NEWMARKET – The first workday of 2006 marks the opening of the fourth stage of the Viva Rapid Transit service. The Pink Line began operating today, providing a new week-day peak period service along Yonge Street and Highway 7 from Finch Station to Unionville Station. It will run from 5:45 a.m. to 9:10 a.m. and from 3:10 p.m. to 6:20 p.m.
"The opening of the Pink Line represents another significant milestone, and brings us one step closer to full implementation of Viva Phase One," said Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch. "Viva has been implemented in four stages since September and early reviews are extremely positive. Ridership numbers are steadily increasing as awareness grows and as people have an opportunity to try out this innovative new service."
In September and October 2004, 2.8 million people boarded York Region Transit (YRT) buses. For the same two months of 2005, 3.4 million people boarded YRT and Viva. After adjusting the number for people transferring between the two services, ridership has increased overall by approximately 30 per cent.
"The ridership numbers are extremely encouraging and we are confident that the upward trend is going to continue" said Town of Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell, Vice Chair of the York Region Rapid Transit Steering Committee. "I am proud of the fact that Viva has been implemented smoothly, with every stage opening right on schedule for the benefit of thousands of riders. I applaud all of those on the front lines delivering the Viva service each and every day."
The stages of Viva implementation included:
- On September 4th, Viva began running along Yonge Street from Finch Subway Station to Bernard Station, and along Highway 7 from York University to Town Centre Boulevard.
- On October 16th, Viva expanded along Highway 7 from Town Centre Boulevard to McCowan, from Martin Grove via York University to Downsview Subway Station, and from Unionville Station to the Don Mills Subway Station.
- On November 20th, Viva expanded along Yonge Street from Bernard Station to the Newmarket Terminal. Along Highway 7, weekday peak-hour service extensions will be added from York University to Martin Grove and from Unionville Station to McCowan.
Service to Cornell in the east end of Markham has been delayed and is expected to be completed later in the year.
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, to GO Transit, to the Region of Peel and eventually to Durham Region.
Frequency is the hallmark of Viva with rapid transit vehicles arriving every five to 10 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. Tickets are valid for 120 minutes, providing passengers up to two hours to hop on and hop off to run errands. Along with this frequency and flexibility, Viva also provides real time information so passengers know exactly when the next vehicle is arriving.
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 in 2007.
"Viva is a tremendous rapid transit service that will benefit people in York Region and throughout the GTA for generations to come," added 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.yorkregiontransit.com
or call toll-free at 1-866-MOVE-YRT (668-3978).
For TTC routes, please visit the TTC website at www.ttc.ca
or call 416-393-INFO (4636).
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