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10 hours ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

Yes. Better buses last longer and attract ridership. People (citizens) are more important to me than dollars (bureaucrats).

If you aren't a bus fanner, you probably won't care if the bus cost $450k or $500k. You probably won't notice any difference unless it was pointed out to you

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On 5/15/2019 at 12:00 AM, Imgursdownvote4love said:

If you aren't a bus fanner, you probably won't care if the bus cost $450k or $500k. You probably won't notice any difference unless it was pointed out to you

Oh no, the reality is, in Hamilton people DO notice the ride and vehicle quality. I read the Spectator and watch CHCH and local news, and you'd actually be surprised that there have been stories about the lesser ride quality of the Novas. Just last week in the Spec, a reader wrote in to comment that the Novas make him "hang on for dear life" as he's tossed about on his way to McMaster. Another article spoke of the bad airflow in the summer and how the bumpy ride is making riders sick or wait for the next bus.

People notice, and people have suggested they will stop riding HSR if they get the chance.

On 5/14/2019 at 7:18 PM, Chris W said:

1. No it isn't. As I have explained, the fluttering is the CNG pressure release. It has nothing to do with the cooling fans. All CNG powered buses have that.

2. You obviously don't know how a procurement process works.

Nobody cares about procurement. Except maybe some people here. But people do care about the quality of their ride (buses). Procurement is no excuse for half-baked purchases.

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10 minutes ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

Oh no, the reality is, in Hamilton people DO notice the ride and vehicle quality. I read the Spectator and watch CHCH and local news, and you'd actually be surprised that there have been stories about the lesser ride quality of the Novas. Just last week in the Spec, a reader wrote in to comment that the Novas make him "hang on for dear life" as he's tossed about on his way to McMaster. Another article spoke of the bad airflow in the summer and how the bumpy ride is making riders sick or wait for the next bus.

The fact of the matter is that....no, people really don't.

 

They may complain because that's what people do, but ultimately what is far, far, far more important is that the bus arrives when it should, that it has room for them (and preferably a seat), and that it takes them to where they want to go in a timely manner.

 

And before you try to argue against it,  you may want to consider that some of the people here work for the transit agencies in all manner of positions, and deal with exactly the type of things that we're talking about here. And in the grand scheme of things, the type of bus simply doesn't matter.


Dan

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21 hours ago, smallspy said:

The fact of the matter is that....no, people really don't.

 

They may complain because that's what people do, but ultimately what is far, far, far more important is that the bus arrives when it should, that it has room for them (and preferably a seat), and that it takes them to where they want to go in a timely manner.

 

And before you try to argue against it,  you may want to consider that some of the people here work for the transit agencies in all manner of positions, and deal with exactly the type of things that we're talking about here. And in the grand scheme of things, the type of bus simply doesn't matter.


Dan

And yet, riders do care, even if said employees don't care, cause riders AND drivers complain....and put in the time and effort to complian about and avoid HSR (and other agencies). A recent article in the Spec highlighted poor schedules and late/early but never on-time performance according to the writer. Another article from last summer lamented the lack of space and seating, and crowding due to wheelchairs/strollers taking up too much room, over heating, and poor layouts of some 40ft buses (referencing the "newer" buses at the time, being CNG Novas).

In reality, the type of bus does matter to many people, because the bus has to suit the city too, and be attractive to potential riders. The city can't be changed to suit the bus. I personally like driving Novas, but a number of customers have mentioned (particularly older riders), that Novas are too bumpy and wabbling, and that they feel less comfortable because of this. In Hamilton, the roads are AWFUL in some places, and that has nothing to do with NovaBus. With regards to the North American bus market, I still think NovaBus produces one of the best products available. However, in it's current design, other vehicles would better suit Hamilton's current requirements. Politics should not have a roll in bus purchases like it does right now... It's gumming things up, and it's not providing the best value for money to the public.

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We all have our favourites to like and to dislike.  The most comfortable seem to be the new shorter 1840-series, the worst when there is crowding seem to be the NOVAs as they lack horizontal near ceiling handle-bars at the front of the bus; my best rides over the past few months have been 0520 and 0706.  But all that said my favourite bus is the one that is on-time.

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On 5/18/2019 at 2:12 PM, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

Another article from last summer lamented the lack of space and seating, and crowding due to wheelchairs/strollers taking up too much room, over heating, and poor layouts of some 40ft buses (referencing the "newer" buses at the time, being CNG Novas).

This is a problem with all low-floor buses. There's no turning back the clock now. We're stuck with what we have - we might as well make the best of it.

 

On 5/18/2019 at 2:12 PM, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

In reality, the type of bus does matter to many people, because the bus has to suit the city too, and be attractive to potential riders. The city can't be changed to suit the bus. I personally like driving Novas, but a number of customers have mentioned (particularly older riders), that Novas are too bumpy and wabbling, and that they feel less comfortable because of this.

If this was true, than why hasn't there been a huge drop in ridership when the various transit systems get different vehicles?


Oh right. Because it doesn't matter.

 

On 5/18/2019 at 2:12 PM, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

In Hamilton, the roads are AWFUL in some places, and that has nothing to do with NovaBus.

What makes you think that this is specific to Hamilton?

