In a news release paying tribute to HSR transit director Debbie Dalle Vedove, The head of the Amalgamated Transit Union called for a leader with vision to replace the departing Director. Of Dalle Vedove Eric Truck, ATU 107 president said she was “a true trail blazer who has broken thru that proverbial ceiling,” a reference to Dalle Vedove’s comment in her resignation notice that public transit that “In an industry that has traditionally not seen women flourish, I am proud to have broken barriers and excelled while building a culture of fairness and accountability.” Tuck said in a release, “the Re-envision initiative and extensive Public consultation process that has been implemented under her direction has helped positioned us to map out our future needs.”
Transit will need to be rebuilt post-pandemic
But Tuck warned that there is a big job ahead rebuilding transit in Hamilton post-pandemic. “We must look to the challenges ahead with a post pandemic recovery on the horizon. The next Director of Transit will face some very real challenges.”
Tuck appeared to suggest that HSR needs to be viewed as a public service as well as a driver of the local economy rather than a cost centre. “We will need a Transit system that meets the needs of all our citizens and is not necessarily driven by the bottom line. We need a champion who can bring all levels of government to the table in a collaborative effort of recovery.” Tuck told the Bay Observer in 2016 that former Transit Director Dave Dixon had a vision to build transit in Hamilton, not simply maintain the status quo. Dixon’s focus on building up transit usage before embarking on LRT got him into hot water with Mayor Eisenberger and other LRT supporters on council and led to his departure.
Tuck made special note of those Hamiltonians who have no choice but to rely on HSR to get them to work, shopping and appointments. “HSR must continue to drive our economy while being responsive to the needs of those most seriously impacted by both the Pandemic and gentrification.”
Tuck concluded with the hope that Council will appoint, “someone that will respect HSR’s 125+ year history of City building, a person with high Environmental, Social and Economic standards to lead a Transit System that has been and continues to be the driving force and life blood of this City. We need a director with the vision to develop a vibrant and evolutionary Hamilton.”