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HSR strike brings buses to a full stop, leaving students with questions

Students who rely on the bus to get to campus found themselves looking for a ride this morning as the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) drivers went on strike. 

The strike started at 4:30 a.m., which normally marks the beginning of the service day for the HSR. 

Union members voted to strike because the city of Hamilton did not meet their demands for a pay increase in response to the rising cost of living.

Mohawk College has acknowledged the potential impact of the bus strike on students and staff, encouraging those affected to seek out alternative methods of transportation, such as walking, biking or carpooling.

A sign with a picture of a bus and the words "Mohawk College Terminal" beneath it.
While the HSR will cease operating for the duration of the strike, GO Transit and DARTS will continue running as normal.

Urban Planning students Leah Gyle and Alica Brady said they will be carpooling to a friend’s house, and then driving together to campus. 

“I don’t have a car but she [Gyle] does,” Brady said. “So we’re lucky that we have friends who can drive.” 

With many at the college relying on the HSR to attend, some classes or tests may have to be moved online. In an e-mail to all staff and students, the college wrote: 

“Where appropriate, some program areas may move classes online. This will be decided at the program level and communicated to students directly.” 

By contrast, McMaster University has decided to not move any of its classes online. 

Mohawk students pay for a PRESTO bus pass provided by the MSA as part of their student fees. MSA President Elizabeth-Joy Phillips wrote in a statement that should the strike continue for a long period of time, there could be a refund: 

“In accordance with our agreement with the city of Hamilton, if the strike is less than 10 days, there will be no refund of any portion of the transit pass fee. If the strike is longer than 10 days, the MSA is committed to work with the college and the city of Hamilton to determine what that may look like for Mohawk students.”  

A PRESTO bus pass on a table inside of a card-holding Mohawk-branded lanyard.
The PRESTO bus pass provided by the MSA allows holders to travel within Hamilton for free.

The last HSR strike in 1998 went on for 12 weeks, with the previous 1996 strike ending after six days due to Hamilton hosting the Grey Cup. 


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