 

On 5/18/2019 at 2:12 PM, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

With regards to the North American bus market, I still think NovaBus produces one of the best products available. However, in it's current design, other vehicles would better suit Hamilton's current requirements. Politics should not have a roll in bus purchases like it does right now... It's gumming things up, and it's not providing the best value for money to the public.

And once again, as has been said by myself and others here - you're quite wrong. It doesn't matter.

 

You can argue this until your blue in the face, but until you provide any empirical evidence to back up your claims, they are going to remain nothing but that - claims. As I wrote before, the people who actually make these decisions do watch this kind of thing very carefully, and time and time again the type of bus simply does not factor into the decision that a potential passenger takes whether they are going to take transit or not. There are far, far, far more important things that people care about before they make that decision.

 

Maybe YOU might make that decision - but if you're on this forum discussing various transit-related subjects, and with far more detail than the general public will ever care about, the fact of the matter is that you are not the target market.

 

Dan

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2 hours ago, smallspy said:

This is a problem with all low-floor buses. There's no turning back the clock now. We're stuck with what we have - we might as well make the best of it.

 

If this was true, than why hasn't there been a huge drop in ridership when the various transit systems get different vehicles?


Oh right. Because it doesn't matter.

 

What makes you think that this is specific to Hamilton?

 

And once again, as has been said by myself and others here - you're quite wrong. It doesn't matter.

 

You can argue this until your blue in the face, but until you provide any empirical evidence to back up your claims, they are going to remain nothing but that - claims. As I wrote before, the people who actually make these decisions do watch this kind of thing very carefully, and time and time again the type of bus simply does not factor into the decision that a potential passenger takes whether they are going to take transit or not. There are far, far, far more important things that people care about before they make that decision.

 

Maybe YOU might make that decision - but if you're on this forum discussing various transit-related subjects, and with far more detail than the general public will ever care about, the fact of the matter is that you are not the target market.

 

Dan

Well, there is an argument to be made that transit vehicles do need to be comfortable and ride well otherwise you do lose discretionary riders.  Any given agency can lose customers between having to endure crappy vehicles or work around crappy schedules or both.  Those arguments  only apply to discretionary riders and the captive market that rides because they don't have a choice takes what they're given, drops their money in the box, and puts up with it.  I don't have any statistical information to fall back on but I strongly suspect the vast majority of Hamilton Street Railway's riders are not there by choice.  HSR has them by the balls and they know it, which means they can take advantage of it and put out whatever pile of junk on whatever schedule and all that's going to happen is some grumbling that they can safely ignore.

Am I happy that this is where the bar for transit in general has settled?  No.  Is it likely to change any time soon?  No.  Are Tom Conway and Dr. Clarence Hirschfeld weeping in the great research laboratory in the sky over the bottom falling out of the idea that things can and should be improved?  Probably.

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1 hour ago, Wayside Observer said:

Well, there is an argument to be made that transit vehicles do need to be comfortable and ride well otherwise you do lose discretionary riders.  Any given agency can lose customers between having to endure crappy vehicles or work around crappy schedules or both.  Those arguments  only apply to discretionary riders and the captive market that rides because they don't have a choice takes what they're given, drops their money in the box, and puts up with it.

Do they need to be comfortable? Sure they do. Why do you think that amenities such as air conditioning have only become prevalent in the past 20 years or so?

 

But do they know, or care, much between two different bus makes and models on the same route? No, they don't. And that's the crux of the argument.

 

1 hour ago, Wayside Observer said:

I don't have any statistical information to fall back on but I strongly suspect the vast majority of Hamilton Street Railway's riders are not there by choice.  HSR has them by the balls and they know it, which means they can take advantage of it and put out whatever pile of junk on whatever schedule and all that's going to happen is some grumbling that they can safely ignore.

I don't know the stats for Hamilton - although there are a couple of members here who may know that information - but in Toronto, that is absolutely not the case. The last set of numbers I saw date back about 10 years, but at that time about 72% of TTC riders had access to a car but chose transit instead. That's a pretty clear signal that the vast majority of riders are not beholden to the system - at least in Toronto.

 

Dan

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The transit markets served by the 905 agencies including HSR are vastly different from Toronto's.

You see train meet service for the Go train stations and outside of that, it's largely captive riders.  Look at the service levels stretched out over huge geographic areas and consider how long and how difficult it is to get from any given point A to any given point B especially when they're not on the same line and there's potentially a large time penalty incurred from transferring between two infrequent routes.  Nobody with a working car in the driveway puts them self through ordeals like that voluntarily so those who can drive do.

The last time I rode. 905 agency, it was HSR a few weeks ago. It was some piece of garbage split level Flyer on the 1 King line that should never have left the garage. The air system leaked like a sieve to the point the front doors didn't work and it didn't get very far from the end of the line before the bus packed it in and they had to unload everyone onto this Flyer artic. Those have always been a hard riding bus in my experience and this thing was positively spine dislocating especially at speed.  There was one spectacular bash and crash as it passed over a bad pothole or something downtown and I think I actually swore out loud at that one along with a few others.

Actually, the whole experience made me really wonder about Hamilton's LRT crowd, how on earth they think this is better than an LRT line.  They're probably the same population segment that's still pissed off about the fact they had to go out and buy a new TV in order to get CHCH in colour.  It will be interesting to see if the ridership statistics and demographic change if/when that LRT line opens, if there is frequent all day service on it.  As for me, why was I riding HSR?  I had stuff to do out there and the truck was in the shop so you have to do what you have to do and you do it.  But when the truck's not in the shop, you think I put myself through that?  Hell no!  And I'm far from the only person who makes that choice when that choice is available.

