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Hamilton is hiking HSR bus fares Sept. 1. What new service do you get for your money?

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Hamilton is beefing up HSR bus service on the city’s major north-south route between the harbour and the airport starting in September.

Those Route 20 A Line changes, along with other service tweaks on the east Mountain, also come with a five-cent fare hike beginning Thursday. Kids age 12 and under still ride free, however.

Hamilton council committed to bus service improvements in its spring budget — as part of its ongoing 10-year HSR strategy — that include 14 new buses, 43 hires and 49,000 new service hours.

That strategy, and the latest incremental improvements, are meant to make HSR travel “more attractive” to would-be riders, said transit director Maureen Cosyn Heath in a release. The changes are also supposed to help make the city “rapid ready” ahead of a $3.4-billion light-rail transit project slated to begin construction in 2024.

The latest series of service improvements start Sept. 4 — with notable changes including all-day Saturday service to the airport on the Route 20 A Line bus between 5:25 a.m. and 12:14 a.m., as well as rush-hour weekday service every 10 minutes.

On the east Mountain, the HSR will also improve frequency and extend service on Route 43 Stone Church to residential areas along Green Mountain Road West.

All trips on Route 22 Upper Ottawa will now extend to Glover Road in the Red Hill Business Park, but will in future skip the Anchor and Bigwin area. Residents headed to that area can transfer to Route 43 Stone Church and exit at the nearest bus stop to their destination.

The latest upgrades come with a five-cent price hike for all non-cash fares.

So, a cash fare will remain at $3.25, but Presto card payments for adults will rise from $2.55 to $2.60 and seniors will pay $2.15, up from $2.10.

A summer half-price incentive for bus-riding teens is also ending, meaning riders aged 13 to 19 will pay $2.15 for a single ride using Presto starting Sept. 1. (During the summer, they could ride for $1.05.)

A pilot project allowing kids under 12 to ride free will continue into next year. An experiment with on-demand transit in Waterdown will continue through the fall.

The HSR is still trying to lure back customers after a pandemic plunge in ridership that last year cut the number of regular bus users in half.



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