Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The Cost of Taking LRT?

Based on a number of queries we received about what the net cost of a fare will be to a customer who will use LRT in Hamilton, and based on some other concerns regarding hydro rates, we touched base with Metrolinx. Enjoy our chat with them:

Light Rail is largely dependent on hydro. With the increases in hydro costs, some are wondering how this will impact the costs associated with running LRT and whether the increase in hydro costs in Ontario will cause an increase to the price of a LRT fair. Can you comment on this, and are there any plans to mitigate the costing to LRT operations for hydro expenses? If so, how will this take place and for how long?

The project team is currently working in partnership with the local hydro utility (Horizon) to assess power requirements for the project. Final costs, and the impact of those costs on the proposed fare will depend on the results of this work. This will be confirmed through the procurement process to select the proponent that will build and operate the project.

As part of the procurement process, bidders will be required to propose options to reduce energy use both to reduce operating costs and to enhance sustainability.

Most people will appreciate the fact that implementing LRT is a complicated project involving many moving pieces, many infrastructure challenges and many partners in the mix. It is also a multi year endeavor. Regardless, everyday Hamiltonians have a legitimate claim to distilling all that into a simple question: At the end of the day, how much will it cost me to get from McMaster University to Eastgate Square, using a LRT to HSR combination? Has there been any modeling of this cost and if so, can you share a range associated with the fare costs. If that is a cost to be determined by the results of a future RFP process, how can a cost/benefit be projected at the onset, without modeling this cost consideration? In absence of some sense of final costs to the consumer, some may suggest that we are embarking on a large and complicated project, blind to the net impact on the end user. How do you respond to that?

Fare levels have not yet been determined, however both the City of Hamilton and Metrolinx share a common goal of ensuring that transfers between HSR and the Hamilton LRT are seamless and easy.

Decisions on operating and maintenance costs, including LRT fare revenues and fare integration with local transit services will be addressed through the Operations and Maintenance Agreement between Metrolinx and the City of Hamilton. This agreement will be negotiated prior to contract award in 2018.

A business case for the Hamilton LRT was completed by Metrolinx in cooperation with the City in 2010. The final report is available on the Metrolinx website at: http://www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/projectevaluation/benefitscases/Benefits_Case-Hamilton.pdf


  1. fares will increase, likely significantly, and the revenue collected will never be seen again, further skewering any notion that any of this is "free"

    any cost/benefit analysis provided to date, and any sort of projected ridership totals are fantasies imagined by optimistic-or misguided-or willfully misleading types whose anonymous handles will be non responsive once reality dawns.

  2. This makes me nervous.

    Sylvia (the hockey mom)

  3. The province is in the process of electrifying GO trains to improve service times. Yet nobody asks Metrolinx about that forecast, though the system moves around 194,000 riders a day (Centennial GO, which will cost $150 million, is forecast to add another 150 passengers per day to that).

  4. Things cost money. Even Hudak-era Tories supported -- explicitly, during the last election campaign -- "revenue tools", tolls and new taxes to bankroll Mid-Pen/NGTA construction.

    The GO Train network will be entirely electrified by 2024, with the exception of the Aldershot to Niagara line. That will cost money too. Plus $150M for a Centennial GO Station forecast to be used by 150 riders daily.

    Free Agent

  5. The CaptainJanuary 15, 2017

    In one form or another LRT implementation will cost us dearly especially initially and then as the system ages. Governments will play the shell games. Examples- rebate hydro on one hand, and then raise gas on the other. One of the sad lessons learned through the trump experience, is that there comes a time when people say enough's enough. We are at that point. I don't think Wynn stands a chance and I don't think many of our councillors will either when it becomes more and more clear that we really don't have answers.

    Captain Hamilton


  7. if all of this is "free", why would there be any need to charge a fare? Imagine what would happen to ridership totals if this were actually free.
    And whatever happened to "it is LRT or nothing"? It appears the Province can shift gears on the fly, but not those paying the freight?

  8. This is an interesting experiment. People are carrying a lot of financial burden these days. With cost of utilities, for example, costing as much as some mortgages, many people are losing the battle.

    LRT or any other project of that nature, will end up costing us $$$. The free part is limited and will expire as it is being built.

    This is the experiment : can today's people sustain the weight of a huge outward looking investment? Because that's what this is. It is something that may be of real benefit to people in 30 years assuming the population rises. In the shorter run, it will be a burden.

    This question is quite different than the other question of lRT is even the right solution.

  9. The CaptainJanuary 18, 2017

    I got spurs that jingle jangle jingle..oh wait. No I don't

    Captain Hamilton

  10. "...whether the increase in hydro costs in Ontario will cause an increase to the price of a LRT fair. Can you comment on This?

    Single-day passes for a family of four to the 2017 Rockton World Fair starting at $74.95 plus HST. Campbell Amusement officials have refused to offer firm details to the simple question of 2024 family rates despite repeated demands from the general public. Nor have they been able to explain how many ride coupons it will take to board the Cliff Hanger, the Zipper or the Tilt-A-Whirl in 2024 despite the fact that this technology is already antiquated and will inevitably be replaced by autonomous amusement pods within the next 10 years. It's already happening in Las Vegas.

    Carnie Copia


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