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5 hours ago, smallspy said:

This is a problem with all low-floor buses. There's no turning back the clock now. We're stuck with what we have - we might as well make the best of it.

 

If this was true, than why hasn't there been a huge drop in ridership when the various transit systems get different vehicles?


Oh right. Because it doesn't matter.

 

What makes you think that this is specific to Hamilton?

 

And once again, as has been said by myself and others here - you're quite wrong. It doesn't matter.

 

You can argue this until your blue in the face, but until you provide any empirical evidence to back up your claims, they are going to remain nothing but that - claims. As I wrote before, the people who actually make these decisions do watch this kind of thing very carefully, and time and time again the type of bus simply does not factor into the decision that a potential passenger takes whether they are going to take transit or not. There are far, far, far more important things that people care about before they make that decision.

 

Maybe YOU might make that decision - but if you're on this forum discussing various transit-related subjects, and with far more detail than the general public will ever care about, the fact of the matter is that you are not the target market.

 

Dan

There won't ever be imperical evidence for a qualitative issue. People ride these buses not because they want to, but because they have no choice... Hence why ridership doesn't tank. But ridership also doesn't really grow, because whoever could CHOOSE to ride a bus, doesn't, BECAUSE of the type of vehicle being uncomfortable, unreliable, and less "convenient" than a car. The research is out there. Comfort/ride-quality is only one of a few factors that influence interest in transit use (hence modifications to vehicle amenities that obviously DO matter). The vehicle does matter, cause if it didn't, it would be so much cheaper to use a bunch of school buses, but then NO ONE would stand for that. I guarantee you, that if city buses got a lot worse, people would start walking. Novas aren't the end of world by any means, but it is a fact that they simply aren't the best option for Hamilton - as they are currently constructed. That is a fact. And people do care.

2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Well, there is an argument to be made that transit vehicles do need to be comfortable and ride well otherwise you do lose discretionary riders.  Any given agency can lose customers between having to endure crappy vehicles or work around crappy schedules or both.  Those arguments  only apply to discretionary riders and the captive market that rides because they don't have a choice takes what they're given, drops their money in the box, and puts up with it.  I don't have any statistical information to fall back on but I strongly suspect the vast majority of Hamilton Street Railway's riders are not there by choice.  HSR has them by the balls and they know it, which means they can take advantage of it and put out whatever pile of junk on whatever schedule and all that's going to happen is some grumbling that they can safely ignore.

Am I happy that this is where the bar for transit in general has settled?  No.  Is it likely to change any time soon?  No.  Are Tom Conway and Dr. Clarence Hirschfeld weeping in the great research laboratory in the sky over the bottom falling out of the idea that things can and should be improved?  Probably.

Exactly what I'm saying ^^^^

35 minutes ago, Wayside Observer said:

The transit markets served by the 905 agencies including HSR are vastly different from Toronto's.

You see train meet service for the Go train stations and outside of that, it's largely captive riders.  Look at the service levels stretched out over huge geographic areas and consider how long and how difficult it is to get from any given point A to any given point B especially when they're not on the same line and there's potentially a large time penalty incurred from transferring between two infrequent routes.  Nobody with a working car in the driveway puts them self through ordeals like that voluntarily so those who can drive do.

The last time I rode. 905 agency, it was HSR a few weeks ago. It was some piece of garbage split level Flyer on the 1 King line that should never have left the garage. The air system leaked like a sieve to the point the front doors didn't work and it didn't get very far from the end of the line before the bus packed it in and they had to unload everyone onto this Flyer artic. Those have always been a hard riding bus in my experience and this thing was positively spine dislocating especially at speed.  There was one spectacular bash and crash as it passed over a bad pothole or something downtown and I think I actually swore out loud at that one along with a few others.

Actually, the whole experience made me really wonder about Hamilton's LRT crowd, how on earth they think this is better than an LRT line.  They're probably the same population segment that's still pissed off about the fact they had to go out and buy a new TV in order to get CHCH in colour.  It will be interesting to see if the ridership statistics and demographic change if/when that LRT line opens, if there is frequent all day service on it.  As for me, why was I riding HSR?  I had stuff to do out there and the truck was in the shop so you have to do what you have to do and you do it.  But when the truck's not in the shop, you think I put myself through that?  Hell no!  And I'm far from the only person who makes that choice when that choice is available.

The improved ride quality of an LRV is one of the key defining factors always touted to improve and draw ridership. That is a strong argument that proves a better, more comfortable vehicle, will get people oit of their car (or truck) more often. And it also proves the average Joe does care about what they have endure to get where they want to go.

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2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

The transit markets served by the 905 agencies including HSR are vastly different from Toronto's.

They are, but they aren't. If we were talking about the US, than yes, I would agree with your statement. But the fact of the matter is that the per-capita ridership of any given town or city in Canada is way, way higher than it is in an equivalent town or city in the US, and it isn't because there are more people on welfare here than there - because that's not the case.

