May 25, 2006
Media Release

Viva named most innovative transit system in North America

 
American Public Transportation Association awards Viva with 2006 Innovation Award
 
NEWMARKET – Viva Rapid Transit has been named the most innovative transit organization in North America by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) for its pioneering public-private partnership and its agility in getting from vision to reality quickly.
 
This is the first time a Canadian transit system has won the APTA Innovation Award since 1984.
 
“I am honoured Viva has been selected for the APTA Innovation Award,” said York Regional Chair and CEO Bill Fisch.  “Innovation is a hallmark of Viva, whether it is on-board wireless internet access, more comfortable seats or real-time information displays.  Viva continues to break new ground in transit while offering our commuters the comfort and convenience of rapid transit.”
 
The APTA nominating committee praised Viva as the first Bus Rapid Transit system of its kind, adding Viva’s unique partnership between the public and private sectors and its rapid implementation of the project’s first phase make it a new model for carrying out major transit projects.
 
“A primary goal of Viva is to encourage people to leave their cars by providing a transit experience like no other,” said Town of Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell, Vice Chair of the Region’s Rapid Transit Committee.  “The APTA Innovation Award is recognition Viva is achieving on that goal.”
 
Viva will be formally presented with the APTA Innovation Award at the organization’s annual conference in October.  It is awarded to an organization that has demonstrated innovative concepts in the provision of public transportation services.  Past winners include transit systems in Boston, Massachusetts and Portland, Oregon.
 
Viva links the Region’s urban centres of Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Aurora and Newmarket.  It also links York Region with the City of Toronto and its subway system, GO Transit, the Region of Peel and eventually with Durham Region.
 
This is the first of three Phases in a 20-year transit expansion plan.  In Phase 2, York Region will build dedicated transit lanes separating Viva vehicles from mixed traffic.  If funding is secured and as the environmental assessments are approved, construction could begin as early as 2007.
 
“Viva’s first phase has been a tremendous success,” added Chairman Fisch.  “But Phase 2 will free passengers from gridlock, get them to their destinations sooner and convince more people to choose transit over traffic.”
 
For information on Viva Rapid Transit, please visit: www.vivayork.com
 
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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and our services, please visit www.york.ca
 
Media Contact: Vijay Chauhan, Communications Specialist, York Region Rapid Transit
 Phone:  (905) 886-6767, Ext. 2250 or Cell: (416) 315-5633
 Email: vijay.chauhan@york.ca

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