Special Report: Transit

Affordable, Accessible Public Transit: Keys to Poverty Reduction and a Vibrant Community

Presentation to Committee of the Whole, Transit Budget Hearings: October 29, 2009.

By Tom Cooper
Published October 30, 2009

Members of Council:

On behalf of Chair Mark Chamberlain and the 42 Members of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, I would like to take a few moments to address a critical area of concern for low income Hamiltonians: access to affordable public transit in Hamilton.

As you are aware, The Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction came together with support from the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton Community Foundation and involved a diverse partnership of leaders in business, the non-profit sector, education as well as individuals who were experiencing poverty. Setting an aspiration of 'Making Hamilton the Best Place to Raise a Child", the Roundtable has focused on changes that would have a long term impact in the lives of children, their families and the community.

The Roundtable has identified root causes that must be addressed in order to continue the process of reducing and eliminating poverty in our community. Addressing affordable housing, food security, income security, safe neighbourhoods and accessible transportation are critical if we are to continue our progress.

Affordable, accessible public transit is an integral part of comprehensive poverty reduction strategy; it is also a key link in building a vibrant community.

Over the past 12 months, Hamiltonians have been hit hard by the economic downtown. While our community was realizing some very real progress in our poverty reduction strategy before the recession hit, the past several months have been extremely difficult.

Low income residents are bearing the brunt of this global recession.

Hamilton's jobless rate is the highest it has been in many years at 9.1 percent. Ontario Works caseloads have risen by close to 23 percent in 2009 and Employment Insurance claims are up 150 percent.

In a few weeks you will receive a very sobering and disturbing report on emergency food bank usage in Hamilton and how families are impacted.

To put it plainly, low income families were the first to feel the impact of the global recession, and they will likely be the last to reap the benefits of a recovery. They are also those who would be most impacted by any decision made today to significantly increase the cost of public transportation.

There are opportunities to mitigate the challenges faced by thousands in Hamilton. The Roundtable believes we all have a responsibility to act, emphasize innovation and build for our community's long term prosperity.

Investing in public transit is not a risk; best practices across the continent and elsewhere have demonstrated that there is a clear link between enhancements to public transit and poverty reduction. Enabling low income residents to participate in community life, maintain attachment to the workplace or travel for essential services or appointments not only enhances community well-being, it provides individuals and families with opportunities to escape the cycle of poverty.

I would like to address three issues for your consideration:

Continuation of the Affordable Transit Pass program

One practical example of Hamilton's commitment to reduce poverty has been the creation of the affordable transit pass. At the request of Council in 2008, the Roundtable convened a community advisory panel to monitor the roll-out of the affordable transit pass.

This advisory committee consisting of Councillor McHattie, City Staff from Community Services Department, the Transit Users Group, Environment Hamilton, the Social Planning and Research Council and the Campaign for Adequate Welfare and Disability Benefits would like to encourage the project's continuation while suggesting a review and potential future expansion of the program.

The principal barrier to community inclusion is a lack of affordable transportation. Other municipalities seem to agree and like Hamilton, have implemented low-income transit pass programs .

Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Regina, Brandon, Waterloo Region and Ottawa, for example, all offer discounted transit passes for low-income people, thereby assisting low income people to access education, skills training and employment, buy groceries and other essentials, volunteer, attend medical appointments and places of worship, take their children to recreational activities and enjoy the many opportunities that their municipalities have to offer

We know there are 26,000 individuals in Hamilton who go to work every day or perhaps work several part time jobs and yet still live in poverty; we also know there are hundreds of individuals who are currently in receipt of Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program who are earning some modest employment income.

The fact remains that the majority of those individuals are not making use of this program and we believe we need to better understand why. We have also heard that a pass system may not be the most feasible use of resources, but that other alternatives should be considered. As such we would propose the following recommendations:

Recommendations:

Low Income Hamiltonians do not have the financial capacity to cope with another fare increase

The Roundtable is also very concerned about the recommendations around the potential for the third transit fare increase in as many years.