 

2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

You see train meet service for the Go train stations and outside of that, it's largely captive riders.  Look at the service levels stretched out over huge geographic areas and consider how long and how difficult it is to get from any given point A to any given point B especially when they're not on the same line and there's potentially a large time penalty incurred from transferring between two infrequent routes.  Nobody with a working car in the driveway puts them self through ordeals like that voluntarily so those who can drive do.

That is absolutely, positively not the case. The vast, vast majority of riders on GO are people who use the system over a vehicle, to a far greater percentage than the TTC. (It was as high as 95% at one point in the 1990s.)

 

2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

The last time I rode. 905 agency, it was HSR a few weeks ago. It was some piece of garbage split level Flyer on the 1 King line that should never have left the garage. The air system leaked like a sieve to the point the front doors didn't work and it didn't get very far from the end of the line before the bus packed it in and they had to unload everyone onto this Flyer artic. Those have always been a hard riding bus in my experience and this thing was positively spine dislocating especially at speed.  There was one spectacular bash and crash as it passed over a bad pothole or something downtown and I think I actually swore out loud at that one along with a few others.

Congratulations, I guess? I don't see what the point of this is other than to shit on HSR. Those problems that you've listed are certainly not specific to any particular model of bus, or a particular manufacturer, or even a particular transit system for that matter.

 

Also, this goes to proving my point - if you know the difference between a New Flyer and a Nova, you already know more than John Q Public. He doesn't care who makes it. He just wants it to be comfortable, and reliable,  and get there on time.

 

2 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Actually, the whole experience made me really wonder about Hamilton's LRT crowd, how on earth they think this is better than an LRT line.  They're probably the same population segment that's still pissed off about the fact they had to go out and buy a new TV in order to get CHCH in colour.  It will be interesting to see if the ridership statistics and demographic change if/when that LRT line opens, if there is frequent all day service on it.  As for me, why was I riding HSR?  I had stuff to do out there and the truck was in the shop so you have to do what you have to do and you do it.  But when the truck's not in the shop, you think I put myself through that?  Hell no!  And I'm far from the only person who makes that choice when that choice is available.

That's the choice that you make, just like a lot of people justify the choices that they make. No different in Hamilton than anywhere else.

 

1 hour ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

There won't ever be imperical evidence for a qualitative issue.

It's "empirical", but that's okay, this isn't a spelling lesson.

 

As for being a qualitative issue.....that's not true. There are all sorts of ways for the public to qualitatively make the decision to support your hypothesis. I've even laid out a number of ways for them to do so. The fact that they haven't proves that your hypothesis is wrong.

 

1 hour ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

People ride these buses not because they want to, but because they have no choice... Hence why ridership doesn't tank.

Incorrect. See my points above.

 

1 hour ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

But ridership also doesn't really grow, because whoever could CHOOSE to ride a bus, doesn't, BECAUSE of the type of vehicle being uncomfortable, unreliable, and less "convenient" than a car. The research is out there. Comfort/ride-quality is only one of a few factors that influence interest in transit use (hence modifications to vehicle amenities that obviously DO matter).

How many of my points in the past however-many posts have involved comfort and convenience? Of course it matters. Again, this is why amenities such as A/C and more comfortable seating, which used to be seen as "premium" items are now commonplace.

 

But the actual vehicle type has nothing to do with this. The bus is simply a box - you put into it what you want.

 

1 hour ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

The vehicle does matter, cause if it didn't, it would be so much cheaper to use a bunch of school buses, but then NO ONE would stand for that.

There is a whole host of reasons why something light-duty such as a school bus won't work. As a transit driver, you'll understand that very quickly if you haven't already.

 

Nice straw man, though.

 

1 hour ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

I guarantee you, that if city buses got a lot worse, people would start walking. Novas aren't the end of world by any means, but it is a fact that they simply aren't the best option for Hamilton - as they are currently constructed. That is a fact. And people do care.

But it's not a fact. I've pointed it out to you time and time again.

 

Emotion - what you are using - is simply not enough of a factor on which to base a multi-million decision which will have ramifications for many years. If you could find some empirical evidence to support your claims, you would have a lot more people agreeing with you, including potentially myself. But the numbers simply don't back up what you are saying.

 

1 hour ago, TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM said:

The improved ride quality of an LRV is one of the key defining factors always touted to improve and draw ridership. That is a strong argument that proves a better, more comfortable vehicle, will get people oit of their car (or truck) more often. And it also proves the average Joe does care about what they have endure to get where they want to go.

Funny story about that - improved ride quality is in fact frequently touted as a way to get people on-side for LRT construction. The funny part about it, however, is that when they poll the people after the fact - 3 months, 6 months, a year, the time period is almost irrelevant - they find out that people have nothing to say about the ride quality. As it, when prompted about it, the response is almost always "meh". There are far more important things that people are concerned about. Ride quality simply doesn't enter into the equation of why people do or don't want to use it.

 

Dan

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6 minutes ago, smallspy said:

They are, but they aren't. If we were talking about the US, than yes, I would agree with your statement. But the fact of the matter is that the per-capita ridership of any given town or city in Canada is way, way higher than it is in an equivalent town or city in the US, and it isn't because there are more people on welfare here than there - because that's not the case.

 

That is absolutely, positively not the case. The vast, vast majority of riders on GO are people who use the system over a vehicle, to a far greater percentage than the TTC. (It was as high as 95% at one point in the 1990s.)

