Switching to transit continues to get easier for Hamiltonians with improvements to both HSR and GO Transit. Binbrook residents are now linked to the city bus system, while GO Train service every half hour to downtown Toronto is already a reality for anyone willing to spend a few minutes on a connecting bus.
There are also HSR upgrades for Dundas residents and expanded service on other city transit routes, as well as a more frequent express bus to Mississauga’s Square One, Bramalea and Yorkdale Shopping Centre; and even a transit connection to Pearson Airport for those who don’t want to pay for expensive airways transit.
Last month rapidly–growing Binbrook was added to the HSR’s trans–cab service that already connects residents of Mt Hope, Winona, the Twenty Road retirement villages and other outlying areas to the city’s regular bus system. For a regular HSR fare plus an extra 50 cents each way, residents can get a taxicab ride between their home and the nearest regular HSR bus stop.
For Binbrook residents, that connects them to the Rymal 44 bus that runs between Eastgate Mall and the Ancaster business park at Garner Road and Tradewind Drive. Today that service only runs Monday to Friday and ends shortly after 9pm, but mountain councillors are pushing for it to run longer hours and on weekends.
The trans–cab change will mean higher taxes for Binbrook residents because its costs – like revenue shortfalls for the regular HSR– are covered through area rating charges, with amounts for each former municipality determined by hours of bus service received. Hamilton utilizes trans–cab where a regular HSR route is judged to be not financially feasible, but might be instituted in the future once rider demand increases.
As for the much anticipated all–day GO Train service, Hamilton transit users can already connect to the Aldershot station with a 15–minute bus ride from the Hunter Street station or in just 8 minutes from the GO pickup point on King West at Dundurn. GO buses meet every train leaving from Aldershot starting at 5am on weekdays and 7 on weekends, and pick up returning passengers until 1:48 the next morning. Theres’s also service from the McMaster GO terminal.
GO has now also increased the frequency of a bus along the 407 between Hamilton and York University to at least twice an hour every day of the week, starting as early as 5:10am. The weekday service stops at Square One and Bramalea as well as several park–and–ride locations along the 407, while the weekend route extends to Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The express buses get passengers to Square One in 45 minutes, while the weekend ride to Yorkdale is under two hours. This route also connects to a TTC bus to Terminal One at Pearson Airport for a one–way cost under $15.
Other recent changes to the HSR include more buses on the Barton, Upper James, Delaware and some Mountain routes, and more service to Dundas residents. The latter provides increased off–peak and weekend service, including improvements along both Dundas ‘tails’ on Sundays.
But rush hour service for much of the valley town remains at just once every 30 minutes, and the volume of students using transit in the west end of Hamilton continues to present challenges in passengers securing a seat or even being able to board some buses.
An additional HSR improvement has been extension of the hours of its GO Station centre – the only place that eligible users of the city’s affordable transit program can pick up their monthly passes. Since mid–August, the centre has been open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday. V