The Public Record – Hamilton’s comprehensive open source news service – hosted a free event on February 5 titled Let’s Talk Transit. It provided an opportunity for guest panelists (pictured) and the audience to discuss the Ten Year Local Transit Strategy developed by City of Hamilton staff and released to the public in draft form earlier this month.
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The expert panelists were Nicholas Kevlahan, a leader in Hamilton’s transit advocacy movement; Jason Nason, animator of @HSRTransit (the unofficial source for information about transit in Hamilton); Terri Wallis, a champion for transit equity in Hamilton; and, Sara Mayo, a social planner and frequent commentator on local transit issues.
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The 90-minute discussion was moderated by Hamilton journalist Joey Coleman, Canada’s first crowd funded civic journalist and founder of The Public Record.
It generated many positive suggestions on how to improve public transit in Hamilton. Here are several examples that gained audience support and could be used to help inform transit deliberations in Hamilton:
Help City Council: Continue to provide our elected leaders with the sound evidence and encouragement they need to make courageous transit decisions that benefit Hamilton as a whole. This includes balancing revenue generation necessary for transit improvements across riders and the municipal tax levy – a service for all Hamiltonians should be supported by all Hamiltonians.
Frame the Value Proposition: Position public transit as a public good – an essential component of our “civic infrastructure” and an enabler of economic development and quality of life.
Provide Adequate Funding: Match or exceed transit investments (short- and long-term) made by comparator cities.
Crowd Source Ideas: Leverage the knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm embedded in our community to generate and help implement ideas on how to improve local transit – business leaders and local employers need to be vocal champions of public transit.
Improve Service Standards: Act on the body of evidence that links improved service standards (coverage, frequency, hours of operation) with increased ridership.
Enhance the Customer Experience: Employ a range of tactics – real time information, attractive shelters, accessibility aids, convenient payment methods, easy intermodal connections, rider safety, express services – to help shift people out of cars and on to public transit. An investment in light rail transit would be a major step forward in enhancing the customer experience. Enhanced marketing, branding and wayfinding were acknowledged as part of the solution.
Learn from Other Communities: Track and learn from other Ontario communities that are excelling in key performance measures, such as rides per capita, modal shift and dollars invested in public transit.
Adjust Parking: Address the fact that in some parts of urban Hamilton one can purchase a monthly parking pass for less than the price of a monthly transit pass.
Business Express: Run a daily express bus that provides a high speed direct connection between Ancaster and downtown Hamilton – an easy way to help get “corporate executive types” riding our buses.
Accelerate Progress: Step up the timetable to shift more people from private motor vehicles to public transit – this will speed up the arrival of higher order transit in Hamilton.
Get Involved: Visit Hamilton4Transit.ca or make your voice heard at the public delegations on the 2015 budget deliberations at Hamilton City Hall on February 24 from 3 pm to 7 pm.