Transportation

Stop The Transit Increase

By Ryan McGreal
Published March 28, 2007

(This blog entry has been updated.)

It's not too late to stop the transit fare increase.

In yesterday's vote, seven councillors - Sam Merulla, Russ Powers, Chad Collins, Terry Whitehead, Scott Duvall, Bernie Morelli and Tom Jackson - opposed the increase and the other nine supported it.

However, yesterday's vote was not binding. A second vote at the end of the budget deliberations will be final. That gives citizens who support transit a chance to convince at least two councillors to change their mind.

The two most likely candidates are Councillors Brian McHattie (Ward 1) and Bob Bratina (Ward 2). McHattie is a strong advocate for transit and only supported the increase because he believes it's a lesser harm than losing the commitment to give the National Child Benefit clawback monies back to families.

Bratina is also a strong transit advocate, and his constituents include a high proportion of transit riders.

Hamilton doesn't need to choose between offsetting the NCB clawback and maintaining affordable transit. By eliminating area rating, we can preserve both.

Contact Information
Councillor Email Phone
Brian McHattie bmchattie@hamilton.ca (905) 546-2416
Bob Bratina bbratina@hamilton.ca (905) 546-2711

You can also find all the councillors' email addresses here.

Update: This post originally stated that seven councillors voted against the increase and eight voted for it. I neglected to include Mayor Eisenberger, who also voted for it, bringing the total to nine. Therefore, two councillors will have to change their votes to reverse the decision.

Also, I mistakenly wrote that the final vote will be tonight. It seems the final vote will actually be at the end of the budget deliberations.

RTH regrets these errors. -Ed.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By farmer6re9 (registered) - website | Posted March 29, 2007 at 08:47:11

We're gonna have to let this one go, rising prices are an inevitable thing. But I also know barking up the wrong tree let's the cat get away.

What other sources fund the transit system besides the obvious FARES? That question must be examined fully before any real assessment can be made. I recommend to anyone who wishes to take a stand on the issue of fare increase, hop on a bus and begin taking some notes.

As you tour the city pay special attention to the ads/placards inside and outside the bus. See who's shingles are plastered all over bus stops and benches. Write down those observations, then see if you can find out what those contributions amount to.

For example, telecommunications spend millions upon millions in advertising, maybe they could throw transit users a meatier bone, so they can afford to ride the bus and still talk to their phone.

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