Hamilton's lowest income residents - particularly those who do not work and do not have access to the affordable transit pass do not have the capacity to endure another cost increase. Fewer will ride the bus resulting in fewer trips and move the City away from its strategic goals of increasing transit usage. Some residents will walk to where they need to go, but many others will remain isolated, unable to participate in community life, job searches or trips to medical appointments.

While "bus tickets" are more affordable than cash fares and provide some relief, the Roundtable has heard from many community residents that the availability of those tickets makes them extremely difficult to obtain. Many 'mom-and-pop' corner stores no longer carry tickets.

We have heard tickets are rarely available in many low income neighbourhoods because of the administrative burden to storeowners and the lack of profit in selling the tickets themselves.

The Roundtable is also keenly aware of the current fiscal pressures facing the municipality. The Roundtable has strongly advocated with the provincial government for the adoption of a 'social assistance rates board' which would provide a universal transit benefit to all low income residents in receipt of social assistance, however until that campaign is successful, we strongly urge Council to consider a compromise position on the issue of fare hikes.

Recommendations:

Earmark the Federal gas-tax transfer to HSR service enhancements

The federal gas tax transfer to the municipality comes with few strings attached - although the intention was for improvements to public transit. Many cities have earmarked that transfer directly into service enhancements for their public transportation systems. The City of Hamilton has chosen to dedicate those funds for other purposes.

The Roundtable has been aware for some time of the grave difficulties many Hamiltonians face in moving around this city; those challenges are compounded ten fold for residents living on low and limited incomes.

Poverty reduction and community prosperity are opposite sides of the same coin; in order to build a prosperous community we must be willing to invest in people and that means providing opportunities to move around the city - particularly to maintain attachment to the workforce.

Currently HSR service levels are inadequate to meet the needs of a growing community. Many busses are overcrowded, in other cases routes do not reflect the movement of people to get to their jobs. Many low income residents in areas outside of the 'central City' often feel isolated because they cannot afford private transportation and do not have access to public transit at the times they need it.

Recommendation:

Conclusion

Accessible and affordable public transit remains a priority for low income residents and will be a key link in moving Hamiltonians out of poverty. We must make appropriate investments in the collective interests of our community.

Tom Cooper is the Director of the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction.

57 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 09:56:31

Great article Tom, I think this is one of the best you have done. Thank you to the council members who voted for not raising the fares and thinking about those who struggle.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 10:11:35

Ryan: Yes I noticed that by the votes reoproted in the Spec,

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/articl...

But we must be thankful anyways for the reprieve for the present time.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By pay your own way (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 12:57:20

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By g. (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 14:29:37

i agree with pay your own way, a 20 cent increase in road tolls for the red hill "parkway" is reasonable. no more free rides!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 15:35:45

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Really? (registered) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 15:41:46

I don't agree that Council is delaying the vote --or having a whole new vote-- until next month.

8 Against vs 5 For seems like a fair vote. If those 3 Councillors missed their chance to vote, then that's their problem! They should have been present.

Votes in the House of Commons don't get delayed simply becausec a couple MPs were missing and 'may change the outcome of the vote'. Is it because they know Margaret McCarthy & Lloyd Ferguson will almost certainly vote For an increase!?

Why is this City, and specifically its leaders, so backwards!? Really!?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan is a farmer (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 16:35:53

Ryan >> yesterday the COW considered the fare increase and couldn't agree on an amount.

:)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By g. (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 18:48:58

and i agree with A. smith. we should scrap public subsidies on roads and transportation and let all the poor people without aircraft figure out how to get around on their own. if roads are so important the free market should be able to figure out how to supply them more cost effectively than some government and we can finally lower taxes. people would flock to hamilton if all the roads were private and property taxes were cut by two thirds. then we could all decide if we want to pay to use expensive toll roads or invest in our own helicopters like the non freeloading wealthy. while we are at it we need to figure out how to apply a user fee to those free loading pedestrians using the sidewalks without licenses or insurance as well.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 19:48:43

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By J Morse (anonymous) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 21:08:21

The message in this article is of the utmost importance for our society. What the poorest person has is a measure of our society's wealth. Our compassion instead of greed is what makes every Canadian have access to health care, even the poorest. I'm sure many of us are still proud of this, but consumerism-bred, me-first thinking is taking over. Our embrace of the personal vehicle has allowed us to become insulated and removed from the needs of our fellow humans. We need to change this trend as soon as possible.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted October 30, 2009 at 22:54:04

I think the poor people should rise up and eat A. Smith and if he doesn't like it he should move.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Rich people are evil (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2009 at 15:04:28

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By J Morse (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2009 at 17:42:10

Just in case I was interpreted as guilt-tripping the rich, I'd like to clarify my position relating to my comments above.

