Hamilton’s buses will soon be ramping up service as residents start returning to school and work in the coming weeks.
Beginning Sunday, September 6th, HSR will return to weekday service at a summer level on most routes, with the equivalent of a 100 per cent seated capacity, according to a press release sent Thursday (August 20).
Currently, buses are operating on a much-reduced service schedule and at 50 per cent capacity.
“This would mean a combination of seated/standing 30 customers on a 40-foot bus and 50 customers on a 60-foot articulated bus,” the release says, noting that the seats closest to the operator will remain blocked and there is no plan to move the yellow lines.
The HSR was forced to significantly scale back service and passenger loads in response to the COVID-19 pandemic back in March. The measures also included not collecting fares for months.
As a result, Hamilton’s transit provider has taken a massive financial hit.
Hamilton recently announced that they would be getting more than $44 million in pandemic relief funding from higher levels of government. More than $17 million of that is earmarked specifically for transit.
While the HSR says they’re not quite certain how a return to school will impact their ridership, these service changes are being implemented in anticipation of increased capacity, particularly during rush hours.
Hamilton’s post-secondary students will not be returning, for the most part, to in-class learning so many of the routes servicing Mohawk and McMaster won’t be returning to previous levels. In fact, the 51 University bus from downtown Hamilton to Mac has been cancelled.
“By increasing capacity from the current 2/3 to a 100 per cent seated capacity, this is expected to meet customers’ needs based on current and near-term projected ridership levels,” the press release says.
“HSR will continue to monitor and add supplemental service on busier routes to help minimize crowding and potential customer pass-bys.”
Customers are encouraged to check their route-specific timetable for details, but here are some of the highlights from the new schedule:
- Routes 1, 2, 4, 5, 11, 12, 16, 18, 20, 42, 43, 44, 52A are operating regular weekday service.
- Routes 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35, 41, 55, 58 are operating a reduced weekday service (service reduced during peak periods only).
- Routes 9 (Sundays/Holidays) and 56 (Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays) are operating their normal weekend schedule.
- Route 51(University) is cancelled.
The HSR is reminding their customers that, as per the City of Hamilton By-law 20-155, masks or face coverings (some exceptions) are required when using public transit; this includes HSR, TransCab and DARTS.
For more information on accessing the HSR and schedules, visit their website.