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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

LRT- Answers to Follow

The following questions were posed to City Manager Chris Murray. The reply to the questions was submitted by Kelly Anderson, APR | Manager of Communication; Engagement Light Rail Transit (LRT) on behalf of Mr. Murray:

You recently stated that work on LRT continues, even as the matter is again being discussed at the council level.

1. Given that the planned installation does not go from destination to destination, but rather is a destination to node concept, and given that the first phase of LRT does not proceed to Eastgate, when might the public know the following:

a. How much a fare will cost to from Mac to Eastgate, assuming that there will be a transfer from LRT to busses along that route.

b. Whether there will be a premium attached to traveling by light rail, based on its features.

c. How much faster or slower will traveling by LRT will be, relative to the alternatives.

2. While 1 Billion in provincial funding is a welcome influx of funding, the average Hamiltonian may be wondering how we can make a determination that LRT is the right choice, unless the questions above are known. Do you believe that to be a fair assessment; why or why not?

3. If a premium were to be attached to traveling by LRT based on it being more modern, reportedly faster etc., do you worry that the nature of public transit will cease to be affordable in a city where poverty continues to be a important concern. What measures might be considered to mitigate this?


Reply:

Fare levels have not yet been determined. As part of the project implementation, Metrolinx will work with the City of Hamilton to examine operating and maintenance options. Decisions about who will operate and maintain the LRT – including decisions about fares –are expected to be made over the coming months in conversations between the City and Metrolinx.

In terms of the speed of LRT, a study is ongoing to project travel times and will be shared with the public in September as part of the Environmental Assessment Addendum process. HSR is also working on bus realignment plans and schedules to feed the LRT line.

We are in the first year of an 8-year project and there are many details to be confirmed as we move through the process. This is typical for a major infrastructure project of this magnitude and complexity. We understand that there are a lot of outstanding questions in the community and we will continue to provide the most updated information through the LRT Subcommittee of Council as it becomes available.

17 comments:

  1. This only confirms my sense of worry. I do know that complex projects churn out information as time passes, but the types of questions being asked here are proof of concept related questions. How can you possibly go down the LRT route without having a sense for these questions, and a comparative alternative. This strikes me as very irresponsible. 1 Billion or no 1 billion- we should not be throwing money at things that are not understood at a very basic ROI level. I think Skelly and Whitehead are the only ones so far that are acting as true executives and stewards of the public purse.

    Shaking my head
    Sorce

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  2. no reassurances in those responses

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  3. AnonymousJune 15, 2016

    I don't like the "let's wait and see" approach. There is too much at stake. if these questions cant be answered, go with BRT please.

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  4. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

    Re: 1 (a), 1 (b) The sense of urgency around having definitive 2024 fare levels is in hand — as posed, less a reflection of the interviewer’s curiosity than a sop thrown to this blog's anti-transit faction — is perplexing. You would quite rightfully feel foolish asking the same question about property taxes, hydro rates, water rates, university tuition, police budgets, etc eight years from now. It’s a line of questioning that mimics earnest concern but which, in view of the facts, is revealed to be a red herring.

    Respectfully, this is an overblown concern, if not an absolutely absurd one.

    As Mr. Murray notes, Metrolinx’s Fare Integration plan in question is in progress and the City of Hamilton is an active participant in that policy development. Metrolinx is slated to report on its municipal consultation this month, and the policy development will continue through the end of the year. That none of the participants can tell you how much it will cost to take the bus eight years from now can hardly be considered a failing. It is a logical inevitability based on a well-publicized and public process.

    Can your local gas station attendant tell you how much gas will be by the end of the day? Do you know how much tickets will be the next time your favourite band plays Hamilton? Can your grocer tell you how much it will cost to buy a dozen strip loins in Summer 2017? Do you know what your property taxes will be under the next term of council? I suspect not. And yet life goes on. The arctic is slated to be ice-free this summer for the first time in 100,000 years, but people are still making babies. Waiting a few months to learn more about bus fare policy seems like small potatoes.

    Here's what we do know. We know that the average adult cash fare across the GTHA is currently $3.50. We know that the HSR’s fares are the lowest in the GTHA and that, per the Ten Year Transit Strategy, they are scheduled to rise to $3.10 by September 2018, but we don't know about definitive fares after that, and the City/HSR has the prerogative to hike the rates as they see fit. They have in the past and they may well again. (Historically, it’s typically the suburban councillors who drive fare hikes, because they’re trying to insulate their constituents from any tax impact whatsoever.)