I do not consider myself poor or rich. I do not rely on transit. I own a car. I ride a bike. I use transit. I am not alone in that I am willing to share a little of my modest wealth with my neighbors who need it. I know they are not all lazy slouches feeding off the system. Some perhaps are, but who am I to judge. There are far more people with many complicated reasons they need a bit of a helping hand, most of them are not to be blamed or punished for how they became who they are.

I ask those who refuse to acknowledge that needy people deserve some assistance in our society, how do you justify you viewpoint? I believe you are poor in a much more degrading way, you have low moral wealth, and you need help too.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted October 31, 2009 at 18:56:34

What kind of a person looks down their nose at a less fortunate person and condemns them for not being as well off as them? You are an elitist. Where is your compassion for your fellow man? Shame on you and anyone else that thinks their tax money should not be used to help the less fortunate. Ignorant snobs

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted October 31, 2009 at 19:26:57

J Morse >> I am not alone in that I am willing to share a little of my modest wealth with my neighbors who need it.

And if your taxes were cut you could give even more.

>> I believe you are poor in a much more degrading way, you have low moral wealth

If someone can't work because they are severely physically or mentally ill, then they are deserving of assistance from people who are blessed with health, I agree 100%. But for everyone else, they should be forced to pay their own way in life.

For example, if someone wants to collect welfare, they should be required to wash graffiti off buildings, or help a business owner with a part of their business. If they aren't willing to do that, no money.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 01, 2009 at 04:20:15

A Smith writes: For example, if someone wants to collect welfare, they should be required to wash graffiti off buildings, or help a business owner with a part of their business. If they aren't willing to do that, no money.

Well your plan there is already in effect, you know workfare and now they are pushing volunteering, under threat you will be cut off.

For one thing you cannot force civic engagement. There are many out there who are on the system and they volunteer for many things, they are active because they care about making things better in the future.

The problems with workfare are many, for one thing, your rights as a worker are not always taken into consideration, they use the temp companies, which are notorious for stepping on labour rights and your rights under the occupational health and safety act.

So if you are a single person, who has lost their job due to the economy, you could have either rent or mortgage, utilities, phone, loans, insurance and food oosts. How does $572.00 per month cover your bills? How does that help people who are under stress, when these conditions add more stress. You can be cut off at any time. Wages are penalized at 50%, so if your work is sporadic, any wages earned will be deducted, leaving you short the following month of earnings and if you do not get any work hours, well that just leaves you in more dire straits.

Society already sees your vision and it has been in affect since 1995, and it is not working one bit. To be honest I thnk it would be appropriate that you lost your job, you could not find one and be forced into your "beautiful system". I am sure you would love it, eh!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 01, 2009 at 13:36:29

Hamilton has to ask itself another question here: does this city truly want to be one of the things it claims to be-- the best place to raise a child? Does Hamilton want families of limited means to have ways to get their kids to interesting and educational places (the library, etc.)? Does this city want parents to be able to get their kids to regular medical care efficiently, without having to take 3/4 of a day off of work (unpaid) because multiple transfers are needed, and transit slows to a snail's pace outside of rush hour? Does our city want to raise a generation of kids who can have a good level of age appropriate independence? Would they rather condemn them either to relying on parents to chauffeur them around (in the case of the middle class) or to just staying home and letting opportunities go to others with access to cars (in the case of poorer families)?