You missed the point.  I'm talking about local bus service that gets people to and from Go stations, not Go itself which draws passengers delivered by local bus, walk in traffic in some locations, and people who drive and park in those huge lots and garages.

6 minutes ago, smallspy said:

Congratulations, I guess? I don't see what the point of this is other than to shit on HSR. Those problems that you've listed are certainly not specific to any particular model of bus, or a particular manufacturer, or even a particular transit system for that matter.

 

Also, this goes to proving my point - if you know the difference between a New Flyer and a Nova, you already know more than John Q Public. He doesn't care who makes it. He just wants it to be comfortable, and reliable,  and get there on time.

The point, which is the second one you've managed to miss so far, is that I wasn't on HSR by choice.  Most people on HSR don't look like they're there by choice, not that I'm going to start polling everyone the next time I ride that system.  So, the pothole?  That's squarely city of Hamilton.  The bus that should have been kept out of service until repaired?  That's HSR.  I fall into the same category as John Q. Public as I put it in that I'd like it to be comfortable and reliable and get me there on time.  It was neither comfortable, nor reliable, and didn't get me there on time either on account of the second item.

6 minutes ago, smallspy said:

That's the choice that you make, just like a lot of people justify the choices that they make. No different in Hamilton than anywhere else.

Correct.  Those who can chose do chose and they have their reasons for doing so.

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16 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

You missed the point.  I'm talking about local bus service that gets people to and from Go stations, not Go itself which draws passengers delivered by local bus, walk in traffic in some locations, and people who drive and park in those huge lots and garages.

I didn't miss any point. You threw out the comment about the train-bus services. The express point of which is to get people directly to the trains without having to build more parking for them at the stations.

 

Now, if about 95% of the people who take the trains have a car, what is the percentage of those people taking the bus to the train? (Hint: GO's found that it's about the same.)

 

16 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

The point, which is the second one you've managed to miss so far, is that I wasn't on HSR by choice.  Most people on HSR don't look like they're there by choice, not that I'm going to start polling everyone the next time I ride that system.  So, the pothole?  That's squarely city of Hamilton.  The bus that should have been kept out of service until repaired?  That's HSR.  I fall into the same category as John Q. Public as I put it in that I'd like it to be comfortable and reliable and get me there on time.  It was neither comfortable, nor reliable, and didn't get me there on time either on account of the second item.

And you seem to have missed my point as well. None of what happened in your story contingent on the make or model of the vehicle, which is the crux of what this current thread is about. Any of that other stuff that happened to you - well, it's unfortunate, but it doesn't really have any bearing on what we were discussing.

 

Dan

 

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9 hours ago, smallspy said:

I didn't miss any point. You threw out the comment about the train-bus services. The express point of which is to get people directly to the trains without having to build more parking for them at the stations.

 

Now, if about 95% of the people who take the trains have a car, what is the percentage of those people taking the bus to the train? (Hint: GO's found that it's about the same.)

 

And you seem to have missed my point as well. None of what happened in your story contingent on the make or model of the vehicle, which is the crux of what this current thread is about. Any of that other stuff that happened to you - well, it's unfortunate, but it doesn't really have any bearing on what we were discussing.

 

Dan

 

Ok, if we're going to subscribe to the idea that it doesn't matter how crappy it is because people are going to ride it anyways, so let's set the bar nice and low, the gold standard to which the Hamilton Street Railway should aspire would be the Baltimore MTA of about 10-15 years ago when wheels falling off were a regular occurrence.  Four wheels are so overrated anyways especially when navigating one of the mountain accesses.

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I'lll chime in here about the HSR, ridership, and vehicles

Hamilton is unique from other 905 transit authorities due to the clear divide with which areas are more likely to use transit vs the areas that you would have to drag people out of their cars to use it. Hamilton Mountain, Waterdown, Dundas, and Stoney Creek (to some extent) are areas in which individuals are essentially anti-transit and are car huggers who will never get out of their car unless congestion beholds their communities. These individuals are the same ones who think (and rightly so to a certain extent) that the HSR is useless for getting anywhere reliably and on time.

 

Individuals in the Lower City (ie: Westdale, Downtown Hamilton, Corktown, etc..) are far more likely by comparison due to the socio-economic backgrounds of many individuals, combined with the demographic,s and reduced amount of car ownership. You could basically draw a border around the lower city and point to that area as having the most potential for higher ridership.

 

The HSR has been one of the most (if not the most) inept transit authories in the GTHA with regards to ridership. While ridership has increased with virtually every TA in the GTHA, the HSR found a way to drive riders away en mass. The problems with the HSR are so numerous I cant even begin to list them all, but for simplicity's sake lets just say it deals with the basics of Economics (ie: Supply and Demand).

