August 3, 2005

York Region Viva fleet has a new home


NEWMARKET – Viva rapid transit vehicles (RTVs) will be stored and maintained at a new operations and maintenance facility in the Town of Newmarket.  The facility was purchased by York Region earlier this year.


“The north maintenance facility was previously used by a trucking company and the layout is convenient for storing, servicing and cleaning our large Viva RTVs,” said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We were fortunate to locate such a modern space that meets the requirements of the Viva fleet.”


The north maintenance facility is situated on three acres of property located just west of Yonge Street and north of Davis Drive.  The building has approximately 32,000 square feet, which includes 12 drive-through bays for RTV servicing, storing and cleaning, along with a drive-through wash bay.  The building also has a waste oil disposal facility and locker and shower facilities for Viva employees.


In June 2005, Connex was awarded the contract to operate and maintain the fleet of Viva rapid transit vehicles for a five-year period.  The contract, totalling more than $112 million, was approved in March by York Regional Council following a comprehensive evaluation process.


“This operations and maintenance facility is ideal because it provides sufficient space for our management, service team and RTV operators,” said Earl Segriff, Operations Manager, Connex.  “The work we do at this facility is vital.  Here we train the operators and ensure the Viva RTVs are maintained to the highest standards, so when we hit the streets in the next few weeks, we can provide our passengers with the quality of service they expect and deserve.” 


In order to be prepared for the service launch in September, 150 RTV operators are being trained to operate the fleet of 25 18-metre vehicles and 60 12-metre vehicles.  They are also receiving instruction on the Viva brand and customer service requirements through various courses, one of which is referred to as “Viva University”. 


Connex is an operations and maintenance transportation firm with over 50,000 employees serving more than one billion passengers a year in five continents.  It currently operates conventional bus operations, bus rapid transit, light rail, subway, commuter rail, ferries and taxis.  Connex has extensive experience maintaining the same type of Van Hool vehicles to be used in York Region.  The company’s European division maintains 240 Van Hool vehicles in Antwerp, Belgium.   


Viva will have two operations and maintenance facilities; the primary facility in the Town of Newmarket and a secondary facility in the City of Vaughan.  Operation of Viva’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) will be carried out at a control centre in the Town of Richmond Hill.


The Viva rapid transit system is designed with passengers in mind, offering a service that’s frequent, flexible and comfortable.  Rapid transit vehicles will arrive every five to 10 minutes during peak periods.  The modern Viva stations and terminals will have fare vending machines, allowing passengers to purchase tickets quickly and easily before boarding.


When passengers get their tickets, they will have up to two hours to get on and off Viva or YRT to run errands or just have a relaxing lunch – without having to pay an additional fare.  Along with this flexibility and convenience, Viva will have electronic displays at every stop and station indicating when the next RTV will arrive.

                                                                                                                                                                      Viva will link York Region’s urban centres of Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora and Newmarket along four major corridors, including Highway 7 and Yonge Street.  In addition, Viva will link York Region with the City of Toronto and its subway system, to GO Transit and to the transit systems in the Region of Peel and eventually into Durham Region.


When the first phase is fully implemented in 2006, York Region estimates these initial improvements will lead to a 30 per-cent increase in transit ridership or 4.5 million additional rides – moving 7,000 car trips a day off the major arterial roads.


The Viva rapid transit service will begin operating in 34 days, and will be implemented in four stages between September 2005 and January 2006.


For more information on Viva, please visit the Viva Web site at:


For more information on the Regional Municipality of York, the services offered and links to the nine area municipalities, please visit the York Region Web site at:




Media Contact:           Dan Miles, Communications Specialist, York Region

-          (905) 886-6767, Ext. 2250

-     Email:

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