Bus users across the city now can join a riders union to represent their interests and push for solutions to HSR shortcomings and other transit problems. Nearly fifty residents spent their Saturday morning at the inaugural meeting of the Hamilton Transit Riders Union (HTRU) in the central library.
The group’s interim mission statement states that the HRTU “is a democratic organization fighting to preserve, expand and improve the public transportation system in Hamilton and beyond so that everyone has access to safe, accessible, affordable and reliable public transportation.”
The transit advocacy group has been developed over several months by a number of volunteers with the assistance of Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton and District Labour Council. Annual membership fees are just one dollar and low-income riders can provide volunteer time instead.
Ian Borsuk, the Environment Hamilton climate change coordinator who co-chaired the inaugural meeting, stressed that the group’s main focus is on the chronic under-funding of the HSR and that there is “not an issue to do with mis-management” of the transit division. He said the group will campaign in the municipal election to ensure the new council being elected in late October has “a strong mandate to support good transit planning”.