 

With regards to vehicles, Hamilton has always done things differently compared to other transit authority for whatever reason. Can this be part of the reason why ridership has stagnated and decreased? Potentially but that's really hard to say. What I will say is that the HSR has:

  • Consistently picked a poor seating layout on all vehicles (with the exception of artics),
  • Have installed wheelchair ramps at rear doors which increase dwell times dramatically and cause inefficient passenger flows inside vehicles
  • Changed the destination signs/route numbers on routes countless amount of times which just increases confusion for riders
  • Still doesnt have a proper easy to navigate website for transit and it's 2019
  • Route Maps/timetables are next to pathetic, non-existent and arent even installed system wide

 

I can go on, and on about what's wrong but that's just a few easy to see issues. As for the vehicles themselves (Novas), I dont see them necessarily helping with the perception of how Hamiltonians view the HSR. Residents in the lower city probably couldn't care less since they just want to see more buses period, while residents in Hamilton Mountain would likely be more alienated just due to the fact that they would find more things to pin against the HSR (ie: bad A/C, lack of adequate air flow to make rides more comfortable, etc...). Hamiltonians most likely dont know that there are 3 different manufacturers who make the buses that they ride on, but they probably have their preferences (ie: the buses that dont have the unnatural rear seat warming vs. the ones that do, the buses where you can open the rear window vs. the ones where you cant, etc...). Again, whether that contributes to transit ridership numbers is hard to determine.

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13 hours ago, Wayside Observer said:

Ok, if we're going to subscribe to the idea that it doesn't matter how crappy it is because people are going to ride it anyways, so let's set the bar nice and low, the gold standard to which the Hamilton Street Railway should aspire would be the Baltimore MTA of about 10-15 years ago when wheels falling off were a regular occurrence.  Four wheels are so overrated anyways especially when navigating one of the mountain accesses.

We're not talking about maintenance practices. (If they could stand to be improved, that is a different but fair point. I can't speak to it though in the case of HSR.)

 

TRENT_TRANSIT_SYSTEM contends that the Nova LFS bus is not "good enough" for the good people of Hamilton, likely due to his own biases. He suggests that the HSR should have thrown out their low bids to the tenders and have gone with something else instead which was offered for a higher price (which would likely have been New Flyer, as no one else is likely to have bid on the tenders otherwise).

 

10 hours ago, lip said:

I'lll chime in here about the HSR, ridership, and vehicles

Hamilton is unique from other 905 transit authorities due to the clear divide with which areas are more likely to use transit vs the areas that you would have to drag people out of their cars to use it. Hamilton Mountain, Waterdown, Dundas, and Stoney Creek (to some extent) are areas in which individuals are essentially anti-transit and are car huggers who will never get out of their car unless congestion beholds their communities. These individuals are the same ones who think (and rightly so to a certain extent) that the HSR is useless for getting anywhere reliably and on time.

This is hardly specific to Hamilton. There are many enclaves in the GTA that are like this, and likely elsewhere in Canada and North America.

 

10 hours ago, lip said:

Individuals in the Lower City (ie: Westdale, Downtown Hamilton, Corktown, etc..) are far more likely by comparison due to the socio-economic backgrounds of many individuals, combined with the demographic,s and reduced amount of car ownership. You could basically draw a border around the lower city and point to that area as having the most potential for higher ridership.

Again, this is not specific to Hamilton.

 

10 hours ago, lip said:

The HSR has been one of the most (if not the most) inept transit authories in the GTHA with regards to ridership. While ridership has increased with virtually every TA in the GTHA, the HSR found a way to drive riders away en mass. The problems with the HSR are so numerous I cant even begin to list them all, but for simplicity's sake lets just say it deals with the basics of Economics (ie: Supply and Demand).

In the past 5 or 6 years, the only two transit agencies in the GTHA which have had any substantial ridership growth have been GO Transit and Brampton Transit. Most of the others have had only minimal growth, or in the cases of YRT and the TTC, no growth or a decrease in ridership.

 

As for your contention that the problems largely stem from supply and demand....I highly doubt it. But please, feel free to indulge us.

 

10 hours ago, lip said:

With regards to vehicles, Hamilton has always done things differently compared to other transit authority for whatever reason. Can this be part of the reason why ridership has stagnated and decreased? Potentially but that's really hard to say. What I will say is that the HSR has:

  • Consistently picked a poor seating layout on all vehicles (with the exception of artics),
  • Have installed wheelchair ramps at rear doors which increase dwell times dramatically and cause inefficient passenger flows inside vehicles
  • Changed the destination signs/route numbers on routes countless amount of times which just increases confusion for riders
  • Still doesnt have a proper easy to navigate website for transit and it's 2019
  • Route Maps/timetables are next to pathetic, non-existent and arent even installed system wide

While some of your concerns are valid, some of them are pretty spurious. For instance, the bad seating layout that you malign is virtually the same as that used at every single other transit agency in the GTA save for the TTC. It's not ideal if you are trying to cram as many people into a bus (as opposed to as many seats into that vehicle), but it's certainly works elsewhere to no ill effect.

 

(Now, if you're suggesting that they go to a more TTC-style of seating arrangement which prioritizes standees and passenger capacity over seats, that's fair, but you also need to ask yourself - do the loading standards of the system account and allow for that? Will people be happy to have fewer seats if more of them fit on the vehicles? I don't know the answers to these questions, but they're an important part of the debate.)

 

10 hours ago, lip said:

I can go on, and on about what's wrong but that's just a few easy to see issues. As for the vehicles themselves (Novas), I dont see them necessarily helping with the perception of how Hamiltonians view the HSR. Residents in the lower city probably couldn't care less since they just want to see more buses period, while residents in Hamilton Mountain would likely be more alienated just due to the fact that they would find more things to pin against the HSR (ie: bad A/C, lack of adequate air flow to make rides more comfortable, etc...). Hamiltonians most likely dont know that there are 3 different manufacturers who make the buses that they ride on, but they probably have their preferences (ie: the buses that dont have the unnatural rear seat warming vs. the ones that do, the buses where you can open the rear window vs. the ones where you cant, etc...). Again, whether that contributes to transit ridership numbers is hard to determine.

