The Ontario Liberals are privatizing your public transit,
but there’s still time to stop them and Keep Transit Public!

We’re making an impact!

Over 6000 of you have already signed our petition and your pressure is working. In August, Hamilton City Council voted overwhelmingly to support the HSR running the new LRT. We achieved our first goal of getting council support!

But it’s not over yet. We now need to keep the pressure on Metrolinx and the Liberal government to ensure that they respect Hamilton’s wishes.

How is this happening?

Metrolinx, the provincial arm’s length transit planning organization, is only accepting bids from companies that can supply ALL components of the new Hamilton LRT line.

The components of the bid are: Finance, Design, Build, Operate and Maintain. (FDBOM).

Because the HSR doesn’t Finance, Design or Build, they are ineligible to compete in the tendering process, and are out of the running to Operate and Maintain the LRT. This effectively means that only large groups of private companies may even bid on the project. The current procurement process leaves the door open to the new LRT line being entirely privatized.

However, IT’S NOT TOO LATE. If you take action now, we can pressure Metrolinx and the Provincial Liberal Government to make HSR the default operator and maintenance provider of the new Hamilton LRT line.

What you can do:

1. Sign the Petition
Signing the petition will automatically send emails to all Hamilton area MPPs, as well as Metrolinx, the Ministry of Transportation, Infrastructure Ontario, and Premier Wynne’s office.

**** This is a TWO-STEP process. After you sign the petition, you will receive an EMAIL CONFIRMATION. You MUST click the link in the email to confirm your email address. If you do not, your signature will not be added to the list and emails will not be sent to stakeholders.****

2. Call your MPP

Hamilton Centre Andrea Horwath (905) 544-9644
Hamilton East Stoney Creek Paul Miller (905) 545-0114
Hamilton Mountain Monique Taylor (905) 388-9734
Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale Ted McMeekin (905) 690-6552
Niagara-West-Glanbrook Sam Oosterhoff (905) 563-1755

3. Tell your family and friends

The pressure is working, and if we can keep it going if we get our family and friends involved!

Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

Sign the Petition!

**** This is a TWO-STEP process. After you sign the petition, you will receive an EMAIL CONFIRMATION. You MUST click the link in the email to confirm your email address. If you do not, your signature will not be added to the list and emails will not be sent to stakeholders.****

Keep Transit Publically owned and operated in Hamilton

Dear honourable City Councillors, MPPs, and Madam Premier

[your signature]

6,601 signatures

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Latest Signatures
6,601 V Muzik Hamilton, ON Dec 26, 2017
6,600 Alex Medley Hamilton Dec 20, 2017
6,599 Tracy Maloney Hamilton , ON Dec 19, 2017
6,598 Nadine Wettlaufer Hamilton, ON Dec 19, 2017
6,597 Rabia Awan Hamilton, ON Dec 19, 2017
6,596 Pat Davies Hamilton, ON Dec 19, 2017
6,595 Charles Smith Hamilton, Ontario Dec 18, 2017
6,594 Constance Bellamy Hamilton, Ontario Dec 18, 2017
6,593 Rizlon Hackett Stoney Creek, On Dec 18, 2017
6,592 Blake Corkill Hamilton , ON Dec 18, 2017
6,591 Marilyn Pavao Stoneycreek , On Dec 17, 2017
6,590 Jeffrey Baird Ancaster , Ontario Dec 17, 2017
6,589 Patricia Strung Dundas, ON Dec 17, 2017
6,588 Katrina Wilson Hamilton Dec 17, 2017
6,587 Elizabeth Tessier Hamilton, Ontario Dec 17, 2017
6,586 Jackie Haynes Ancaster, Ontario Dec 17, 2017
6,585 James Barr Hamilton, Ont Dec 17, 2017
6,584 Joseph Kazubek Ancaster , Ontario Dec 17, 2017
6,583 Brandon Foley Hamilton Dec 17, 2017
6,582 SERGIO TOITO Hamilton Dec 17, 2017
6,581 Matias Rozenberg Hamilton , On Dec 17, 2017
6,580 Bryan Brice Hamilton, ON Dec 16, 2017
6,579 Jason Firmani Hamilton, ON Dec 16, 2017
6,578 Lucas Faber Hamilton, ON Dec 16, 2017
6,577 Derek Lapierre Hamilton, Ontario Dec 16, 2017
6,576 Maureen McDougall Hamilton Dec 16, 2017
6,575 Kim Jacob Dunnville, Ontario Dec 16, 2017
6,574 Connie Dalgetty Hamilton, ON Dec 16, 2017
6,573 Christopher Brown Hamilton , On Dec 15, 2017
6,572 Carissa Taylor Hamilton, ON Dec 15, 2017
6,571 John Bevan Hamilton, Ontario Dec 15, 2017
6,570 Harvey Woodrow Hamilton, Ont Dec 15, 2017
6,569 Alex Wilson Hamilton , ON Dec 15, 2017
6,568 Kevin Logan Hamilton, Ontario Dec 15, 2017
6,567 Chelsea Burke Hamilton Dec 15, 2017
6,566 Vicki Taylor Hamilton, Ontario Dec 01, 2017
6,565 Deborah Martin Dundas, On Nov 30, 2017
6,564 Loretta Hale Hamilton Nov 30, 2017
6,563 Sierra Nichol Hamilton Nov 30, 2017
6,562 Massimiliano Carboni Hamilton, ON Nov 30, 2017
6,561 Nicholas Matteliano Hamilton, Ontario Nov 29, 2017
6,560 Roxanna Rostamy Jam Hamilton, Ontario Nov 29, 2017
6,559 Norma LaForm Hamilton, Ontario Nov 29, 2017
6,558 Stephanie Ferreira York Nov 26, 2017
6,557 Brenda Paton Hamilton, Ontario Nov 17, 2017
6,556 Lily Kitigawa Hamilton Nov 04, 2017
6,555 Don Benning Hamilton Nov 04, 2017
6,554 Susan Cochrane Hamilton Nov 04, 2017
6,553 Sandra Roy Hamilton Nov 04, 2017
6,552 Christel Murphy Hamilton Nov 04, 2017

