An angry gut reaction from the public greeted Hamilton Street Rail’s new weight-based bus fare announcement. Although 60.9% of Hamiltonians are overweight or obese, critics say this bloated by-law will penalize the wrong people.
Scales built into the entrance ramps will be phased in over the course of two years, beginning in 2014. Each rider’s weight will show on a sign at the front of the bus. The flat rate is $2.00 for the first 180 lbs, with anything above that increasing $0.05 for every 10 lbs.
“The intention is noble,” says Dr. Lyle Peevers, a general practitioner in Stoney Creek. “But muscle weighs more than fat. I suggested using a body fat caliper in conjunction with the scale – otherwise they’re charging the wrong people.”
This is not the first time the transit system has been affected by City Hall’s concern for obesity. Last December, the City Staff suggested a halt on LRT because it arms portly Hamiltonians with excuses to avoid walking.
The full report outlined tax savings, less-crowded buses, and a shared burden of the health care system. When reporter, Coleman Joey, asked if it was possible that this by-law may violate citizens rights, long-time staffer, Kip Midmeal quipped, “Fat chance.”
The talks concerning weight-based fares are far from over. Mayor Bob Bratina , however, would nip this growing issue in the bud before it “weighs down council any longer.”
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