You blame the buses here, but ask yourself - why is it that despite these problems with the vehicles themselves that the other agencies aren't suffering from the same issues with ridership? There is quite obviously other things at play which go way beyond the model of the vehicle on the road.

 

Dan

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10 hours ago, smallspy said:
Quote

This is hardly specific to Hamilton. There are many enclaves in the GTA that are like this, and likely elsewhere in Canada and North America.

I'm aware that this problem exists in other communities in Canada and North America, but I'm referring to the 905 in particular here. In Hamilton's case, there is a clear transit divide between the outer suburbs  and inner suburbs/city centre which doesn't exist in other 905 communities to the extent that it does in Hamilton. For example, Burlington as a whole just couldnt care less about transit and would do anything to sabotage ridership throughout the entire city. Mississauga has seen an uptick in ridership virtually everywhere within the city (ie: not just limited to the core or outer city limits), Brampton has seen increases throughout the city, etc..

 

Quote
Quote

Again, this is not specific to Hamilton.

Once again, i'm aware of ridership differences that exist in different geographic areas of various cities. My point was, the divide is much more evident to see in Hamilton compared to other cities in the 905 (ie: Mississauga has large pockets spread throughout the city where you can see car ownership is much higher compared to transit ridership, while in Hamilton it's entire boroughs).

 

Quote
Quote

In the past 5 or 6 years, the only two transit agencies in the GTHA which have had any substantial ridership growth have been GO Transit and Brampton Transit. Most of the others have had only minimal growth, or in the cases of YRT and the TTC, no growth or a decrease in ridership.

 

As for your contention that the problems largely stem from supply and demand....I highly doubt it. But please, feel free to indulge us.

 

Regardless of if other transit agencies in the GTHA have had minimal growth in ridership, the point is that there was still an increase in ridership. In Hamilton's case there has been a clear and significant decrease in ridership. The TTC's stagnation/decrease has only been a recent thing (if you take their numbers over a 5 year period there has still been an increase in ridership, unlike with Hamilton). I'm unfamiliar with YRTs numbers so I cant comment there.

I cant find it now, but there was a chart from a couple years ago floating around where it showed that every transit authority in the GTHA had increases in ridership, all except for the HSR.

 

10 hours ago, smallspy said:

While some of your concerns are valid, some of them are pretty spurious. For instance, the bad seating layout that you malign is virtually the same as that used at every single other transit agency in the GTA save for the TTC. It's not ideal if you are trying to cram as many people into a bus (as opposed to as many seats into that vehicle), but it's certainly works elsewhere to no ill effect.

 

(Now, if you're suggesting that they go to a more TTC-style of seating arrangement which prioritizes standees and passenger capacity over seats, that's fair, but you also need to ask yourself - do the loading standards of the system account and allow for that? Will people be happy to have fewer seats if more of them fit on the vehicles? I don't know the answers to these questions, but they're an important part of the debate.)

Hamilton is the only transit authority in the GTHA that i'm aware of that goes with an all perimeter seating layout throughout the entire length of a bus (with the exception of their artics). In Hamiton's case it's a particularly bad choice as legs protrude into the aisle throughout the bus and causes passenger flow issues. It's even worse considering the fact that they go with rear wheelchair ramp option which just makes for a mess of a situation when mobility devices board the bus, and half of passengers in the front section of the bus have to get off to accommodate it. It's difficult to explain, but it's more of something you have to see in action to explain. Basic point is, the layout doesnt work for Hamilton's needs (usage of mobility devices in Hamilton is pretty significant compared to MiWay buses, TTC buses, etc...)

 

10 hours ago, smallspy said:

You blame the buses here, but ask yourself - why is it that despite these problems with the vehicles themselves that the other agencies aren't suffering from the same issues with ridership? There is quite obviously other things at play which go way beyond the model of the vehicle on the road.

I completely agree here, there are definitely other matters in play which are affecting ridership numbers in Hamilton. My point here again, is that certain riders (we dont know what number/percentage) definitely have their preferences in vehicle type due to factors that are more specific in scope (ie: Inability to open rear windows, seating layouts, etc..).

For example, there was a time a few years ago when Hamilton had issues with the backrests that were used for mobility devices on newer bus models (XD40s). Mobility device users frequently complained to the HSR about the issue and were asking why they weren't like the ones on the older bus model (D40LF).

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There have been a bunch of retirements in the last 2 weeks! These are all the buses that have been retired! 

520, 601, 602, 603, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, and 706!

they are currently stripping multiple buses for parts and bike racks, fareboxes, rangers, cameras, and all other equipment from these buses are being installed into the new vicinity buses and the 1800 artics! 

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On 5/23/2019 at 7:26 PM, lip said:

I'm aware that this problem exists in other communities in Canada and North America, but I'm referring to the 905 in particular here. In Hamilton's case, there is a clear transit divide between the outer suburbs  and inner suburbs/city centre which doesn't exist in other 905 communities to the extent that it does in Hamilton. For example, Burlington as a whole just couldnt care less about transit and would do anything to sabotage ridership throughout the entire city. Mississauga has seen an uptick in ridership virtually everywhere within the city (ie: not just limited to the core or outer city limits), Brampton has seen increases throughout the city, etc..

