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‘We all end up paying for it’: Protestors against transit privatization rally outside Hamilton city hall

Light Rail Transit is coming to Hamilton and some people are worried.  

Protestors stood outside of city hall on Oct. 16 to bring awareness to the privatization of public transit.  

People gathered around the podium to listen to guest speakers talk about what could happen if transportation in the city turned private.  

“What ends up happening in this model is you have one big corporation that builds the transit line, but they farm out all of the work to a whole bunch of different contractors,” community activist Karl Andrus said.  

Andrus said that with too many hands in the pot, what ends up happening is nobody takes responsibility.  

“When you have this many systems interacting with one another, what ends up happening is a blame game where all the different contractors point to each other,” Andrus said. “At the end of the day, we all end up paying for it.”  

The LRT is going to be 14 kilometres long and will have 17 stops between McMaster University and Eastgate Square.   

According to Metrolinx, the new system will transform how Hamiltonians travel around the city.   

It also says that it is more than just transit and the project will include replaced sewers, restored sidewalks and more.  

Eric Tuck, who is the president of the amalgamated transit union, started raising awareness on the privatization of transit back in 2014.   

“We want to make sure that the upcoming LRT is kept public,” Tuck said. “Just like public healthcare and public education, public transit is a vital service. It brings equity, it brings community, it brings good affordable jobs with pensions, wages and all of the things that really matter.”  

Protestors wearing blue stand around eachother. One person in a wheelchair has a sign that read "Ontario works because we do."
People gather outside of city hall wearing blue in support of public transit.

People stood shoulder to shoulder in the pavilion outside of city hall to listen to Tuck’s speech.   

They cheered along while holding signs that read “Keep Transit Public” and “For the People”.   

Tuck explained what happened in Ottawa after privatization and how he does not want it to happen here.  

“When they brought in the public-private partnership in Ottawa it got off to a late start and then they had problem after problem, including two derailments,” Tuck said. “When it comes to safety, they didn’t deliver. The fact of the matter is that Ottawa taxpayers and Canadian taxpayers are paying the bill for this.”  

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