Highway 7 Viva Bus Rapid Transit Service opens in City of Markham

MARKHAM, ON, Sept. 15, 2014 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation; the Honourable Michael Chan, MPP Markham-Unionville; Bill Fisch, Chairman and CEO, The Regional Municipality of York; and Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO, Metrolinx, officially marked the opening of the next segment of bus rapid transit (rapidway) that will run in the centre median of Highway 7 in the City of Markham. 

Viva rapid transit service extended its use of the rapidway along Highway 7 from Highway 404 to South Town Centre Blvd. The remaining two stations will open by the end of 2014.

"This is an important project that is contributing to the growth and development within the City of Markham and will benefit the local economy for generations," said Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation. "This will help ease congestion, and commuters will have a better way to get around on an improved rapid transit system. This project is proof of our government's commitment to making the daily commute and quality of life better for Ontario families."  

"The expanded vivaNext rapid transit system will make it easy to travel in and around York Region and connect to other transit systems across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)," said Michael Chan, MPP for Markham-Unionville. "The vivaNext rapidways will reduce travel times and increase reliability of existing transit service along the heavily congested sections of the transit corridors."

"Today's rapidway opening marks another significant milestone in York Region's rapid transit network," said Bill Fisch, York Region Chairman and CEO. "The Highway 7 East rapidway provides our residents with an alternative and efficient means of travel to and from work, school, shopping and entertainment destinations using transit."

"This is a transformative transit project for York Region and another example of transportation progress in the GTHA," said Bruce McCuaig, President and CEO of Metrolinx. "The York Viva BRT project is one example of Metrolinx's commitment to reducing traffic congestion, connecting key travel centres in the region and keeping people moving."

The transformation of this section of Highway 7 includes wider boulevards, more trees and shrubs, and dedicated bike lanes with rapid transit stations designed for safety and comfort.

The stations include arched glass canopies inspired by transportation architecture from historic and modern European examples. The 27-metre glass canopy offers protection from the elements, including ultraviolet sun protection and a nine-metre enclosed and heated waiting area. The details at Viva stations complement the existing Viva technologies, including off-board fare collection, GPS navigation, real-time information, PRESTO and new card reader and traffic signal priority. Safety and accessibility features include a textured surface near platform edge, level boarding from the platform to the bus, a public address system for updating riders and an emergency call button.

The York Viva bus rapid transit (BRT) project represents $1.4 billion in provincial transit investment, and is an example of The Big Move in action – Metrolinx's 25-year plan to implement a common vision for transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The project is being implemented by Metrolinx, an agency of the Province of Ontario. For more information, please visit www.metrolinx.com.

York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) is responsible for the planning, design and construction of the full vivaNext rapid transit network and related infrastructure to deliver on the transit priorities set out in the York Region Transportation Master Plan. YRRTC is a wholly-owned subsidiary and share capital corporation of The Regional Municipality of York. The vivaNext plan is a key component of the vision outlined by Ontario's Places to Grow Act, which aims to manage growth in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way that enriches communities. For more information, please visit www.vivanext.com

SOURCE: Metrolinx vivaNext

For further information: Nicole Lewis, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, 905-505-1042, nicole.lewis@york.ca; Alex Burke, Metrolinx, 416-202-5726, alex.burke@metrolinx.com; Patrick Searle, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Minister's office, 416-327-1815; Bob Nichols, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Communications Branch, 416-327-1158

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