A lot of us have been there and done that, and if you haven’t yet, you just might get the opportunity soon enough. The first bus ride is an intimidating and exhilarating experience, and I’m writing this to assure you that you don’t need to be too nervous. Here at Redeemer, you have unlimited access to the Hamilton Street Railway (HSR for short). No, there won’t be any trains picking you up outside of Redeemer’s campus anytime soon, but there are plenty of city buses that pass right by our beautiful campus to take you where you need to go. As a Redeemer University College student, you pay for a transit pass each year, which gives you access to any and all bus services provided by the HSR.
Want to go downtown to visit the James St. North Artcrawl (which happens every second Friday evening of each month, by the way!)? Want to get to the Hamilton Waterfront to enjoy an evening of skating and hot chocolate? Want to go shopping or enjoy dinner with friends at Limeridge Mall? Well, the bus can and will take you to all of these local destinations, and it really isn’t that hard either! In fact, just last year a group of Redeemer students advocated City Council for improved bus service on Garner and Rymal Rd. in order to improve our connection to downtown Hamilton, and they listened! Here are a few tips and suggestions to get you on your way to transit success:
· Ask for help! There are plenty of upper-year students who have experience with the bus system, and I am almost positive that they would be glad to help you figure it out. Don’t be afraid to ask, because their help might get you where you want to go faster than you even realized was possible.
· Google Maps is your best friend! Built into its online and mobile app map system, Google has provided transit directions based on the most current bus schedules. All you need to do is click on the little transit button before you enter in your current location and your desired destination, and Google will give you the quickest directions. They even include detailed information on where to transfer and how long your wait will be. Download the app onto your phone today, and if you don’t have data on your phone, be sure to look up directions before you leave and print them off if you need to!
· That bus you see driving through our campus several times a day is the Redeemer Shuttle. This bus drives a loop around Redeemer and the surrounding neighbourhoods to get you to the Meadowlands Terminal. A great spot for eating, shopping, watching movies or catching another bus. Schedules will be available online (unfortunately this route isn’t on Google at this time) and in front of the Student Senate office. Although the schedule may look intimidating and hard to read, it gives you detailed info on how to get to popular destinations.
· Another option (and usually the faster and less confusing one) is to hop on the 44-Rymal, the bus that stops right in front of Redeemer’s campus. This bus connects to several main routes to get you to downtown or to the mall.
· Wondering which bus route to transfer onto to get where you need to go? Here’s a helpful list:
- WATERFRONT/JAMES ST. NORTH à 20 A-LINE EXPRESS:
1. Hop on the 44-Rymal and get off at Upper James St.
2. Walk across the intersection so you are on the North-East side of the street and wait for the number 20 bus.
- LIMERIDGE MALL/HAMILTON MOUNTAIN à 26 UPPER WELLINGTON:
1. Hop on the 44-Rymal and get off at Upper Wentworth.
2. Walk across the intersection so you are on the North-East side of the street and wait for number 26 bus.
- DOWNTOWN/JACKSON SQUARE à 34 UPPER PARADISE:
1. Hop on the 44-Rymal bus and get off at Upper Paradise Rd.
2. Walk across the intersection so you are on the North-East side of the street, across from Subway, and wait for the number 34 bus.
3. Get off at King and James and you are in the heart of downtown Hamilton!
- MCMASTER UNIVERSITY/WESTDALE VILLAGE à 5C DELAWARE:
1.Take the shuttle to Meadowlands Terminal (or walk to the end of Kitty Murray Lane and wait at the bus stop in front of Montanas.)
2. Hop on the number 5 bus and get off at McMaster or in Westdale Village.
· Now you know some popular routes and destinations and how to get to them. However, please check bus schedules and/or Google maps for your return route. Some buses do not run all evening and your return route may be a bit different, so it is extremely important to figure out how you are going to get back before you head out for the night. Taxi’s aren’t cheap, my friends!
· A great resource to check out is www.hamiltontransit.ca. This is an independent website operated by a citizen of the city who really cares about people understanding the transit system.
· Make sure you are listening and watching for your stop. There is a voice prompt that will indicate the next stop, but sometimes this isn’t operating, so pay attention to the scrolling LED stop display near the front of the bus, which will indicate the next stop. When you want to get off, pull the yellow cord or press a red STOP button and the bus drive will let you off.
· Remember to breathe, relax, and have fun! There is so much to explore in this great city, and I would encourage you to take advantage of your transit pass this year. Who knows, you may even end up falling in love with downtown and plant some roots in the Ambitious City: Hamilton.