 

Quick Facts:
What you Need to Know

What:

Kathleen Wynne’s provincial Liberal government is privatizing your public transit. If you don’t act now, Hamilton’s new LRT line will be a Public-Private Partnership (P3) with a private company operating and maintaining the LRT.

We all know how the privatization of Hydro went. Higher rates and we’re still holding the bag with the debt. Let’s not make the same mistake again.

How:

How did we get here? An ideology of selling public assets for short term gain, leaving the public with a legacy of pain. Metrolinx, the provincial arm’s length transit planning organization, is only accepting bids from companies that can supply ALL components of the new Hamilton LRT line.

The components of the bid are: Finance, Design, Build, Operate and Maintain. (FDBOM)

Because the HSR doesn’t Finance, Design or Build, they are ineligible to compete in the tendering process, and are out of the running to Operate and Maintain the LRT. This effectively means that only large consortia of private companies may even bid on the project. The current procurement process leaves the door open to the new LRT line being entirely privatized.

Why:

Why have more than one transit operator in Hamilton? That doesn’t make any sense.

Public infrastructure is big money. Privatizing transit infrastructure is a shell game, allowing governments to keep debt off the books, but taxpayers end up paying anyway. At a time of record low interest rates, no private company will be able to borrow at the same rates as the government and we will all have to pay those higher rates in our taxes and our transit fares for decades to come.

The proof is in the pudding. Take a look at the London Underground and British Rail privatization train wreck. The infrastructure was privatized and it was such a failure that the government had to bail them out and take it over again.

When:

Metrolinx released a Request for Qualifications, in which interested companies put their names in the hat to build and run light rail service in Ontario, in February and that process closed at the end of March. They will be announcing the eligible bidders for the official Request for Proposals sometime at the end of June or early July.

Next, Metrolinx will put out a formal Request for Proposals

The issue is that any interested party has to commit to financing, designing, building, operating, and maintaining the light rail project. A public agency like HSR isn’t in much of a position to be able to finance, design or build such a project, but should be in the running to operate and maintain it. This is would be a step towards to keeping this new transit project publically owned and operated.

However, there’s still time for the bidding process to change in a way that would support the operation and maintenance components being done by the HSR, and not left to private companies and international consortia.

Let’s keep our transit jobs local. Let’s keep transit owned by all of us and not by private companies.

Who:

This decision will affect everyone in Hamilton and the GTHA, as well as signalling that transit should stay public to a much wider audience.  If the public raises its voice demanding that transit operation and maintenance be publicly owned, it can happen. If awareness remains low, it’s possible that the Liberal government will award your transit to an international private company driven by a profit motive.

Where:

Transit privatization is happening all over Ontario with almost no awareness in the general public. Hamilton’s LRT line is only the latest in a string of new privatized transit projects.

With your help, we can stop the privatization train wreck.

Campaign FAQ

Why is the operation and maintenance of Hamilton’s new LRT line up for bidding?

The Provincial Liberal Government, through its transit agency, Metrolinx, has decided that it doesn’t want the people of Hamilton to operate and maintain the new LRT. Instead, it would rather ask big private companies to come in and run the core of Hamilton’s transit system. They hope that private companies from elsewhere will be able to understand the transit needs of Hamilton better than the people who have operated transit here for over a century.

Why is HSR (Hamilton Street Railway) not the default operator and maintainer given that it’s already operating transit in Hamilton and is wholly owned by Hamiltonians?

