Category Archives: News

New articulated HSR buses ordered for 2019

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The City of Hamilton and the HSR have put in an order for more articulated buses.

The order will see eleven new New Flyer XN60 buses added to the fleet. The order is for early 2019 delivery. These buses will replace all of the remaining 0600 articulated buses (6 buses remain) as well as replace five other 40′ buses.

The replacement of standard 40′ buses with articulated 60′ buses will help expand capacity.

Articulated buses are used primarily on routes 1 KING (weekends), 5 DELAWARE (weekends) 10 B-LINE EXPRESS, 25 UPPER WENTWORTH (weekends), 26 UPPER WELLINGTON (weekends) 27 UPPER JAMES, 35 COLLEGE, and 51 UNIVERSITY.  The buses are also typically used on special event shuttles and the TICATS EXPRESS.

HSR testing electric buses

Photo via New Flyer

Photo via New Flyer

The HSR hasn’t had electric buses since the last of the trollies were retired several decades ago, but the transit agency in the City of Hamilton is now testing new electric buses.

Starting this week, the HSR began testing an electric bus, operating on various routes across the city. This model, the New Flyer Xcelsior CHARGE (XE35), is one of three that HSR will be testing over the next few months.

This isn’t the first time the HSR has tested out a new model of bus. It’s common for a transit agency to try out new buses before committing to an order.

“Investigating and testing this new technology is an opportunity for the City of Hamilton to see possible greater potential benefits,” the city said in a media release.  “The possible addition of Electric buses is supportive of the development of renewable resources which support the City of Hamilton’s priorities.”

The electric bus will not be in service, but will instead shadow existing buses on “a proposed itinerary that provides for different route geography, including three different escarpment crossings, long and short-range route options, different spans of operation to test battery drain, as well as reaching as many different areas of the city that residents may benefit from a less intrusive vehicle.”

This could be indicative of parallel testing of new or modified routes.

The test stems from a motion by Mayor Eisenberger March 19, 2018 Public Works Committee meeting directing staff to investigate, and possibly test, electric buses in preparation for future procurement.

Source: City of Hamilton

City to run pilot project putting Wi-Fi on select HSR buses

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The City of Hamilton announced today that they are beginning a new pilot project. The first week of October, the HSR will be conducting a two-month pilot project that will see free Wi-Fi provided on 15 buses, operating on various routes across the city.

Buses will be clearly marked with a Wi-Fi symbol beside the front door and on the destination sign. The inside of the bus will include information posted in the “Take One” slots near the driver explaining how to access the Wi-Fi.

Similar to other areas where the City of Hamilton offers free Wi-Fi, customers will need to accept the Terms and Conditions in order to access Wi-Fi on our buses.

MacNab Transit Terminal Extends its Hours

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The City of Hamilton has announced that the hours for its downtown transit terminal, the MacNab Transit Terminal, will see it’s service hours extended to be consistent with service hours for bus service.

Starting today, Monday September 24th, 2018 the hours will be:

  • Monday – Saturday: 5am – 1:30am
  • Sunday & Holidays – 5am – 12:30am

The new hours add an additional one hour in the morning all week and a half hour later on Sunday evenings to the winter hours. They would have gone into effect on December 1st.

Transit adds crowdsourced real-time @HSR bus locations

Nineteen months ago the developers of the Transit app started generating crowdsourced real-time transit data. That crowdsourced data is a byproduct of the app’s GO feature, Transit’s step-by-step navigator. While GO guides you throughout your journey it also broadcasts your vehicle’s location. That vehicle location data can help other transit riders with up to the second vehicle location.

Typically, transit apps (and riders) get real time bus location information from the City of Hamilton’s transit location data. With a good data feed, real-time locations take 10–30 seconds to update. With a bad data feed, it can take several minutes. It’s why sometimes your phone says a bus is one place, but your eyes say different. This can leave you feeling frustrated and potentially missing your bus.

56 CENTENNIAL to get Riverdale service pilot this fall

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In the fall bus service on route 56 CENTENNIAL will be modified, adding new service area coverage as well as shortening the route length on weekdays.

The Riverdale HSR service pilot will run between September 2018 and the end of April 2019. Ridership will be assessed each month for both the route as a whole and specific to the stops in the Riverdale neighbourhood.

If successful (measured by ridership) the program will continue through summer 2019 with permanent implementation as part of the 10 year transit strategy. If deemed unsuccessful (lack of interest, no or low usage, reduction of ridership, status quo) the program will be assessed to determine if any portion should be retained (frequency or span or Riverdale routing) or if the route should return to the way it was before the pilot.

This change is very similar to one formally proposed to the City of Hamilton by me back in 2014.

HSR offering free rides to Arkells Rally at Tim Horton’s Field on Saturday

The City of Hamilton and the HSR announced today that on Saturday the HSR will offer free rides for ticket holders heading to the Arkells Rally at Tim Hortons Field.

This “ticket to ride” promotion is similar to the existing program which grants Ticats ticket holders complimentary transit service to and from Hamilton Tiger-Cats games on gameday.

Fans can show their ticket to the driver when boarding the bus for a ride to and from the rally. The ticket-to-ride will run from 3:00pm until end of regularly scheduled Saturday service at approximately 2:00am.

Mountain Climber pilot program expanded to Kenilworth and Beckett Drive mountain accesses

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Last night, Hamilton City Council approved an expansion of the Mountain Climber pilot program that allows cyclists to take an HSR bus up or down the escarpment for free.

After a year-long pilot that began in May 2017, Council approved the permanent implementation of the Mountain Climber program on James Mountain Hill (West 5th Access).

Council also approved a second pilot project of the Mountain Climber program on the Kenilworth Access and Beckett Drive (Queen Street). The second phase of the pilot project will also be monitored for one year and staff will report back with recommendations of whether or not to continue in spring 2019.

The Kenilworth Access is served by route 41 MOHAWK while Beckett Drive is served by 34 UPPER PARADISE.

HSR launching new automated Twitter account: @HSRnow

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The City of Hamilton and the HSR announced on Monday that a new automated Twitter account will launch on Wednesday. This new account will be the outlet for service alerts for the transit agency.

The format for the new automated account is similar to that of the Hamilton Fire Department which also sends out automated alerts from dispatch over Twitter through the account @HFD_Incidents.

_20180320_073835The move is a step in the right direction for the transit agency, which has been beleaguered with issues of missing and cancelled buses in light of a manpower shortage. The automation of the new @HSRnow account should also alleviate some of the workload of the person responsible for social media to focus on customer service and not a steady stream of bus cancellations and updates.

The news also comes days after it was revealed that @HSR had blocked at least one citizen run Twitter account, which met with some backlash. The account was later unblocked without explanation.

While the account description for @HSRnow states that the account is not monitored, hopefully every automated tweet is tagged with @HSR. People will invariably reply to these service alerts and doing so will allow @HSR to be notified of replies.

@HSRnow launches on Wednesday.

Notice: Holiday Service Monday for Family Day

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As a reminder, the Hamilton Street Railway will be operating on a holiday schedule for Family Day this Monday. On this date many routes will be operating with reduced frequencies while some routes will not be operating at all.

The following routes will not be in service Monday: