For two summers during my undergrad, I worked at an office in the Hamilton downtown core. I took the bus from Westdale Village every morning, and rode the HSR home every afternoon. And every day, I resented having to pay for a service I used endlessly for a small flat-fee during the regular school year.
Call me entitled; in many ways, that’s an accurate description of my attitude towards the absence of a summer bus pass. But when McMaster graduate students have a year-round agreement with the HSR and the summer pass is only available to Mac undergraduates enrolled in summer classes (and still only saves students $16 a month), my disappointment in the current MSU agreement is warranted.
Now that the MSU-HSR contract is up for renegotiation before renewal, I hope to see some changes.
David Campbell (MSU President) and Jeffrey Doucet (MSU VP Finance) have been pushing hard on the student transit issue since August, and an announcement regarding a new agreement is expected for next week. Major points the new agreement is expected to address include summer service and expanded hours of service through campus to cater to late-night student activity.
I hope the powers-that-be sit up and take notice of the argument that summer and late-night service is important not only to student life enhancement but also to stimulating the Hamilton economy.
Graduate rentention in a city notorious for appearing heavily unattractive to prospective McMaster students, and for those students then staying within the “campus bubble” while at school, is an important issue for the City to address.
One step towards keeping educated, energetic grads in the city is to make Hamilton more welcoming when they are students, be that encouraging them to stay and work through the summers or to simply explore the city at all hours.
Hopefully the new MSU-HSR agreement reflects students needs and the potential students have for rejuvenating the Steel City.