Comment 116682

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 01, 2016 at 09:25:04

Excellent article. Similar observations have been made in business magazines, such as The Economist, but it takes a long time for the message to get through. Giving a local, personal perspective is very useful.

I hope Council realizes that excellent transit, pedestrian services, and bike infrastructure are competitive advantages in today's economy. And they are extremely prudent investments in attracting new business since they don't require servicing new greenfield business parks, providing expensive tax breaks and subsidies and taking on new infrastructure burdens.

I hope it helps shift the mentality locally that people who have a choice will always want to drive and encourage council to make the investment required to get us out of the vicious circle argument:

"transit is not a credible alternative > fewer people ride it -> we won't invest in it -> service is poor --> transit is not a credible alternative"

Given the shift away from driving generally in the younger generations it is shocking that HSR has much worse service, fewer buses and drivers than it did 30 years ago when Hamilton's population was much smaller. And it is embarrassing that HSR is seeing essentially no ridership growth when ridership has up to doubled over the last six years in neighbouring municipalities.

LRT will make a huge difference, but Council has to increase their contribution and not just rely on fares and the province to fund improvements. Improving transit would also go a long way to addressing our infrastructure deficit, where road construction and maintenance is by far the largest single expense.

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