It’s Monday morning and I stand waiting for the bus headed to work, but it’s not an ordinary Monday morning. Today is Thanksgiving and buses are running on holiday schedules.
I guess I should be thankful that buses are running at all. Some smaller communities have no bus service on Sundays, let alone holidays. I should also be thankful that I live on the 2 BARTON bus route, a route with the second best frequency in the city. I am thankful for both of those things because there are corners of the city which have poor or no transit service on holidays at all.
The community of Waterdown has a single route in 18 WATERDOWN which doesn’t run on Sundays or holidays. If you’re taking the GO Train to or from Toronto you’d better arrange a ride to the GO Station because there are no HSR buses running. The community of Ancaster has but one bus route as well in 16 ANCASTER. That route also has no service on Sundays or holidays.
I can’t help but think about anyone in those communities who have to work today and rely on buses to get to work, or go anywhere.
I also wonder about those who don’t even have access to standard bus service but have to rely on TransCab to get to a bus line. TransCab service also doesn’t run on Sundays or holidays. Dave Bril, who contributes film reviews to Hamilton Today, lives within a TransCab zone and relies on the service to connect him to HSR buses to get to work and more.
If you rely on transit to access the rest of the city, Sundays and holidays are transit deserts. Days like yesterday and today.
For Dave the walk from the TransCab point to and from home is about a 20 minute walk, which he does regularly instead of waiting for TransCab. It’s often not reliable.
“I personally don’t even mind the walk because half the time I’m waiting 40 mins for a trans,” Bril said of the service. “But that route has a lot of older folks who truly can’t make that walk and it’s a dangerous walk over a bridge where one side only has a sidewalk and only on the bridge. The rest of the route (has) no sidewalk.”
For their part the HSR has been making attempts to keep the public informed of the lack of service on holidays. With the advent of a social media presence the city has finally been tweeting about holiday schedules from the HSR’s new social media account, including the lack of any TransCab service. Also starting with this Thanksgiving the transit agency has been using PR messages on board buses to alert customers of the limited holiday service.
The HSR is trying their best to get the message out. Unfortunately that message seems to be that if you live in a TransCab area or in one of the outer communities in Hamilton you don’t matter from a transit standpoint.
“I’m thankful that there is no TransCab service on Thanksgiving. I know after all that turkey I’m going to need the exercise. The twenty minute walk from the bus loop to my home because TransCab isn’t running will be good exercise for me.”