    As numerous reports in prominent local and regional media outlets attest, fare integration is a both matter of public record and an ongoing policy development discussion in which GTHA municipalities are active participants. This is all a matter of process, and it is happening whether or not Hamilton sees a cent of this $1B rapid transit investment. The 2010 HSR Operational Review noted that the HSR’s average fare level was around 25% lower than its peer group average. The 75 cent discrepancy noted above is roughly in line with that — but this is idle speculation. Answers will arrive in time. There is a timeline laid out toward that end. This is more than could be

    If anyone is curious about mechanisms around setting fare levels, you could consult the "Revenue and Service Integration" component of the Memorandum of Agreement, for starters.

    http://www.raisethehammer.org/static/images/lrt_memorandum_of_agreement.pdf

    …or Metrolinx fare integration updates from earlier this year:

    http://www.metrolinx.com/en/docs/pdf/board_agenda/20160210/20160210_BoardMtg_Fare_Integration_EN.pdf

    http://www.metrolinx.com/en/docs/pdf/board_agenda/20160427/20160427_Fare_Integration_Update_EN.pdf

    If you're looking for answers, they are not that difficult to find, and if you’re interested in increasing awareness, you could do worse than a little legwork — especially if you’re planning to bang the ‘due diligence” drum.

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    Replies
    1. As I said, these are proof of concept issues. Your comparison to the price of gas etc. does not make sense in this context.
      Read the reply from this city. They don't know yet. I'll take their response over an anonymous poster.

      Again, I don't think doing this is a good idea and I think BRT is the best alternative. A bus can go anywhere at anytime- provided the routes are planned and rationalized.
      Sorce

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    2. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

      While a bus could go anywhere in theory, in reality B-Line BRT would dedicate them to the B-Line BRT corridor, which would follow the same path, require the same lane allocations and hold to dedicated/shared access as LRT does. Again, in theory you could get more lane kilometers of BRT than LRT, but because the only stretch that has been studied to the province's expectations (eg. BCA, EA, etc) runs from McMaster to Eastgate, that is the only corridor up for consideration. Any extensions, even running west to University Plaza (as the earliest maps had it) would require additional EAs and ridership studies etc. and reapplying for the rescoped project. And the funding line currently ends in 2024. If there's a case for BRT to be anywhere else than King/Main/Queenston, advocates would have produced HSR ridership numbers to spark an intelligent debate, rather than anecdotal FUD and back-of-napkin dreaming.

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    3. I would suggest that constant referral to legitimate concern as FUD is demeaning to many and not helpful in any fashion to civil discourse

      Delete
  5. I would question future costs of taxes before deciding on a house purchase
    There are no answers in any of those links because nothing has been decided.

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    1. Hamiltonian AdminJune 16, 2016

      Agreed. To anon above. Please be careful.

      Delete
  6. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

    I love all the tax crusaders coming out like public transit versions of Cheer Bear, beaming rainbows out of their clenched behinds. History suggests that you want enhanced transit in this context alone — as a filibuster mechanism. Come time to scrap area rating for transit or pay a tax levy and you're back at the sprawl pulpit swearing allegiance to barrels of crude, slapping down transit users as an unwashed caste. You don't really care if transit is convenient until it's politically convenient.

    Ray D. Tutto

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  7. Hamiltonian AdminJune 16, 2016

    Note: Many people are very skilled in provoking others, sometimes outrightly, sometimes under the guise of otherwise legitimate comments. We won't be tolerating this much longer. We will either shut down this post for further comments or begin banning comments outright for repeat offenders.

    This forum is meant for discussion and not for antagonizing others.

    ReplyDelete
  8. AnonymousJune 16, 2016

    3. If a premium were to be attached to traveling by LRT based on it being more modern, reportedly faster etc., do you worry that the nature of public transit will cease to be affordable in a city where poverty continues to be a important concern. What measures might be considered to mitigate this?

    https://www.hamilton.ca/social-services/support-programs/affordable-transit-pass-program

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hamiltonian AdminJune 16, 2016

    Regrettably, we have made a decision to suspend commentary on this thread until later in the day. It takes too much time for our staff to attempt to sift through comments vs. digs and attacks and dig and attacks veiled in comments.

    We hope cooler heads will prevail when we resume. Shoud you have any questions, email admin@thehamiltonian.info We regret the consequences to those who are truly interested in debating this matter in a respectful way.

    The Hamiltonian Admin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hamiltonian AdminJune 16, 2016

      The thread is open again.

      Delete
    2. In terms of the affordable pass program, you are assuming that we will still be able to afford that ongoing. I would not assume that, especially in light of LRT which could very well be a white elephant.
      Sorce

      P.S. Teresa et el. Sorry if I have done anything that would have caused the thread to be closed down. I mean that sincerely.

      Sorce

      Delete
    3. The Hamiltonian AdminJune 16, 2016

      We are not asking for apologies from anyone. We are simply asking that people do not put us in a situation where we have to continuously cull out attacks from valid commentary.

      Thanks for understanding, all.

      Delete
  10. thank you Hamiltonian Admin

    ReplyDelete

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