February 16, 2006

York Region Viva rapid transit fleet expanding

 

NEWMARKET – The fleet of Viva rapid transit vehicles is expanding to keep pace with the steady growth in ridership.  Today, York Regional Council approved the purchase of five additional Viva 60-foot articulated vehicles from the award winning Belgian bus manufacturer Van Hool.  These vehicles will be available for service beginning in 2007.

 

“The fact we need additional vehicles is a tribute to the excellent service Viva is providing throughout our Region,” said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Commuters are using both Viva and York Region Transit (YRT) in growing numbers, and are finding tremendous value in our frequent and comfortable service.”

 

The total cost of the vehicles is $3,882,793, plus applicable taxes.  Regional Council is seeking to cost share the purchase with the senior levels of government, possibly through the Ontario Transit Vehicles Program and York Region’s portion of the Federal Gas Tax.

 

“This is a worthwhile long-term investment that will improve service and eventually lead to a reduction in traffic congestion and improved air quality throughout the Region,” said Township of King Mayor Margaret Black, Chair of the Region’s Transit Committee.  “The growth in ridership over the past few months has been tremendous, but we cannot afford to rest on our laurels.  I encourage everyone to park their keys and give Viva a try.”

 

Due to increased ridership and congestion growth on Yonge Street, the Viva Blue Line is quickly reaching capacity.  Between September 2005 and December 2005, Viva and YRT experienced an increase in the number of boardings on Yonge Street of more than 33 per cent.  The increase in the number of boardings in the system overall was more than 21 per cent.

 

The boarding numbers for the entire Viva/YRT system are as follows:

 

 

2004

2005

% Change

September

1,461,789

1,747,262

+19.5%

October

1,400,554

1,688,958

+19.2%

November

1,511,648

1,853,355

+21.4%

December

1,355,823

1,691,703

+24.8%

Total

5,729,814

6,943,278

+21.2%

 

During the first four months of operation, midday boardings (between 9:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.) on the Viva Blue Line have grown significantly.  During a midday trip from Newmarket to the Finch station along Yonge Street, people are now getting on and getting off each Viva vehicle an average of 81.6 times.

 

“The large number of people getting on Viva midday is the result of our two-hour hop on, hop off policy,” added Chairman Fisch.  “People are using transit to go out for a quick lunch or run a few errands.  It’s innovations like these that are attracting a whole new generation of riders.”

 

Viva links the Region’s urban centres of Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora and Newmarket.  In addition, Viva links York Region with the City of Toronto and its subway system, GO Transit, the Region of Peel and eventually with Durham Region.

 

Frequency is the hallmark of Viva with rapid transit vehicles arriving every five to 12 minutes during peak periods.  New fare vending machines, located at all Viva stations and terminals, sell tickets that can be used on both Viva and YRT with no increase in price.  Viva also provides real time information so passengers know exactly when the next vehicle is departing.

 

This is the first of three Phases in a 20-year transit expansion plan.  In Phase Two, the Region will build dedicated transit lanes separating the Viva vehicles from mixed traffic.  If funding is secured and the environmental assessments approved, construction could begin as early as 2007.

 

“Viva is a tremendous rapid transit service that will benefit people in York Region and throughout the GTA for generations to come,” said Chairman Fisch.  “Although this initial phase offers passengers a package of innovative rapid transit elements, Phase Two of Viva will truly put the “Rapid” in rapid transit.”

 

For more information on YRT routes and fares, visit the York Region Transit Web site at www.yrt.ca or call toll-free at 1-866-MOVE-YRT (668-3978).

 

For information on Viva Rapid Transit please visit: www.vivayork.com

 

For TTC routes, please visit the TTC website at www.ttc.ca or call 416-393-INFO (4636).

 

For live transit updates with reporter Rebekah Murdoch, tune in to A-Channel weekday mornings between 6:35 a.m. and 8:35 a.m.

 

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For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca

 

Media Contact:        Dan Miles, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation

                                 Phone:  (905) 886-6767, Ext. 2250 Cell 416 989-6186

                                 Email: dan.miles@york.ca

 
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