I spoke about this when I wrote about safe cycling routes. All the points apply to affordable and user-friendly public transit:

http://raisethehammer.org/index.asp?id=9...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By J Morse (anonymous) | Posted November 01, 2009 at 15:28:36

Michelle, I'm afraid when people are against transit they don't see the connection between providing opportunities for others and that it actually helps create less poverty. Your points are valid. Making people think of their children is a good strategy, but as long as THEIR children have opportunities they're ok with not supporting transit. Somehow we must dislodge this mental and moral block.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 01, 2009 at 16:36:29

"Making people think of their children is a good strategy, but as long as THEIR children have opportunities they're ok with not supporting transit. Somehow we must dislodge this mental and moral block." (JMorse, above)

What boggles my mind is that better-off people can't seem to see the immediate and long-term benefits of cultivating independence in their own kids, if it's only their own kids they choose to be concerned about. But I suppose it all hangs together with other ideas they've got about what constitutes a livable, workable city-- and yes, it is a mental and moral block in my opinion as well.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By J Morse (anonymous) | Posted November 01, 2009 at 20:35:48

An interesting description of what has led to this self-centered mindset can be found in 'The Shape of the Suburbs' by John Sewell (2009). The chapter is called 'The Triumph of Suburban Values' I think. The explanation is that the development of sprawl causing increased preference for personal vehicles has modified a large portion of our society's values. The book does help put things in perspective, but provides no silver bullet for change. It's actually a bit depressing, but a very worthwhile read no less.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2009 at 09:37:00

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2009 at 13:39:17

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Meredith (registered) - website | Posted November 02, 2009 at 14:57:51

While I agree with the premise that keeping transit affordable and accessible is a good thing, that only goes so far -- it needs to be efficient and pleasant as well.

Continuing to keep it affordable without working on the latter two means HSR will continue to shoot itself in the foot and decrease ridership - it needs to be very good before a wide section of people will ride it.

What they cannot do is wait until they get a lot of riders and additional fare revenue to make it better when their current practices are driving customers away, and they'd need an insane upswing in numbers for that ever to happen.

That said, the fare increase isn't how I'd finance a better system in the first place, nor is it how the city should base its financing of the HSR.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 02, 2009 at 16:27:24

The federal gas tax is suppose to go toward public transit but the city is diverting it from public transit to the general revenues.

So a the meeting it was reported that 79 million dollars was received and the breakdown was as follows:

18.6 mill went on roads 19.2 mill on the city hall revamp

it was not said where the rest went.

How can we expect the transit system to become better when funds for the purpose are being diverted?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 02, 2009 at 18:45:54

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 02, 2009 at 21:14:44

"While I agree with the premise that keeping transit affordable and accessible is a good thing, that only goes so far -- it needs to be efficient and pleasant as well." (Meredith,above)

Indeed- what seems to happen among the young people of my acquaintance is that they barely put up with the HSR as it is now, and then once they've got the means they get themselves access to a car as quickly as they can.

And, in some ways, who can blame them? I've had high school and university students in our own family using the HSR for almost 10 years now. They've had half-empty buses drive right by them while they waited at the bus stop numerous times (and no, they weren't the B-line- those buses were supposed to stop), and they've been late for school because the bus driver stopped the bus to go get himself a coffee (no, they weren't cutting it close by taking the last possible bus). Trying to do anything like get to a part-time job or study at the library on a Sunday afternoon can take over an hour. What happens? By the time they are in univerdsity, they are at a distinct disadvantage to those students who got a car for a high school graduation present. Sometimes, in their exasperation, the oldest ones cannot wait for the day when they can either buy a car or move back to Toronto.

You can see how the HSR loses riders. You might think they'd want to cultivate some loyalty among the younger generation-- but,no.

Or loyalty among all generations, really. Why have this attitude toward HSR users that they are some kind of aggravation, instead of valuable customers?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By geoff's two cents (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2009 at 00:35:31

I can attest to some of these things as well. Hamilton is the only city I've spent considerable time in where bus drivers will stop whenever they feel like it (occasionally, if I remember correctly, even leaving the buses running) to grab a coffee - even if the bus is completely full.

I also recall a time when a half-full bus drove by the stop by our apartment that we used every day without stopping. The driver was looking down - Our hunch was that he was texting. It just happened to be a day that we had luggage and needed to be downtown in a hurry. . .

