Comment 111929

By mdrejhon (registered) - website | Posted June 02, 2015 at 13:34:02 in reply to Comment 111898

"HSR already has more passengers on buses along the route than Calgary had when they started building their light rail. Yet Hamilton is too small?"

Very good quote, thanks.

Even before hearing this, I thought that the projected transit user increase is an underestimate. B-Line manages 11,000 people while running concurrently with semi-duplicated bus routes, and the B-Line bus stops running in the evenings and does not run on weekends. By reallocating HSR buses to becoming feeders to a very frequent LRT service, and making sure LRT runs predictably (19.5+ hours per day, 365 days a year), I can rely on it and leave my car behind, and stay a 1-car household or even switch back to carsharing (I used to be a carshare member for 8 years in other cities such as Ottawa and Toronto).

I truly think the B-Line LRT could eventually easily exceed projections by a large margin, and possibly go into six figure daily users especially once extended to Dundas and Stoney Creek, extensive north-south bus feeder routes, A-Line interchange, if the LRT is properly done concurrently to all other revitalization efforts. I think a lot of people will be surprised how popular the Hamilton LRT will eventually become, if it's properly implemented. I don't use the B-Line as it doesn't operate during working hours, when I eat at downtown restaurants I take the car, and I have to be designated driver when I go to an Augusta pub. (I'm sure McMaster students visiting Hess would also appreciate the LRT too when it runs late hours or 24 hours). There are people whose 0 annual bus trips would rocket to 10 or 100 bus trips annually, if a 24/7/365 Lower City crosstown BRT/LRT existed (With guaranteed high frequencies).

I think eventual 100,000+ daily passengers could very easily be realistic within a spetacularly-planned and King-routed LRT, and would actually lower Main-King traffic enough to revitalize them as pedestrian/bike friendly streets (and satisfying Mountain with a RHV/LINC lane expansion and the A-Line LRT as a quid pro quo).

I know Toronto former-residents (myself included), who moved here, spoiled by more predictable TTC (even if not perfectly predictable!), who has stories of waiting at a random bus stop only to realize there's no bus ever coming (e.g. waiting for B-Line on a Sunday as an example) and that affects their long term impression of HSR, just getting used to their car realizing how car-friendly Hamilton is, and as a result contributing to Hamilton's congestion.

Certainly, Hamilton bus service can be sometimes good at peak, but then the bus is crowded, can't text on my phone while standing without grabbing a pole, while it's easier to stand on an LRT without grabbing a pole, as they don't swerve and move more predictably, so crowded LRTs (better European-style, preferably not cramped TTC-style) is preferrable to be a standee on, than a standee on a bus during peak periods and event surges. Considering the drinking going on all over Hamilton at these events, improved capacity and convenience that makes them more attractive than taxis or buses, makes a big difference too.

When the last passenger projections for the LRT was done (a modest tripling), I do not believe they fully accounted for latent demand as there's more things to do now downtown during evenings (e.g. Augusta, James restaurants, downtown events) and this is continually improving, and there are multiple theatres and stadiums along the route that current attract drivers because buses chronically overflow during these times or can't trust the route to operate when it's needed. For a King LRT combined with Main 2-way conversion, I fully believe that the LRT projections are actually low.

Comment edited by mdrejhon on 2015-06-02 13:41:47

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