*If HSR mismanagement could ruin my transit trip tonight, it did.
*The Hamilton Street Railway is a challenging public transit system to use: buses run late, detours happen, and the HSR information services will always claim 100% on time, on route performance.

It’s typical of a poorly managed transit agency and the clock is ticking towards the kind of user revolts that changed the culture of the TTC and OC Transpo.

Tonight, I tried to get from Dundurn and King to Henderson Hospital. I scheduled my trip to arrive at 22:15, I didn’t arrive until 22:50 thanks to the HSR’s mismanagement and poor service.

HSR management place trainee on busiest route

It all starts with the decision of HSR management to place a trainee for “platforming” on one of the busiest, most challenging routes in the City the night before St. Patrick’s Day.

The 5C/5A runs do not have any recovery time between 19:00 and 22:00 – meaning that a late bus remains late regardless of the efforts of a driver to catch up. The time given for the route to drive from point A to point B does not reflect reality – but it looks nice for schedulers at HSR HQ.

Platforming is the term used within the HSR for on-route training during the last few weeks before drivers are assigned to bus routes. It’s the first couple of times a driver is moving passengers and learning all aspects of real world bus driving.

If the HSR management were doing their jobs well, they’d ensure there was time for training and place the trainee on a route more appropriate.

Instead, they placed a trainee on a McMaster route the night before St. Patrick’s Day – it’s mismanagement at it’s best. Needless to say, the bus I was waiting for ran late.

No 51-University bus

Not to worry, there is a 51-University scheduled 8 minutes after the bus I waited for. Except that HSR policy is to pull 51-University buses to other routes when there are shortages elsewhere.

Tonight, the 51-University I waited for was pulled out of service.

Finally, at 22:09, I board a 5E bus. I’m only 20 minutes late at this point.

Buses downtown don’t wait for connections

The 5E bus I rode arrived downtown at 22:14 – just in time for passengers to watch all connecting buses leave without them.

Unlike many transit agencies with real-time GPS, the HSR does not use technology to improve customer service by ensuring passengers get bus connections at night.

I had the pleasure of watching the bus I want drive past me as it left the MacNab Transit Terminal. The clocks at the terminal duly reported the time as “9:15” – yes, the HSR hasn’t changed their digital clocks at the terminal to reflect daylight savings time

Schedules are for losers

Just when I thought my HSR experience couldn’t get worse, it did. The next bus I could take to Henderson Hospital arrived in the terminal at 22:22. Great I thought – I’ll be leaving at it’s scheduled time of 22:30.

I was wrong.

The driver decided to take an extra long break and we didn’t leave until 22:36.

The HSR – they’ll get you there …. late.