Bus replaces LRT spur line
Province confirms rapid bus line between harbour and airport to displace James Street rail spur
ONTARIO’S RADICALLY REVAMPED rapid transit plan for Hamilton now includes LRT through the lower city and rapid bus service from the harbour to the airport.
But it does not yet include a full funding guarantee — or even a price tag.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced Thursday that a new 16-kilometre bus rapid transit (BRT) line on the A-line will replace a planned two-kilometre rail spur on James Street promised in 2015 as part of a larger $1-billion LRT project.
The change means the main 11-kilometre light
rail transit line planned between McMaster University and the Queenston traffic circle will now go ahead separately from the still unplanned rapid bus service, which is expected to largely follow James Street and Upper James Street.
Del Duca said the province and Metrolinx switched gears because of feedback gathered during public meetings on LRT. “This community … expressed a desire for enhanced rapid transit connections between the lower city and the Mountain,” he said at a Hunter Street GO Centre press conference that attracted a small crowd of LRT supporters — and a few sign-wielding detractors.
It’s not certain what the planned rapid bus service will cost — or even what it will look like, with separated lanes or buses travelling in traffic both possible.
Cutting the A-line rail spur out of the $1-billion LRT budget should save around $125 million, which could help pay for rapid bus service, said Metrolinx community relations director Jamie Robinson.
But he added if the eventual cost of bus service exceeds the money left over in the LRT budget, “various levels of government” will have to discuss making up the shortfall.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger praised the project as a better fit for the city and added he was “hopeful” the LRT budget would cover both projects.
Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announces a 16-kilometre bus rapid transit line during a press conference at the Hunter Street GO Station Thursday.