Fall­ing ridership and LRT

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: HSR ridership declines as ser­vice im­proves (Feb. 1)

An­drew Dreschel’s column de­scrib­ing the in­verse re­la­tion­ship be­tween HSR ser­vice im­prove­ments (up) and ridership (down) re­minded me of a re­cent ar­ti­cle in a Toronto pa­per de­tail­ing a slump in TTC ridership and a con­se­quent short­fall in rev­enue.

The long-term im­pli­ca­tions for Hamil­ton’s pro­posed LRT are dis­turb­ing. Set aside, for a mo­ment, all the costs at­ten­dant upon build­ing the LRT. Once it is up and run­ning, its an­nual op­er­at­ing costs will have to be funded from two sources: ridership fares and mu­nic­i­pal taxes fun­neled through the city’s bud­get.

If tran­sit ridership is cur­rently fall­ing, what makes any­one think that the mere ex­is­tence of the LRT will cause ridership to rise sig­nif­i­cantly enough to off­set its an­nual op­er­at­ing costs?

It seems quite likely to me that mu­nic­i­pal tax­pay­ers will have to foot a large por­tion of the bill for the LRT’s op­er­at­ing costs on an on­go­ing ba­sis. I have yet to see an ar­gu­ment that would per­suade me oth­er­wise. Jim Young, Dundas

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