Transportation

One More Step Toward Rapid Transit in Hamilton

By Jason Leach
Published August 31, 2009

Hamilton took another small step today towards developing a rapid transit system. The introduction of 18 new articulated buses as well as the new A-Line Express is a good news story in our city.

In the past, Hamilton would go for years without any new initiatives or major announcements from the HSR. Now with a rapid transit office at city hall and the Metrolinx board, we have seen more in the way of transit improvements in the past three years than I can ever remember.

Granted, I'm with the city staffers who suggested implementing new rapid transit lines with a bit of a 'wow factor' involved, as opposed to a partial schedule with long gaps in between buses that the A-Line will have to endure for its first year or two.

Hamiltonians will manage, though. We've become experts at carving out our daily schedules around lackluster transit schedules with our poor GO Train service schedules.

The good news is that the A-Line will become a full transit route in the future. Along with construction of our new transit terminal downtown and some other new initiatives around the periphery of the city, we are seeing some more modest improvements this September as we gradually work towards developing a proper transit system.

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 Really? (registered) | Posted August 31, 2009 at 16:32:51

Will they actually be on the road? Or are they getting the 'look-over' like the cracking B-Line Artic. buses? (I actually heard something snap once while going around the Queenston Traffic Circle).

Hope they got the bugs worked out... the cramp 40ft B-Line buses are getting, well, cramped!

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 31, 2009 at 21:38:37

the new ones are all set for the road. it was the 06 buses that had the problem in the middle. Also, I forgot to mention, but all buses will be equipped with audio stop announcements starting in September. It's about time.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted August 31, 2009 at 22:22:01

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

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By Mad Matt (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 08:50:13

God told me that She prefers it when we co-operate and that this money business flies in the face of everything She stands for.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 13:07:56

Jason said, "the new ones are all set for the road. it was the 06 buses that had the problem in the middle. Also, I forgot to mention, but all buses will be equipped with audio stop announcements starting in September. It's about time."

Good and AWESOME! I don't know why, but I can't wait for the LED Displays/Callouts! I just hope they use a similar voice to the TTC, and NOTHING like the voice of Las Vegas' DEUCE Bus :S

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By Hooligan (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 15:03:27

I'm still bitter that a pissing-contest between McMaster and the city led to the B-Line getting routed off-campus (if I have my facts straight).

I'd still rather wait the extra 5-10 minutes to catch a bus that'll take me to the middle of campus. And given that (at least at the times of day I ride it), the B-Line always seems rather empty compared to the packed 1A, 5C, and 51s, I think other people think the same way.

Too bad they don't have real ridership statistics for students.

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By jason (registered) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 15:15:38

I agree. The B-Line should run through campus. Imagine any other city running a potential LRT line outside of their main university? Only in the Hammer.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 16:01:35

But then the LRT would still have to run along Main St... sooo what's the point!? I was originally against taking the B-Line off campus, still a huge supported of non-rapid lines (1A, 5, etc) to stay on/in/whatever.

To route a Rapid Light Rail vehicle through a campus such as Mac's would not only cause delay, but discomfort as there would be so many twists and turns. The point of Rapid Transit is the 'RAPID' aspect. Plus, the B-Line LRT will stop right infront of University Ave, which is convenient enough.

I think that removing the B-Line was just a precautionary measure so that there isn't a huge backlash for not including LRT on campus when the B-Line "already is".

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted September 01, 2009 at 16:18:43

Really? wrote:

But then the LRT would still have to run along Main St...

The idea is that LRT will start at University Plaza and run east along Main until Paradise, at which point it will cut north to King.

It will then run along King through the downtown and then jump back onto Main where King crosses Main just east of Gage.

Finally, it would continue along Main and then Queenston (after the traffic circle) and end up at Eastgate Square (Queenston and Centennial).

Eastbound and westbound trains would both run side-by-side along the same route in the centre of the road, and both Main and King would be converted to two-way.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 17:02:31

@Really: Hooligan's right. It was a pissing contest that removed the B-line from campus. LRT wasn't even on the radar when they made the decision.

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By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted September 01, 2009 at 20:07:30

Jason, Ryan, how does relying on handouts from successful, wealth producing communities, make Hamilton's economy stronger? Just as muscles atrophy when they are not used, and people get lazy when they are coddled, why would anyone expect Hamilton's economy to become competitive when it never competes.

The only people who ask for handouts are people who are lazy. Lazy people do not build great fortunes, so why does anyone think that accepting handouts will make us better at creating profit making enterprises? Without the stress that comes from competition, Hamilton will never get stronger. Life is fair, you reap what you sow. If you sow hard work and discipline, you reap a bountiful harvest. If sow laziness and sloth, you reap famine and shortfall.

Clue in folks, getting free stuff is not helpful. It only creates dependence and weakness.

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By Update (anonymous) | Posted September 02, 2009 at 17:59:35

This update was in today's Spec re: 2006 articulated buses:


Spectator staff and wire services
(Sep 2, 2009)

Accordion bus repairs going smoothly

The city expects seven articulated buses will be fixed and back on the road on Tuesday.

Don Hull, director of transit, said mechanics have been repairing the accordion-style buses since they were pulled out of service earlier this summer after one vehicle suffered a broken link.

"We're well along in the repairs," he said, noting there was a delay in receiving parts.

Hull said the plan is to have the buses back in operation for Tuesday, which is expected to be a busy transit day as students return to school. The buses will be used on the rapid transit A and B lines.