I'm not sure why you are singling out the 905 systems here. HSR has a lot more in common with the TTC when it comes to ridership patterns and ridership flows than it does with any of the other suburban systems.

 

Quote

Once again, i'm aware of ridership differences that exist in different geographic areas of various cities. My point was, the divide is much more evident to see in Hamilton compared to other cities in the 905 (ie: Mississauga has large pockets spread throughout the city where you can see car ownership is much higher compared to transit ridership, while in Hamilton it's entire boroughs).

And again, you're looking at the wrong basis of comparison. Hamilton is not a bedroom community for Toronto. (Yes, people do live in Hamilton and commute to Toronto, but the numbers coming into Hamilton in the morning are greater than those heading out.)

 

 

Quote

Hamilton is the only transit authority in the GTHA that i'm aware of that goes with an all perimeter seating layout throughout the entire length of a bus (with the exception of their artics). In Hamiton's case it's a particularly bad choice as legs protrude into the aisle throughout the bus and causes passenger flow issues. It's even worse considering the fact that they go with rear wheelchair ramp option which just makes for a mess of a situation when mobility devices board the bus, and half of passengers in the front section of the bus have to get off to accommodate it. It's difficult to explain, but it's more of something you have to see in action to explain. Basic point is, the layout doesnt work for Hamilton's needs (usage of mobility devices in Hamilton is pretty significant compared to MiWay buses, TTC buses, etc...)

Regarding the perimeter seating, historically that has not been the case - there have certainly been other properties who have done so as well. But generally, perimeter seating allows for more standees than a doublerow of forwards-facing seats, yet less than a single row of forwards-facing seats.

 

I agree that the rear wheelchair ramp seems peculiar to me, but I'm sure that there are valid historical reasons why that decision was made.

 

As for people moving to accommodate mobility devices - again, despite your contention that is not vastly different than the situation elsewhere in the GTA.

 

Quote

I completely agree here, there are definitely other matters in play which are affecting ridership numbers in Hamilton. My point here again, is that certain riders (we dont know what number/percentage) definitely have their preferences in vehicle type due to factors that are more specific in scope (ie: Inability to open rear windows, seating layouts, etc..).

There will always be some subgroup that complains about one thing or the other, sure. But I think that you are giving them way too much credit, and attributing way more noise than is realistic.

 

Look at it this way - say the HSR got five complaints a day about a specific bus route. Which is a more realistic indicator of the actual situation, five complaints all coming from the same five people every day, or five complaints coming from different people each day of the week?

 

And this is what I'm getting at - you can't use a forum such as this as an accurate indication of frankly anything. It's an echo chamber - one person makes a complaint and other people chime in. We're all fairly knowledgeable about the system and its inner workings, way more so than the average layperson. The people that count are the people riding the service. Not us, here.

 

Dan

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On 5/26/2019 at 3:53 PM, Busdriver385 said:

There have been a bunch of retirements in the last 2 weeks! These are all the buses that have been retired! 

520, 601, 602, 603, 610, 611, 612, 613, 614, and 706!

they are currently stripping multiple buses for parts and bike racks, fareboxes, rangers, cameras, and all other equipment from these buses are being installed into the new vicinity buses and the 1800 artics! 

701,702,704,705

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19 hours ago, HamiltonTransit1710 said:

701,702,704,705

Have these units actually been confirmed as retired? Until I hear from a trusted source, I'm still putting them as active.

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On 2019年5月27日 at 1:06 PM, smallspy said:

Regarding the perimeter seating, historically that has not been the case - there have certainly been other properties who have done so as well. But generally, perimeter seating allows for more standees than a doublerow of forwards-facing seats, yet less than a single row of forwards-facing seats.

I would like to comment a bit about the perimeter seating.

From my observations while riding buses with perimeter seating or double row seating during rush hours, it seems like that perimeter seating does not allow extra capacity as commonly thought. In fact, when you consider the space between the back of the seat and the wall, the seat itself, and the feet of the passengers, you end up with the same amount of aisle space, while less people are seated.

A study from the Toronto in 2006 (https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/mmis/2007/pg/bgrd/backgroundfile-3309.pdf) essentially confirms this thought: the study has found that while the perimeter seating give people an impression that there is more aisle space, there is actually less aisle space, and overall ordering a bus with perimeter seating rather than double row seating results in a net loss of sardine capacity, and an increase in operation cost.

The study is done on Orion VII, but I'm pretty sure the findings still apply to other low entrance bus models available on market.

But overall, the seating layout (and vehicle comfort) is a less important factor compared to other factors; the study itself suggests that a bigger priority would be to improve the service itself:

Quote

From the customers’ perspective, the most important factors, by far, which contribute to good quality transit service are the level (frequency) of service, and the reliability of that service (these findings are highly consistent with the research underlying the recommendations of the Ridership Growth Strategy);

While far less important than reliable service, a majority (71%) of respondents rated interior design and layout of the bus as somewhat-to-very important in determining the quality of transit service; 

 

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I had a source visually verify that 0520, 0601, 0602, 0603, 0611, 0612, 0614, 0701, 0702 and 0703 are all up on the hill.   More are being decommissioned in the shop right now.  

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