Hamilton city staff say keep King bus lane

An HSR bus on King St, Hamilton; January 7, 2015

The much anticipated staff report on Hamilton’s downtown ‘bus only lane’ pilot project was released Wednesday. And the report is turning out to be as controversial as the project itself.

The 150 page staff report found that ridership along the King Street corridor was up, although it doesn’t say by how much. Transit times have improved. And navigating busses through traffic was much easier.

On the down side, the report says traffic was more congested. Some businesses saw fewer customers. And there was a drop in parking revenue by as much as 70 percent in one area.

Still, the report favours keeping the lane open. That’s not surprising says councillor Terry Whitehead: “I’ve never believed for a moment that the individuals that have been involved in developing this report have been objective. I think they went with the mindset that this is the best thing to do and they try to justify it.”

But Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger who ran on a pro-light rail transit (LRT) election campaign, disagrees: “I’m not surprised that there’s a technical report that says that it’s working. That it has longer term benefits in terms of transit use for the future. At the same time, I think that perception is very strong. And I still worry that council will endeavour to throw the baby out with the bath water because they have a history of a tortured journey in how we got here.”

The report now goes before the general issues committee where the mayor expects it will get a rough ride. And he says unless something drastic changes, council will put the brakes on the controversial dedicated bus lane project.


  1. Does Fred Eisenberger drive through downtown, it is horrible. A five minute has turned into a 20 minute drive. The Downtown core is congested. Also we who stick to the rules wait patiently, while others abuse the system, and it really bothers me when a police officer sees the vehicle in the bus lane and does nothing. I am so glad I have these city people making decisions for us.

  2. “Since the pilot project was implemented in October of 2013, ridership along the King St corridor in downtown Hamilton has risen more than any other route in the city.”


    Well of course ridership has gone up on that route – now ALL of the the Delaware routes barely touch the King routes (I’m specifically speaking of the eastern half which I’m more familiar with), and so those many King (and Main to a lesser degree because of proximity) riders that previously could spread out between a few routes’ buses in less time, now need to cram on over-filled buses after waiting longer! To make it even more enjoyable during inclement weather – there are not as many bus shelters as other cities’ core routes because of the sheer frequency we previously enjoyed.
    First time I experienced the route change was waiting (for what turned out to be longer then I used to) just to have the bus blow past because it was too full, and then having to wait longer for the next one (and the weather was wet and cold for the season too – thankfully I got to one of the few shelter stops and could wait in it for part of the time, before older people needed it more).

    Important to businesses: there are less buses hitting locations going east past Wellington St, and west to the core all the way to John St!

    Do you know how frustrating it is to catch a bus downtown (re the eastern portion of downtown) compared to before the route changes? It was a major upside to living in certain areas when I lived downtown – all of those extra bus options. And when I lived in the east end I used to have options for stopping at certain places and still could catch a bus nearby on my way to/from home.

    The argument is flawed because it doesn’t look at where those riders came from: the area was already serviced and there has been no major change in habitable spaces in the area, there are just less bus routes picking up people = more people on the King routes. Great math people, glad you thought your transit lane “fixed” things for us.

  3. This whole thing is and has wasted a LOT of taxpayers money! Just thinking of the wages of several people gathering to discuss it, make the decision to do it, then the contract and or employees time to build it, then the time and expense to the group who continues to think it’s a good idea – when it’s not and the future wages necessary to “debate” it further and or quash the idea and ultimately remove it!

  4. The bus lane slows car traffic and makes getting through downtown MORE difficult not LESS. It’s just not logical to think using a lane for one purpose alone will make things move more smoothly. The bus lane is a BAD IDEA!

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