Hamilton LRT – Proposed Speed

Will an LRT Be Faster?

The Metrolinx Hamilton King-Main Rapid Transit Benefits Case states in its executive summary that the primary benefits Hamilton users will see from a proposed LRT would be from travel time savings over the current options available.

“… the majority of benefits are derived from the travel time savings thus highlighting the importance of the operating speed of the rapid transit system to the success of the project.”

Metrolinx King-Main Rapid Transit Benefits Case
February 2010

The statement that the LRT will provide a faster and more comfortable ride has been touted since the project’s inception.  Estimated travel times have even been included in various reports including the Metrolinx King-Main Benefits Case.  Table 4 of the report shows the LRT Average Speeds and Travel times.

An excerpt from the 2010 Metrolinx King-Main Benefits Case study.

An excerpt from the 2010 Metrolinx King-Main Benefits Case study.

But located on that very same page is an interesting footnote.

The footnote contradicts the speeds indicated on the above table.

The footnote contradicts the speeds indicated on the above table.

If the actual vehicle speed is estimated to be 25 kph then why is it shown as being higher on the very same page?  This contradiction was in fact the very first thing that our office discovered when beginning this project.  It is the fact that led us to question much of the other information that had been provided, and was in fact the genesis of the rest of the research that came after it.

Our office confused by this contradiction reached out to our Director of Transit Dave Dixon who told us in a phone call that the actual operating speed of the LRT was not known but that it was thought to be around 25 kph .  When pressed on what the travel time would be from end to end he stated that it should be about the same as the present B-Line bus service which is about 25 minutes.

dixon - b-line running time

This was backed up in an email received from the LRT office on June 30th.

We are awaiting updated projections that will tell us how quickly the trip from McMaster University to the Queenston Traffic Circle will take place on the proposed LRT vs our existing B-Line.  It is expected however that they will not be dissimilar from the speed of our current B-Line bus system.

If the primary benefits Metrolinx believes Hamilton will receive from an LRT system is a reduction in travel times, why are we considering a system that has no travel time advantage over what we presently have?

Sources

Hamilton King-Main Benefits Case

Metrolinx (2010)

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