Public transit ridership way up in York Region

Steady investments in public transit benefiting more commuters

MARKHAM, ON, June 14, 2011 /CNW/ - The Regional Municipality of York reports that Viva ridership has increased 26 per cent since launching in September 2005. From January to April 2011, overall ridership for both York Region Transit (YRT) and York Viva Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) services increased 10.5 per cent when compared to the same period in 2010. If this trend continues, YRT/Viva will surpass 21 million riders in 2011.

"We are pleased that so many people in York Region continue to choose public transit," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch. "The consistent and considerable increase in ridership over the years is a testament to the progress we have made to improve public transit, attract new riders and shape our growing communities."

Last month, Metrolinx, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation (YRRTC) and The Regional Municipality of York formalized an agreement that provides funding and guides the construction and implementation of the $1.4 billion York Viva bus rapid transit system.

"We know that when we make significant and consistent investments in public transit that produce convenient, comfortable and cost-effective travel options, more people will choose transit as an alternative to driving," said Metrolinx President and CEO, Bruce McCuaig. "We are working very hard at Metrolinx to transform the transportation system for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), and we are pleased to have this partnership with York Region to fulfill a shared goal to expand and enhance the liveability of the communities served by public transit."

Because bus rapid transit lanes or 'rapidways' are dedicated lanes in the centre of the road, they allow Viva transit vehicles to avoid congestion and maintain even faster, more consistent travel times.

On behalf of Metrolinx, York Region will manage the design, construction and community outreach, and will also oversee all day-to-day operations, routine maintenance decision-making and delivery of service. Metrolinx will be responsible for asset preservation and replacement decision making and funding.

Metrolinx, an agency of the Province of Ontario, provides leadership in the coordination, financing and integration of all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). A seamless, integrated regional transit network with a focus on public transit means people and businesses will be able to move more easily across the GTHA, making cities more liveable and the economy stronger, while protecting the environment. For more information, go to www.metrolinx.com.

York Region's 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 about the vivaNext plan, please visit www.vivanext.com.

SOURCE Metrolinx

For further information: Dale Albers, York Region Rapid Transit Corporation, 905-886-6767, ext. 1020; Ian McConachie, Metrolinx, Media Relations, 416-874-5975

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