Looking to boost ridership, Hamilton announces enhanced HSR loyalty program that includes free bus fare


Published October 13, 2021 at 4:15 pm

The City of Hamilton is hoping added incentives will boost HSR ridership. (Photo by Anthony Urciuoli)

Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) ridership and revenue have remained below 2019 levels for the past 18 months, due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic. The City of Hamilton expects the trend to continue into 2022, prompting the city to incentivize ridership.

The city announced Wednesday (Oct. 13) that it’s implementing an enhanced loyalty program that allows HSR riders an opportunity to earn free fare faster.

“The pandemic has disproportionately affected vulnerable members of our community,” said Mayor Fred Eisenberger. “By finding innovative ways to make transit more affordable during this time of recovery, we’ll ensure residents continue to have access to reliable and affordable transportation, ease the financial strain and enable greater community participation and connection.”

Effective Nov. 1, customers will earn a free ride after eight in the same week. Prior, riders would earn free fare after 11 rides.

The new loyalty program will be effective until Dec. 31, 2022.

“HSR fare incentives for ridership recovery are vital to the long-term sustainability and vitality of Hamilton’s transit system,” added Maureen Cosyn Heath, Director of Transit, HSR.  “These incentives will help us rebuild our ridership while balancing the needs of our community during this challenging and unique time.”

Additionally, children between the ages of six and 12 will ride free with a PRESTO card as part of a pilot project until Apr. 30, 2023.

To encourage the use of the new HSR myRide on-demand transit service in Waterdown, customers on this route will get receive rides on weekdays in Nov. and Dec. from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. when using PRESTO.


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