The problem with the specialized vehicles is not expected to reoccur as the maker, New Flyer Industries of Winnipeg, has upgraded its lubrication schedule, said Hull. New Flyer also paid the city's repair bill.

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By matthewsweet (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 01:08:27

While I don't necessarily agree with A Smith, I don't necessarily disagree with him either, but what amuses me is that his comments are almost universally given the ol' negative score. Maybe he's just a troll, I'm not sure as I haven't read enough of his posts to see if he finds value in anything. But I think there is some validity in what he's saying. In this case, I can't help but think that we'd be better off in this city if we were able to purchase and operate our transit system by ourselves to the standards that most of us who frequent this website would like. Being a charity case for the province isn't an enviable situation. However, its rare (from what I know) for municipalities to be capable of funding advanced transit options on their own, unless they are very large cities.

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By z jones (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 08:25:50

A Smith is a troll, pure and simple. He's a one trick pony that spams every single article on this site with the same crap no matter the topic and there's no point in debating with him because he just trolls along ignoring facts that prove how out to lunch he is. Those down votes ARE responses from people who have learned not to waste there time trying to talk sense with him.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 10:13:23

z jones has nailed it, transitstudent. Like the proverbial stopped clock, occasionally his libertarian dogma has some relevance to the topic at hand, but his self-absorption and belligerence cause people to reflexively down vote him even when his argument has a sliver of merit. To do otherwise would only encourage a destructive troll who has ruined far too many threads on this website.

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By JonC (registered) | Posted September 03, 2009 at 17:06:02

I believe the below is the definitive A Smith

http://www.raisethehammer.org/blog.asp?i...

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 11:48:22

Jason, I stumbled upon some interesting transit data from your dream city. Transit share in Portland has only hovered around 2% since 1980, yet you make it sound like cars don't even exist over there.

So for all the investments made in "smart growth" and transit the market share of people using transit hasn't increased at all and it is a measley 2%.

What do you have to say about this?


www.publicpurpose.com/ut-porshare.pdf

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By JonC (registered) | Posted September 04, 2009 at 16:44:54

Not to speak for Jason, but I'd go with you're misrepresenting what you're presenting.

You state "the market share of people using transit... is a measley 2%"

When in reality, the link you provided very clearly is a market share of the distance driven to get to work. The column on the right specifies work trip market share, which discounts any use for pleasure or trips to schools, etc.

I've never been to Portland or read much about it, but it took about 30 seconds of web searching to find this (which doesn't provide an everything is roses picture if you care to read it)

http://www.movingtoportland.com/portland...

From the 1990 census "Bus commuting grew 41 percent, while the numbers of bicycle riders and people working at home each grew 54 percent - well ahead of the 27 percent growth in people driving alone."

From 2005 data "A larger share of Portlanders commute by bicycle than in any other large city in America, eight times the national average... In June, 2007, the census director was in Portland where he released an analysis of 2005 commuting data. The survey found that 3.5 percent of Portland workers commuted by bike in 2005. Ranking second was Minneapolis at 2.4 percent, then Seattle, at 2.3 percent. The national average for cities with more than 65,000 population was 0.4 percent."

And

"The survey found that 77 percent of Americans drove to work alone, compared with 62.4 percent of Portlanders. In Portland, 13.3 percent of commuters took public transportation, twice the national average, but less than Seattle at 17 percent."

So I would go with they're doing okay. Especially considering the low cost compared to roads.

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By highwater (registered) | Posted September 07, 2009 at 17:34:37

Capitalist wrote:

Jason, I stumbled upon some interesting transit data from your dream city.

Well, I suppose it's not surprising that you 'stumbled upon' these stats on publicpurpose.com, Wendell Cox's anti-Public Transit website. Wendell Cox is a paid shill for the American Highway Users Alliance. He is a fellow of the far-right Heritage Foundation, and has written anti-Public Transit and anti-Rail screeds for the far-right Libertarian Cato Institute. He has fought against LRT proposals in Milwaukee, Chicago, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Seattle, St. Louis, Denver, Dallas, San Antonio, and Auckland, New Zealand.

Trains for America has an expose on him (www.trains4america.wordpress.com/2007/09/09/who-is-wendell-cox), and has produced a response to his anti-Rail arguments(www.cfte.org/images/response_cox.pdf).

The money quote:

"The most important lesson to be gleamed from reviewing Cox's body of work is how factual knowledge is often manipulated and distorted to reflect personal ideology or, more importantly, the funders of his studies. Wendell Cox's work has been pretty much dismissed by both from the left, middle and even right...In every instance, Cox's statements are either inaccurate, distortions or claims not supported by the facts. Cox's technique seems to be to start with a snippet of the truth and stretch it like taffy until it turns into something else that supports his position."

Granted, this is a response to his anti-Rail work. Still, if we are to believe his Public Transit stats on Portland, we must believe that where he has used distortion and manipulation to defend his anti-Rail stance, he has been scrupulously honest in his presentation and interpretation of Public Transit stats.

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By Hearing Voices (anonymous) | Posted September 08, 2009 at 14:44:38

Don't think getting money from the government is the same as getting a hand out. Pretty sure I paid some of those taxes in the first place. Don't see why I shouldn't have a say, then, in how they're spent. If only to be sure I'll have a means to keep paying those taxes.

BTW, you think the voice that will announce stops on the new Hamilton busses might be the voice of god? Hope so. Hate getting off at the wrong stop.

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