Unlike some other GTAH communities, Hamilton Transit usage could return to pre-pandemic levels later this year. In the 2023 budget presentation for the Public Works Department, HSR provided a chart that suggested if current trends continue, HSR ridership could return to the 2019 level of almost 22 million rides by September of this year.
The transit budget at $93.6 Million net, indicates the farebox revenue is supplying 41 percent of transit costs. The benchmark contribution across most GTAH transit systems prior to the pandemic, was 47 percent. The overall operating budget for the Public Works Department is just under $293 Million representing 42 percent of the city budget.
The Public Works department has a staff complement of 2,059 and is forecasting an increase of 49 staff, 43 of whom will be added to the HSR as the city continues to implement the 10-year transit strategy that is aimed at increasing overall transit usage. Transit is projecting a staff complement of 868, making it the largest single employment group within the department.
Stoney Creek Councillor Jeff Beattie was interested in seeing the Stoney Creek Bus route expanded to serve the GO bus terminal on Casablanca Road to provide transit service to residents of Winona and the other residents in eastern Stoney Creek. The Casablanca road GO bus terminal is four kilometers past the eastern limit of the bus route in Niagara region. Staff indicated that there have been some discussions about some kind of integration between the HSR and Niagara Transit. Councillor Beattie signaled that he intends to pursue the issue saying, “I think it is a tremendous missed opportunity if we don’t explore connection to regional transit…I think time is of the essence. The sooner we integrate with regional transit, not just in Winona—in all parts of the city—that integration is key to the success of the HSR.”