hamilton after years of neglect. Let's hope this is just the beginning.

Now that's an articulated bus!
Now that's an articulated bus!

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

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By bob (registered) | Posted April 13, 2007 at 22:01:39

Bravo....I hope the powers taht be read your suggestions. This is the kind of approach that is needed to break north american planners out of their doldrums. Who would think that mass transit could be planned to actually serve the populous. How do we get them to listen?

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By deliberatus (registered) - website | Posted April 17, 2007 at 22:55:35

Sometimes government gets it right. sometimes. not usually.

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