A successful transit system needs to be integrated. Most people riding the LRT will be connecting to an HSR bus to get to the Mountain, to Dundas, or anywhere else the LRT doesn’t serve directly. That means that it has to be closely coordinated with the rest of Hamilton’s transit system. That’s why having an entirely separate private consortium that isn’t based in Hamilton operate the backbone of the city’s transit system makes little sense. We don’t want to have to negotiate with some company based in another city or another country every time we want to change the schedule.

What is a Public-Private Partnership (P3)?

P3s come in many forms, but put simply, they are deals where the government signs a contract with a private company or consortium to build and operate a piece of infrastructure or a service on the government’s behalf. In exchange, the government promises them a healthy guaranteed profit over the decades to follow.

Why is our transit even being considered for privatization? Isn’t transit a public service?

The great promise of public-private partnerships is reduced risk, because the private partner promises to deliver the project for a fixed price and to pay penalties if they fall behind schedule. It sounds great in theory. In practice, when private projects’ costs increase, the private partners often simply walk away if they aren’t going to make any money on the deal anymore.

That’s exactly what happened with the London Underground P3. Then the public is left to clean up the mess. Likewise, even though they may promise to pay penalties if they’re late, when the time comes they will threaten to walk away from these deals and throw the project into chaos if the government forces them to actually pay them. These companies spend millions on lawyers who know exactly how to draw up a contract that’s “heads we win, tails you lose.” Look at the TTC, which is finding it impossible to cancel its contract for streetcars with Bombardier even though the deliveries are years late.

In Hamilton, let's not forget what happened when Tim Horton’s Field was contracted out: locker rooms flooding, giant speakers crashing to the ground.

Or how about how the City of Hamilton saved more than $5.5 million after it took its water treatment service out of the hands of private contractors and brought it back in-house.

There are many more examples, but you get the point.

What has happened when transit has been privatized in other areas?

The British government decided to privatize its rail infrastructure and the result was a disaster. The privatized infrastructure company, Railtrack, cut back dramatically on maintenance to keep its profits flowing. The number of delays and accidents soared.

Eventually, the problems got so bad that they went bankrupt and the government was forced to renationalize the system. In London, the government signed a deal with two private consortia to modernize their subway, the historic London Underground.

The private companies promised a fantastic deal in their bids, but unsurprisingly they couldn’t keep their promises. As the companies realized that they weren’t going to make any money because they had under-bid and they experienced delays and cost overruns, they just walked away.

Once again, the public was left to pick up the pieces.

When everything goes great, private companies will still demand a healthy profit that comes out of taxpayers’ or riders’ pockets. When things go badly, the private companies walk away and leave the public holding the bag.

Does service improve?

Privatization does nothing to improve service. In fact, the private partner may have a strong incentive to cut back on service levels in order to increase its profits. Worse, if the city decides that it wants to improve transit service in the future, it could require renegotiating the contract. In that case, the private partner will no doubt demand a hefty subsidy.

Keeping transit public, by contrast, means that service levels are entirely up to the community and not a private company.

Does it result in better jobs?

Private transit operators consistently have higher worker turnover than public agencies. This means that workers can’t build up the skill and experience they acquire over a long career, making transit less efficient and less safe.

Is it safer?

When Britain privatized its rail infrastructure, its accident rates soared. Any private company is going to be tempted to cut back on maintenance to maintain its quarterly profits. It might not cause a problem in the short term but in the long term, it makes a transit system less safe.

Does it cost less?

In most cases, no. But even when it does, cost reductions always have to come from somewhere, whether it's skimping on maintenance, running trains less often, or paying workers less than a living wage. On top of that, private companies need to include their profits, which means an added cost that doesn't exist when transit is publicly operated. Companies often offer very low bids and promise the world to win a contract. But as soon as they run into trouble meeting their promises, they drop the contract and leave the public holding the bag.

The auditor general has said that paying a private consortium to borrow money rather than borrowing it directly has cost the Waterloo Region LRT, which is the prototype for the Hamilton project, an extra $48 million.

You’re just a union worried about losing members, right?

We are transit workers because we believe in the service we provide to citizens. At the heart of it, we benefit when transit service is good for riders. When the frequency of trains gets cut, when safety is compromised, and when the transit agency can't retain its most experienced operators, riders suffer just as much as workers.

We are also concerned about protecting good, living-wage paying jobs in Hamilton. When a private company comes in, they automatically try to cut wages and benefits in order to make a profit.

We believe that everyone in Hamilton deserves the opportunity to earn a living wage and provide for their families.

What can I do to help?

Join the movement to Keep Transit Public!

Our first action is to ensure that Hamilton’s HSR operates and maintains the new LRT line. Nobody knows the streets of Hamilton better than Hamiltonians. We know that we are the best people to care for this critical piece of new infrastructure.