The finishing touches of a $565,000 HSR improvement project, originally scheduled for completion in November 2012, are underway.Four monitors have been installed inside the MacNab Transit Terminal downtown to provide next bus information to passengers.
They will be accessible between 6am and 9pm while the building is open, and partially visible for late-night bus riders.
According to the initial project plan, there are supposed to be another seven monitors install throughout the terminal. No work has started on this phrase of the nearly year-late project.
The data feed to this monitors will be secure – preventing anyone from using the information for open data applications and depriving citizens from having real-time transit information on their mobile devices.
It is not known when the long-overdue display monitors will go live.
Overbudget and late again
The terminal opened late in 2011. Originally scheduled to open in August 2010, numerous parts of the project were late.
HSR Open Data – when?
Last update from HSR staff regarding open data was not optimistic. According to staff, the HSR’s equipment is not capable with open data applications.
Despite having the same systems – at the same cost – as other transit systems using Metrolinx’s Presto card, Hamilton’s equipment is uniquely incapable of providing customer data.
HSR staff have not provided a timeline for reporting on what is needed to make Hamilton’s system’s open data compatible.
Nor have HSR staff explained how Hamilton purchased the same equipment, at the same unit cost, as other transit agencies with less features.
The digital clocks
Another project HSR staff are working on is determining how to set the time on the digital display clocks at the HSR terminal.
No budget or timeline have been provided to make the clocks operational.
Council rejected community partnership
I wrote, on behalf of Open Hamilton, a letter to Council asking them to delay approving this spending last May to explore partnering with the local community to build a more cost-effective and higher-quality signage network.
Council, at the request of HSR staff, rejected any community partnership. One of the reasons cited was a partnership would delay the project, work was underway, and the HSR could not provide transit data to the general public.
Here’s a copy of the letter: