May 2, 2006

HSR Bus Service at McMaster University

Tonight it was brought to my attention that we, McMaster Students, are having the same difficulties with bus service that we did last year at this time.
Last year, after pressuring the MSU for a month, the MSU acted to encourage the City of Hamilton to do something to fix the problem.
This year, the MSU BoD is a little busy trying to figure out ways to stop me from speaking about things and trying to get the University to remove me as a student to do anything about the flaws in HSR bus service.
Now, let me be clear, the majority of the new SRA is doing a good job and working to make the MSU work for students. The problem is that the SRA has very little power anymore. (A problem for another post)
Tonight I emailed Brian McHattie, the City Councillor for Ward One the following:
I also cc’d the following members of the SRA who are all doing a great job this year: Ashkan Eshaghbeigi, Sudduf Wyne, Scott Mitchell, Jackson Weigman, Ray Lawlor, and Waqas Kayani.

To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing this email to identify a service related concern that existed last summer that has reappeared this summer in order to correct it quickly before it becomes a problem for McMaster Students.
The 2123 bus departing Meadowlands bound for Rosedale passing Main and Emerson at 2143 was at full up to the window capacity tonight but did pick
This bus did not have enough time to make it downtown on time. The bus arrived later than 2200 which resulted in all McMaster Students (as well as other citizens using the bus) missing all connections downtown and waiting at least 27 minutes for the next bus.
This week the passenger load would have been lower than what will be normal for this time during the remainder of the summer. This is because this week there were no 2100 – 2140 tutorials. They will start next week.
There is a thirty minute service gap meaning that there is no bus for thirty minutes prior to the arrival of the bus in question.
During the school year there was a regularly scheduled University bus 15 mins prior to this bus. There was also an extra bus that looped from the University to Downtown, returned non-stop empty to the University and departed the University at 2140. This bus would take the majority of students leaving a reasonable amount for the 2142 bus. Both buses would almost always make it downtown in time for the 2200 bus connections.
With these two buses removed, the current situation is now such that the 2142 will very rarely (if ever) make it downtown in time to connect to the 2200 connections resulting in all passengers wishing to connect downtown waiting for 25-28 minutes (depending on how late they arrive downtown) for the next bus.
I am going to suggest what I see as a potential no added cost solution to this:
There is a bus passing Main and Emerson at 2148 and another entering campus at 2159.
The 2148 bus arrives at the West Hamilton Loop after leaving University Plaza at 2122. It remains at West Hamilton Loop for approximately ten minutes departing the West Hamilton Loop at 2139.
The 2159 bus leaves University Plaza at 2152 going directly to McMaster University non-stop.
I would like to suggest the following service improvement.
That the bus departing University Plaza at 2122 should go directly to McMaster University. It should remain at McMaster until 2140 or until it has a full standing load, whichever comes first.
This will enable the 2142 to come into the University, pick up any remaining passengers and make it downtown in time for connects. Last year whenever there was a bus in front of the 2142 to get the large numbers of passengers that one bus alone could not take anyway, the 2142 made it downtown on time. I know this because I took this bus at least twice a week last year.
Please note that I am sending this as a private citizen and am in no way, other than be the fact that I have to pay fees to the MSU, affiliated with the McMaster Students Union Inc.
I have sent this to some members of the MSU SRA and to the City Councillor for Ward 1 in the hopes that one of, or both of these political positions can work towards solving this service concern prior to it becoming a service problem.
Thank You,
Joey Coleman