Eric Tuck, President of the Hamilton local of the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) says his members are getting great support from the public as they circulate a petition calling for the HSR to be allowed to operate and maintain the proposed LRT. The current plans before council would exclude the HSR because the preference by Metrolinx is for the successful bidder to Finance, Design, Build, Operate and Maintain. (FDBOM) the entire project. The petition being circulated to HSR passengers states in part:
Because the HSR doesn’t Finance, Design or Build, they are ineligible to compete in the tendering process, and are out of the running to Operate and Maintain the LRT. This effectively means that only large groups of private companies may even bid on the project. The current procurement process leaves the door open to the new LRT line being entirely privatized. We the petitioners believe that transit should be publicly operated and maintained. We know from multiple examples that privatizing transit doesn’t work – it ends up more costly, less safe, and robs our communities of our shared public assets and good local jobs.
We have three demands:
- That Hamilton City Councillors endorse a motion to keep HSR the operator and maintenance provider for the new Hamilton LRT line.
- That Metrolinx keep operation of new transit infrastructure public and build the capacity for maintenance in our public sector and remove them from the tendering process.
- That provincial MPPs put pressure on the provincial Liberal government to ensure that our transit stays public.
The petition will go before council at a special LRT meeting this week, which will consider a motion by Ward Three councillor Matthew Green to allow the HSR to operate and maintain LRT. Green told the Bay Observer he doesn’t know how council will respond to his motion but added, “we heard a lot of support from most councillors during the LRT debate—now we’ll get a sense of how much of that was real…”