November 15, 2007
Media Release

Bio-diesel to make Viva even greener to ride

Regional Council approves switch to bio-diesel blend for entire Viva fleet in 2008
NEWMARKET – York Regional Council today approved the use of a cleaner-burning bio-diesel fuel blend in all 90 Viva rapid transit vehicles in 2008.  The integration of the biodegradable, earth-friendly fuel will significantly reduce tailpipe emissions, making Viva an even greener alternative to driving a car.
“Continual enhancements to our transit fleet, including our choice of fuel, are part of our ongoing commitment to forward-thinking public transportation,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “We are confident in the capabilities of bio-diesel to effectively support our transit operation, while positively impacting the environment.”
A 2007 pilot project conducted by York Region Transit (YRT) and the Region’s contracted Viva operator Veolia Transportation demonstrated a significant decrease in tailpipe emissions from the use of bio-diesel fuel in five Viva test vehicles.  Pilot project results show a minimal increase to operational cost; however, carbon monoxide emissions were significantly reduced by an average of 22 per cent.
Bio-diesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel produced from vegetable oils and/or animal fats.  The Bio-product contains no petroleum, but can be blended with petroleum diesel to create a bio-diesel blend.  The 2008 Viva fleet will be fuelled with a 20 per cent bio-product to 80 per cent diesel blend from mid-spring to mid-fall, switching to a five per cent bio-product to 95 per cent diesel blend for the colder months.
“One Viva vehicle can take over 40 cars off the road and now it can do that fuelled on bio-diesel,” said Town of Markham Regional Councillor Jim Jones, Chair of the Region’s Transit Committee.  “I am pleased to see public transit in York Region offering yet another incentive to leave the car at home.”
The switch to bio-diesel blend fuel is pending final 2008 budget approval and is subject to continued successful operations and emissions tests.  The cost to extend the program to the entire Viva fleet in 2008 is estimated at $200,000.  Ongoing evaluation of the program will be used to assess the merit of expanding the use of bio-diesel fuel in the YRT fleet.
For more information about YRT/Viva services, please visit the YRT/Viva website at or call the Customer Service Centre at 1-866-MOVE-YRT (668-3978). 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit
Media Contact: Kim Sinclair, Communications Specialist, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 1209 or Cell: 905 251-6412

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