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