Hamilton looks at transit overhaul; extended hours, faster trips, LRT connectivity

By

Published April 3, 2023 at 3:24 pm

hamilton lrt light rail transit bus route hsr blast schedule change macnab terminal eastgate mcmaster mountain ancaster stoney creek west harbour go transit
Hamilton was the first city in Ontario to launch a carbon-negative, natural gas-powered bus in March 2021.

Hamilton’s public works committee unveiled its revamped and overhauled transit strategy on Monday, which includes longer Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) service hours, faster trips with fewer stops, and light rail transit (LRT) and GO Transit integration that would encourage seamless travel.

The report, prepared with the help of McMaster University, provided an overview of what’s being called (Re)envision HSR: (re)Designed Network.

“The purpose of (Re)envision was to redesign the City of Hamilton’s transit network from the ground up to ensure that the network meets the needs of the Hamilton of today and tomorrow, and to have a ‘rail ready’ network structured around the Hamilton LRT,” states the report.

The LRT will run along the Main-King-Queenston corridor through the lower city, from McMaster University to Eastgate Square.

hamilton lrt light rail transit bus route hsr blast schedule change macnab terminal eastgate mcmaster mountain ancaster stoney creek west harbour go transit

The report indicates that the proposed changes are intended to “create a transit network that would help position transit as a preferred mode choice, reducing congestion and car emissions and offering economic benefits to residents through connections to employment.”

Ready for LRT

Under the concept, riders will be able to transfer from bus to rail using six transit routes that will connect to the western terminus at McMaster University and eleven transit routes that will connect to the eastern terminus at Eastgate Square.

Along the LRT line, each of the 15 intermediate stations would feature a connection to at least one HSR transit route.

hamilton lrt light rail transit bus route hsr blast schedule change macnab terminal eastgate mcmaster mountain ancaster stoney creek west harbour go transit

hamilton lrt light rail transit bus route hsr blast schedule change macnab terminal eastgate mcmaster mountain ancaster stoney creek west harbour go transit

Ready. Set. GO.

The proposed transit overhaul would significantly increase connectivity between local and regional transit, as well. Particularly at West Harbour GO and Confederation GO, while service levels to Aldershot GO and Hamilton GO Centre would be maintained.

“This is an important aspect of the new network to support economic prosperity, connecting people to employment and tourism alike,” reads the report.

With GO Transit service frequencies expected to increase significantly in the coming years along the Lakeshore West and Niagara GO Train corridors, Hamilton is expecting to attract even more visitors.

“These increased frequencies will make using transit for certain trip patterns more attractive,” the report explains, “including
GTA-to-Hamilton reverse commutes, Hamilton-to-Niagara commutes, and Niagara-toHamilton commutes, as well as off-peak and weekend trips to and from the GTA and Niagara Region.”

 

The report suggests that these trip patterns have the potential to fundamentally transform travel patterns in Hamilton, and the future local transit network needs to take them into account.

Hamilton’s downtown transit focal point would be shifted from Frank A. Cooke Transit Terminal on MacNab northward to West Harbour GO Station. Staff believes the shift offers significantly more passengers a one-seat ride to connect to GO Train service.

Currently, many customers coming from the Mountain need to transfer to either Route 4 Bayfront or Route 20 A-Line to reach West
Harbour GO. Under the new network configuration, nine of the 12 north-south Mountain routes will make a direct connection to the West Harbour GO station, as well as routes from Ancaster and Stoney Creek Mountain.

Service hours

During the public works consultation process, staff says one of the items that stakeholders consistently raised was the variability in operating hours of the current HSR transit network. Some areas of the city only have peak period service; some areas end at 10 p.m.; and other
areas receive service until 2 a.m.

The proposed changes would include standard operating hours across the board, from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Sunday. The hours would also represent the minimum, not the maximum — meaning hours could be extended further. There have even been discussions regarding 24-hour bus service to and from John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport.

Hamilton’s public works staff will be engaging with the public for the next few months and are expected to report back to council on Sept. 30, 2023.

The (re)Designed HSR Network report can be found online under Section 11, Discussion Items.

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising