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HSR Updates and New Schedule beginning December 27, 2020

Hamilton, ON – Beginning Sunday, December 27, 2020, schedule updates are being implemented by the HSR to ensure there is a reliable and sustainable plan for service to continue.

HSR will remain on a weekday service at a summer level on most routes, with the equivalent of a 100% seated capacity. This would mean a combination of seated/standing 30 customers on a 40-foot bus and 50 customers on a 60-foot articulated bus. With the mask By-law in place, City of Hamilton Public Health are not recommending HSR move to a reduced capacity at this time. Wearing a mask on public transit provides the best protection where physical distancing is hard to maintain.

Everyone is reminded, as per the City of Hamilton By-law 20-155, masks or face coverings (some exceptions) are required when using public transit; this includes HSR, TransCab and DARTS. Customers are reminded their mask should cover their nose and mouth and remain snugly on their face for the duration of their trip; and not remove their mask to eat, drink or talk on their cell phone.

HSR operators take great care in the safety of our customers and ensure that all customers follow City of Hamilton’s Mask By-law 20-155 when entering the bus. They are committed to providing a safe, reliable and professional service and do their best to limit instances of over-crowding by monitoring the boardings of customers the best they can, while safely operating their vehicle.

Operators continue to take an educational approach, as we know wearing a mask provides protection where physical distancing is difficult to maintain. It is important to note, it is the responsibility of individuals to adhere to physical distancing and respect the measures implemented. MLE does not have the capacity to enforce the by-law on board HSR buses; please reach out to By-law directly at 546-2489 if you require more information.

Throughout all stages of the pandemic, recovery, and re-opening, HSR has consulted with and taken recommendations from the Provincial Medical Officer of Health, City of Hamilton’s Public Health Services, and the Emergency Operation Center, while continuing to support the City of Hamilton’s Hamilton Reopens efforts.

Updates - PRESTO ADOPTION: removal of paper media from circulation

  • Earlier this year, Hamilton City Council approved the removal of paper media (HSR paper Bus tickets and monthly passes) from circulation. The PRESTO fare card system was approved by Council and implemented with the intent of replacing legacy paper tickets and paper monthly pass products.
  • HSR discontinued the paper monthly passes on October 31, 2020. As of November 1, 2020, passes are available only on a PRESTO card. 
  • Paper tickets have stopped being sold on October 31, 2020; tickets are now only available on a PRESTO card. 
  • HSR will continue to accept paper tickets already purchased until December 31, 2020.
  • PRESTO E-Ticketing – using a smartphone and a credit card, you can pay with the PRESTO E-Tickets mobile app. PRESTO E-Tickets cost the same price as paper tickets and allow for a 2-hour transfer window.
  • Residents who are 80 years and older will receive a one-time free PRESTO Card when they obtain their Golden Age pass for unlimited free transit in Hamilton.
  • A special purpose ticket has been created for social agencies and school boards that utilize paper tickets to support their clients; and available at the Customer Service Office at 36 Hunter Street East. Customers may also purchase up to two (2) special purpose tickets at a time at the Customer Service Office They will remain available until PRESTO has released suitable functionality that meets their needs.
  • Staff are currently working with PRESTO to rollout equipment to vehicles utilized by DARTS.  More information will become available as the project progresses.
  • View more about Presto Cards and Frequently Asked Questions

Schedule Highlights

Beginning Sunday December 27, 2020:

  • Routes 1, 2, 4, 5, 11, 12, 16, 18, 20, 43, 44, 52A are operating regular weekday service
  • Route 42 operating on Saturdays
  • Routes 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 33, 34, 35, 41, 55, 58 are operating a reduced weekday service (service reduced during peak periods only)
  • Routes 9, 51, 56 and 99 will not operate.
  • School Extras – HSR will continue to monitor the demand and supplementary buses may be added on a route by route basis if necessary, to reduce capacity problems should they arise
  • Customers are encouraged look at the PDF timetables on our website for each route description for further details on frequencies.

Holiday Season Service Levels

  • Friday, December 18, 2020
    • Last day of School Extra operation.
  • Monday, December 21 to Thursday, December 24, 2020
    • The current level of service will operate.
  • Friday, December 25, 2020 (Christmas Day)
    • Special Holiday level of service will operate from approximately 6 am to 9 pm on routes that normally operate on Sundays.
    • Routes 9, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 42, 51, 52A and 56 will not operate.
  • Saturday, December 26, 2020 (Boxing Day)
    • A Saturday level of service will operate on routes 1, 2, 21, 25, 26, 41 and 43.
    • There will be no service on 9, 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 42, 51, 52A and 56.
    • A Sunday level of service will operate on all other routes.
  • Thursday December 31, 2020 (New Year's Eve)
    • The Hamilton Street Railway will operate a regular weekday service on December 31st, 2020
    • Customers can ride the HSR for free on December 31st, starting at 6 pm

For schedules, FAQ’s and more information, visit:

Background Information

  • As a result of COVID-19 physical distancing measures implemented; current ridership levels for transit are averaging approximately 44% of daily service demand compared to the same period last year.
  • HWDSB and HWCDSB have implemented an adjusted schedule for secondary school students who are returning to in-person classes, which may shift a portion of the HSR’s afternoon peak periods on transit to mid-day.
  • Most post-secondary students will not be returning to in-person classes this winter. Mohawk College, Redeemer University and McMaster University campuses will continue to have service provided on nearby routes that will operate on a summer-level of service, to support students who are required to attend in-person instruction, labs and assessments.  As a result, Route 51 University service will not operate.
  • Post-secondary students who require transit can purchase standard adult fares ($2.50/trip) or an adult monthly pass ($110/month) using their PRESTO card.  Otherwise, a cash fare is $3.25 per trip.
  • Customers can plan their trips, find their schedules and get their next bus information using the following options:
    • Online trip planner:
    • Mobile apps: HSRnow, Google Maps, Transit App, Mon Transit (search the app store for details)
    • Online PDF downloadable route schedules
    • Text messaging: Send “HSRnow  ####” to 25370 (where #### = stop number)
    • Phone: 905-527-4441 for automated next bus information and to speak with a customer service representative who are available 7 days-a-week, from 7:30 am to 8 pm
    • MacNab Terminal platform displays
  • HSR Customer Service phone lines: 905-527-4441 - are answered daily from 7:30am to 8pm, except for December 25th (Christmas Day) when calls will be answered from 9 am to 5 pm.
  • The HSR Customer Service counter at the Hamilton GO Station (36 Hunter St. East), is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, not including statutory holidays.
  • The HSR Customer Service counter at the Hamilton GO Station (36 Hunter St, East,) will be closed on:
    • Friday, December 25th (Christmas Day)
    • Saturday, December 26th (Boxing Day)
    • Friday, January 1st (New Year’s Day)
  • HSR Lost and Found is open at reduced capacity. Due to COVID-19, pick up times for items may be delayed. If you have left something on the bus, please call 905-546-2424 ext.1882 between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • As Macnab Terminal remains closed and there is no public access to these facilities, we are reminding customers if you are traveling with HSR during the winter, to please dress accordingly. City Hall washrooms are available between the hours of 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
  • HSR is asking customers to respect the designated priority seating area and show consideration for those whose need is greater than their own.