HSR articulated bus operating on the B-Line, July 2017, eastbound on Main at MacNab Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

New York City’s subway system is in crisis, with record breakdowns and delays, with the New York Governor declaring a state of emergency for the system.
The union representing workers who operate the system issued a 10 point plan for addressing the problems facing the system. It’s a smart move which generated much media coverage yesterday for the union, and shifted the narrative slightly from the present finger pointing between the State and City.
Many of the fixes suggested are as simple as implementing more preventative maintenance, others are move complex.
While the HSR’s problems are not comparable to the situation in NYC, many issues here relate to maintenance and breakdowns of buses.
Hamilton’s transit union, ATU 107, is presently campaigning to have the HSR operate the planned B-Line LRT. The campaign isn’t gaining the traction it could, as many transit users (this journalist included) do not trust the HSR and City Council to operate transit.
The ATU’s underlying message about ensuring good wages and benefits, reliable service, integration with buses, and good public accountability is lost in the fact that the present HSR isn’t able to manage the HSR as it exists now, let alone a LRT line.
Could launching a plan to fix the current HSR help breath life into the ATU’s LRT campaign? Or would highlighting the many shortcomings of HSR upper management further undermine the LRT campaign?
The reality is the HSR is in crisis, and with some Councillors now openly talking about the HSR’s multi-million dollar deficit, the time for a transit discussion has arrived in Hamilton.
Next year is the municipal election, will anyone lead on transit in 2018?