Then there is the issue of the disproportionate number of extremely grumpy HSR drivers (Vancouver is my point of comparison) - mitigated, thankfully, by some very nice ones. I recall one especially nasty woman who was very disrespectful to an older woman who did not speak very good English - Her behavior, in fact, was downright racist, and my girlfriend actually complained to the HSR. Obviously, we have no idea whether she was spoken to or not, but she continued to drive the same route (one of the Mac-downtown buses) and continued to be unpleasant.

The moral I took away from the story, for better or worse, was that you'd never get away with this in business. . .

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 05, 2009 at 07:16:58

"...my girlfriend actually complained to the HSR." (Geoff, above)

I've encouraged my kids to do this-- I find the youngest ones reluctant to do so. I think that teenagers really don't think they'll be taken seriously if they do. My oldest, now in his twenties, does take down the number of buses when the driver does something questionable, and does phone it in. Things might change if all of us did that, every time we saw something to complain about.

"The moral I took away from the story, for better or worse, was that you'd never get away with this in business. . ."-- or that you'd never get away with this in Toronto...

A bit off topic (so fade me if you want to): what is it about the psychology of Hamiltonians that makes them think they don't deserve better? Since moving here I've noticed this in different ways-- riders on the HSR, parents with the school board... they just won't stand up and complain the times when they certainly have reason to.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 05, 2009 at 14:16:24

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 06, 2009 at 22:50:28

Hey A Smith

Mistreatment and Neglect of the Poor

Jeremiah 5:28-29 - "They have become fat and sleek. They have also excelled in evil matters. They have not taken up cases, such as the case of orphans, so they might prosper, and they have not defended the rights of the needy. Should I not punish them for these things? [This is] the Lord's declaration. Should I not avenge Myself on such a nation as this?"

Matthew 25:41-46 - "Then He will also say to those on the left, 'Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn't take Me in; I was naked and you didn't clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn't take care of Me'… Then He will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 07, 2009 at 16:33:09

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Dave (anonymous) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 01:23:19

Hi,
The suggestions and plans are looking promising to ensure the poverty reduction.I hope the administration in Hamilton do proper effort in favour of people.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 09, 2009 at 22:00:13

Yes I am in favour of allowing all of those people and the kids starving in Africa to come here to Canada. Furthermore I think the HSR should be free to riders and entirely payed for by taxes from hard working people like you and me. You are very greedy and selfish to put yourself before people less fortunate than you. Reading your posts you display a patronizing superior attitude like you are better than others especially the poor. Right wing conservative religious elitist snob. pig

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 01:43:09

crtsvg >> I am in favour of allowing all of those people and the kids starving in Africa to come here to Canada.

I think that's awesome.

>> I think the HSR should be free to riders and entirely payed for by taxes from hard working people like you and me

Nothing in life is free. For example, what helps a poor person more, teaching them a skill or handing them cash? If you say learning a skill is more valuable, then you begin to understand why giving people free stuff is not a good idea.

In order to learn a skill, a person has to study and work, but the end result is a more independent life. On the other hand, the person who received cash handouts has learned nothing of value and is just as dependent on the generosity of others as when he began.

Bringing this back to the HSR, if you want to make that free for elderly people and physically disabled people, that's perfect. But for everybody else, those who are healthy enough to walk, they should be forced to pay the full cost of operating the service, which would be about double the current fare.

If you think I am mean because I don't want to make people dependent on me, then I guess I'm mean. However, I honestly believe that people are happier when they are forced to work hard.

Ask yourself this question, has anything great ever been created without hard work or suffering?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 04:34:16

No the HSR should be free for everybody entirely funded through taxes, and if there is any money left over riders get a free hot dog and ice cream on Canada Day :)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 04:49:58

Commute Costing More than Just Time

11/10/2009

Here is something for Toronto commuters to think about this morning while stuck in traffic. A report by the O-E-C-D says traffic congestion in the Toronto area costs the country $3.3 billion in lost productivity a year.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says the problems are the result of urban sprawl and decades of underinvestment in public transit by Ottawa.

Transit service in the region has not kept pace with population growth and 70 per cent of commuters depend on vehicles -- one of the highest rates in the organization's 30 member countries.

The result is air pollution, some of the longest commutes among O-E-C-D countries, and ``a direct hit on productivity.''

