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Fewer cancelled HSR buses in Hamilton as new drivers take the wheel

The number of hours of cancelled HSR service is down sharply in January as new drivers are hired and trained.
The number of hours of cancelled HSR service is down sharply in January as new drivers are hired and trained. City of Hamilton

Progress has been made toward resolving a crisis related to cancelled bus service in Hamilton.

Debbie Dalle Vedove,┬áthe city’s director of transit, has presented an update to city councillors showing 646 cancelled Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) service hours so far in January, compared to almost 1,800 in December.

She adds that 12 new operators have been hired since the crisis peaked in October 2017, eight more are in training and four additional classes will be training in the spring.

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Dalle Vedove stresses that “will bring HSR to the point where it is fully resourced as per the approved policy.”

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Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger says the high number of cancelled service hours, which coincided with higher than normal rates of driver absenteeism, is “an anomaly that we can’t have happen again.”

He adds that “the first order of business for our transit operation is predictability and reliability.”

The HSR’s 2018 budget submission, presented to city councillors on Friday, calls for $1.8 million in added funding, along with a 10 cent hike in adult tickets in September to pay for 34,000 new service hours.

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The enhancements reflect Year 3 of the city’s 10-year transit improvement plan.

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