Official launch of the EasyGO traveller information systems



    KITCHENER, ON, June 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Today marked the official launch of
the EasyGO traveller information systems for the Region of Waterloo. EasyGO is
being funded by Transport Canada, the Government of Ontario and the Region of
Waterloo.
    EasyGO is a key component of the region's iXpress service, which was
initiated under Transport Canada's Urban Transportation Showcase Program. The
iXpress service provides quick travel along a 35-kilometre central transit
corridor in the Waterloo region and now carries over 6,000 riders daily. This
service showcases the latest in transit technology - an automatic vehicle
location and automatic passenger counting system, transit signal priority and
now the suite of EasyGO traveller information systems.
    "The iXpress project is an example of our government's successful
partnerships to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from urban transportation in
Canadian cities," said the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport,
Infrastructure and Communities. "The project is a step towards a rapid transit
system in the Waterloo region that will continue to support urban renewal,
enhance residents' quality of life and improve the economic vitality of the
region."
    At iXpress stations, monitors display real-time information and next
station announcements are automatically displayed and announced on iXpress
buses. Monitors at the two main transit terminals and at malls show real-time
information for iXpress buses and scheduled times for all other bus routes. An
interactive voice response telephone system and text messaging service provide
the scheduled arrival times for the next three buses at any bus stop selected
by riders. A web-based trip planner allows riders to select their best travel
option on Grand River Transit.
    "The development of efficient, well-used and sustainable public transit
is key to the achievement of the goals of the Places to Grow Plan for the
Greater Golden Horseshoe," said the Honourable John Milloy, Minister of
Training, Colleges and Universities and Member of Provincial Parliament for
Kitchener-Centre. "New transit innovations like iXpress and EasyGO position
the region well to fulfil its ambitious plans for a rapid transit system."
    The iXpress service runs Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. at
15-minute intervals during the morning and afternoon rush-hour periods, and at
30-minute intervals during the midday and evening, and on weekends. Because of
continued ridership growth and demand, midday frequency is being increased to
15 minutes in September 2008.
    "Since the region created Grand River Transit in 2000, we have invested
heavily in expanding our transit services," said Ken Seiling, Chair of the
Region of Waterloo. "Our latest initiative, EasyGO, helps people by making it
easier to plan their trips and get to where they want to go."
    The region has seen Grand River Transit ridership increase by over
50 per cent since acquiring transit operations in January 2000.

    Transport Canada is contributing up to $3 million in funding to cover up
to one-third of the cost of iXpress service, with the provincial government
contributing up to $1.9 million through the Golden Horseshoe Transit
Investment Partnership Program and the region contributing $4.1 million. The
Region of Waterloo was selected as one of eight municipalities across the
country to receive funds under the Urban Transportation Showcase Program.
    The program funds projects that demonstrate the impacts of a range of
strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from urban transportation,
and expand the range and convenience of sustainable transportation options for
Canadians. The program was developed following consultations with provincial,
territorial and municipal partners, and others.
    This week is Canadian Environment Week, an opportunity to focus on the
impact Canadians can make towards a cleaner environment, healthier communities
and a better quality of life for all. For more information on activities
taking place in your community this week, visit the Community Calendar
available on Environment Canada's website at www.ec.gc.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Graham Vincent, Director, Transportation,
Planning Region of Waterloo, (519) 575-4489; Connie Coggan, Office of the
Honourable John Milloy, MPP, Kitchener Centre, (519) 579-5460; Karine White,
Office of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa,
(613) 991-0700; Eric Gillespie, Director of Transit Services, Region of
Waterloo, (519) 585-7597 ext. 7270; Media Relations, Transport Canada, Ottawa,
(613) 993-0055; Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca. Subscribe to news
releases and speeches at www.tc.gc.ca/e-news and keep up to date on the latest
from Transport Canada. This news release may be made available in alternative
formats for persons with visual disabilities.


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