They suggest toll lanes, local fuel and parking taxes, a congestion charge in the city centre and some fees on major routes in the area to cut down on the congestion.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 07:27:26

"In order to learn a skill, a person has to study and work..." (Asmith, above)

And in order to study and work they have to get to where they're studying and working, quickly and efficiently.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 15:20:34

Comments with a score below -5 are hidden by default.

You can change or disable this comment score threshold by registering an RTH user account.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 10, 2009 at 20:31:27

"I agree, which is why I advocate establishing congestion tolls (variable based on time of day) on highways in conjunction with increasing the speed and frequency of GO Train service so that it becomes a viable alternative to driving." (Ryan, above)

That would certainly be preferable to more tolls and taxes in the absence of any immediate transit improvement. I'll admit (and I know it's a counter-productive inclination) I just have a hard time with consumption taxes on necessities, or on necessary travel routes, because there's no getting around the fact that they are miserable things for people who struggle to make ends meet, who would have to travel via multiple transfers to and from places in the GTA to get to work if they didn't drive because there is no commuter train, period.

It's miserable that poorer people will be made to pay for the way our cities and suburbs have turned out, based on decisions that were made decades ago.

But I'll admit, too, that there's probably no other choice. (For anyone wondering, the comment Ryan was referring to was lost, and what I've just written here pretty much sums what I had said with it)

More generally, partially addressing one commenter above, but also just making an observation: I will be forever mystified by Canadians who consider themselves to be completely self-made, without thinking of all the efforts of a cast of thousands, including taxpayers, that contributed in some measure to their health, welfare and education... (tangential, I know)

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 10, 2009 at 22:30:05

A Smith you should be glad you aren't poor and keep your mouth shut you condescending elitist snob. It's bad enough people are less fortunate than you but for you to look down your nose at them and blame and condemn them is disgusting.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 10:05:22

So the poor get hit again and for what? It is not like their wages or the amounts that they receive from social assistance will go up anytime soon.

So where are the voices from the Poverty Roundtable on this issue? Oh yes, they are no where, as usual, silent, as many of them collect their 100,000 plus salaries, living in luxury while the poor can just walk across the city when they need something.

Can the city please explain why it can afford to pay some people in the bureaucracy over a quarter of a million dollars? Yet the people, those that struggle are left with nothing. There is no justice, there is no reasoning.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Angry (anonymous) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 12:26:00

According to CH, the fares will be raised by 15 cents showing the councils continued disregard for the people they are supposed to represent. Wonder why there was a loss in fare monies laste year? It's because it is already too much for too little! It is absolutely rediculous that the city can hope to help pull people out of poverty or even attempt to be even slightly environmentally sensitive while creating an ever-sprawling city but choking out any opportunties by dumping peoples ability to travel by holding them hostage with ever-increasing fares so they can build yet more roads, destroy more land make rediculous bids for games that will do nothing for the majority and cater to corporate special interest groups. Wanna know why we have no tree protection? Developers did not want it. Wanna know why Aerotropolis is still being pursued? Plenty of developer opportunities. No relief for transit? Corporate leaders would not be caught dead on a bus. This issue not only affects the poor but if given the choice, spending about $5 juswt to go to the mall and back on someone elses schedule where you may have to stand or deal with obnoxious riders, loud children etc. is not very appealing.

But don't worry, a poor desperate workforce is a great attractant for business right? A workforce who either give their paychecks to the bank to cover car payments or for their bus fare. I am sure they will still find a few pennies to buy Pan Am game tickets.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted November 12, 2009 at 13:17:35

But don't worry, a poor desperate workforce is a great attractant for business right?

Especially the kind of businesses our leaders prefer: warehousing and abattoirs.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 02:41:39

Highwater: Speaking of Maple Leaf, I found this article

http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2009/11...

Workers working in the plants, especially those in sanitation, are at high risk of occupational disease, as the chemicals they use cause severe burning rashes which cover their bodies. I know someone who is locked in a battle with the company over loss of job because of this.

It took the worker over two years just to get a grievance in and the company denied this worker access to WSIB.

