Whether Hamilton Council decides to abolish bus lanes or not, we have in our hands right now a possible low cost solution that would speed up bus routes right across the city—enforce an existing 10-year old provincial law that gives buses the right of way. Section 142.1 of the Highway Traffic Act says cars that are behind a bus signaling that it wants to pull out into traffic from a bus stop must yield to that bus. What happens instead is that many motorists speed up to get past the bus and often the bus has to wait for several cars to pass. This often leads to the bus missing a green light, resulting in further delay. Through a combination of public education, coupled with some targeted stiff enforcement, Hamilton could be a leader in developing a bus-friendly culture, where we collectively take some responsibility for making public transportation work. A one-year pilot project of enhanced enforcement and education around a buses-first initiative could go a long way to telling us whether bus lanes are really necessary. There would be relatively little cost since the HSR bus fleet has had logos on the back of buses urging people to yield for a decade now.
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