Comment 26029

By Dabsweetie (anonymous) | Posted July 21, 2008 at 11:07:23

The real issue here is what do riders want? Most people who use cars now are not really concerned about the bus fares as much as travel time - mind you they don't want to be gouged. At the moment - the buses in Hamilton cannot compete - we don't have a significant amount of traffic congestion and so riding the much slower (and crowded) bus is not attractive - Buses themselves are not attractive. Until we have a system (think LRT) that is fast, efficient and fairly glamourous, don't bet that you'll increase transit ridership by luring those who normally drive. I personally wouldn't use the bus anymore if it were free - I would be tempted to ride on a train. Be cautious about using the word free as well - no matter what, we'll ending up paying for it - and far more than projected figures. It would be nice to offer free transit but how practical is it really? Why would it be fair that Torontonians or people from any other city in Ontario/Canada/the world could ride our system for free yet we have to pay to use their systems. If the province or Feds are kicking in a huge protion of the operating costs than it makes more sense. It wouldn't take long for this to be shot right out of the water once your average, working Hamiltonian realizes that they're paying for anyone at all to ride the buses/trains. I'd like to be able to do that in Toronto where it costs almost $3 one way. How unfair it that? Free transit will never be a reality as long as there are inequities - like the public library system - it's going to have to be free in every city - and perhaps it will require a "transit card", much like a library card, that identifies you as a resident of the city with a permanent address and "user" rights.

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