Green scales back push for HSR to run Hamilton LRT

Coun. Matthew Green has scaled back his push for HSR to operate and maintain Hamilton’s new LRT system.

New proposal aims at making sure LRT employees are part of local union

The future of Hamilton's LRT will be discussed at city hall on Monday. (Metrolinx)

Coun. Matthew Green is scaling back his push for HSR to operate and maintain Hamilton's new LRT system.

In a new proposal unveiled today, Green suggests that HSR would not run the LRT system as originally requested, but that all employees working on the LRT line below the rank of supervisor would be represented by Amalgamated Transit Union Local 107, which also represents HSR employees.

The shift in philosophy comes after Metrolinx told the city in a letter that it "strongly recommends" against HSR running LRT. A city staff report showed it would delay the project, and cost the city nearly $1 million right away.

"I just don't think there's public will for it — I think there were some salient issues brought up in the letter," Green said.

But, he added, including Local 107 as a union for employees would enable fair wages.

"It's not a good job if it's a precarious one," he said.

Metrolinx initially planned to hire a third party to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the system through a public-private partnership. Then this summer, as Metrolinx was getting interest from companies, city council asked if HSR could operate and maintain the system.

While the city's original ask, which was endorsed by council, would have caused delays and a new RFP process, Green's revised motion would appear to allow the original RFP to move ahead.

All this comes at a time where the city's transit system is particularly under fire, with sky high absenteeism rates and the public reporting problems with late, no show and overcrowded buses.

Earlier this week, Ward 1 Coun. Aidan Johnson revealed a motion that would drop council's request that HSR be put in charge of operating the LRT line altogether.

Both motions will be discussed on Monday at city hall.