By: Vanessa Polojac
Rabeena Obaidullah’s candidacy is about breaking barriers in accessibility, integration and community. But for a platform built on student interest, it lacks certain aspects of consideration and confirmation.
Centering the platform around five pillars, Obaidullah focuses most of the first pillar on transportation with the extension of a Go bus route while also bringing the car-share service of UberPool to Hamilton and the McMaster community. Obaidullah’s platform fails to better the lives of students with these new transportation plans.
In principle, a significant number of students on campus reside in Ancaster, Hamilton Mountain, Stoney Creek and Waterdown where HSR service is not routine. This makes for a long commute to campus. Obaidullah did not specify any plans to improve Hamilton Street Railway.
Obaidullah promises to extend the 40 Go bus route that takes students directly from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport to the Main and Paisley bus stop. Obaidullah argues that this bus route only works for students who live near the Westdale area, opposed to those who live on campus and in other student neighbourhoods where this route is not as accessible.
Obaidullah is proposing for this route to stop at McMaster University’s Go terminal to benefit international students, out-of-province students and students from different parts of Ontario. Obaidullah has not specified why she has focused on the 40 route, considering that many popular bus routes such as the 16 route to Union Station also do not service the McMaster University bus terminal.
Additionally, Uber already exists in Hamilton as a single-occupancy service. Ride-sharing options are not currently present in the city. UberPool pairs questions going to destinations close to each other to allow users to share the cost. It currently exists in larger cities such as Toronto.
The service has had many conflicts and difficulties in the city of Toronto and GTA with a delayed timing of arrival as well as payment issues. In an UberPool, both passengers will pay 20 per cent less than a standard UberX fare during off-peak hours and roughly five to 10 per cent during the night, according to Uber’s own calculations.
While bringing UberPool is a possibility under Hamilton’s new licensing laws for Uber, it remains unclear whether or not Uber would bring such a service to Hamilton, given that they have only rolled out UberPool in major urban spaces like Toronto.
With all of this said, Obaidullah does not list any points in her platform to improve the HSR despite students paying for an HSR U-Pass.
Overall, Obaidullah’s platform points focus on marketplace solutions, but do not address the difficulties of working with non-campus partners nor does she address how she plans on working with current community partners.