Comment 116689

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted March 01, 2016 at 12:30:30 in reply to Comment 116684

That's a very good point.

At a basic level, LRT will free up buses and drivers that should be used to improve service in other areas. And routes will be reconfigured to work better with the LRT line.

More strategically, the hope is that LRT (100% funded by the Province!) will attract new riders and spur Council to put a higher value and more investment in HSR as the image of transit as a "credible alternative" (to use the Spec's term) improves. It shouldn't be this way, but LRT will likely have this effect.

Of course, there is nothing stopping Council from reversing decades of cuts to bring service levels at least back up to where they were in the 1980s proportional to population. Their current position is to insist all increases in funding come from transit users (via fares) or the Province. This is a failing strategy since fare increases drive riders away and don't produce much net revenue increase and the local transit is really a municipal responsible (and the Province is already investing $1 billion in LRT for Hamilton).

Hamilton could also spend the gas tax money it gets on transit, but since the amount is based on ridership Hamilton is shooting itself in the foot by adopting policies (fare increases before service increases) that reduce ridership.

The Mountain and suburban councillors could easily push HSR to improve service in their wards if they were willing to provide increased funding. But right now they don't see any political payoff in putting more resources into transit.

The biggest obstacle to service improvements outside the "old" city of Hamilton remains area weighting. And this is also something entirely within Council's ability to solve.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-03-01 12:32:15

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