Makes you think eh?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By TreyS (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 10:22:28

"Actually, the reason council didn't vote for a fare increase is that the councillors couldn't agree on whether to increase fares by 10 cents or 20 cents. :/"

That's hilarious....

just like choosing a location for our PanAm stadium.... it'll end up in Burlington with this council of clowns.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By markwhittle (registered) - website | Posted November 13, 2009 at 11:32:08

The fare increase debate aired on cable 14 and it was stated that there is a multitude of fare subsidy programs available to almost every Hamiltonian that is disadvantaged in some way. Hamilton taxpayers already subsidize public transportation at over 50%, regardless whether they use the service or not. Furthermore, what about the $1.7 million that went missing from the HSR, no wonder fares had to increased? Personally I think they (Council) should make the cash fare $3.00, a Toony and a Loony lets you ride all day. When the odd time arises (car broken down) taking a bus is still cheaper than taking a cab, and not all that bad last time I used public transportation.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 20:21:47

The HSR should be completely funded by tax payers as a not for profit service. Maybe more people would use it and leave their cars at home if this was the case.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 13, 2009 at 20:54:27

crtsvg >> The HSR should be completely funded by tax payers as a not for profit

The money pit known as the HSR should be abolished and people should be forced to pay for their own transportation.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 00:25:34

Poverty is an issue in this community but this is what happens when the workers try to organize and the capitalists get their way.

This is an old song but it is still relevant today, I do hope it makes people think about our society today and why many are falling behind.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIleBDuZi...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Michelle Martin (registered) - website | Posted November 14, 2009 at 15:15:31

'Early this year I reviewed an intriguing book called "Unjust Deserts", by Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly, that explores this very issue in depth..." (Ryan, above)

I have also written about this with a different jumping-off point, and more along the lines of gratitude... http://www.thespec.com/Opinions/article/...

The other thing that many seem to forget as they pat themselves on the back for getting to where they are entirely on their own is that they were also often simply in the right place at the right time-- but I haven't read Malcom Gladwell's Outliers yet.

So, to bring this back to public transportation-- so much of being at the right place at the right time has to do with where you live and what ammenities are immediately available to you, like efficient and affordable transit. So if you're 17 or 18 and your home neighbourhood doesn't have any, too bad for you.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 18:40:43

Michelle >> So if you're 17 or 18 and your home neighbourhood doesn't have any, too bad for you.

James 1;5,6

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he MUST BELIEVE and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind

Matthew 9:27-30

27 As Jesus went on from there, two blind men followed him, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!"

28 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?"
"Yes, Lord," they replied.

29 Then he touched their eyes and said, "According to your faith will it be done to you"; 30and their sight was restored.


If a person can stop worrying about money and rely on God to provide for his/her needs, that person will never be without.
God loves his all of his children and for those who put their faith in him as the sole provider, he will NEVER let them down.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 14, 2009 at 19:49:56

A Smith the HSR makes you what you are today, I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted November 27, 2009 at 19:13:54

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By GWC (anonymous) | Posted November 29, 2009 at 16:52:16

is the HSR under funded or mismanaged i suspect the later

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Angela Browne (anonymous) | Posted December 28, 2009 at 22:58:17

Maybe A Smith could go to his or her doctor and have his doctor write to the Ministry of Transportation to get his license yanked due to some medical problem he or she might have at some point in the future ... and then suddenly be without any transportation and have to spend $70 for a single trip back and forth to work by cab ... and when A Smith finds that unsustainable, he or she tries to find another job, only to be told he or she MUST have a driver's license and a car BEFORE they are even considered for a job ... then see what happens to A Smith when he or she cannot afford to pay his or her rent, or whatever because he or she will have to turn to Ontario Works. Non-drivers are discriminated against, period. Because many employers hold the same elitist, pig-headed attitudes that you do, A Smith.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted January 19, 2010 at 05:33:48

A Smith, your attitude doesn't seem to be very popular...-69 votes. You Suck. You probably voted for Stephen Harper ass. Some day the poor will rise up and eat the rich, I'm gonna eat you first A Smith.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By crtsvg (registered) | Posted January 27, 2010 at 23:43:17

F U A Smith

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds