September 7, 2005
Viva Rapid Transit launches in Ontario’s York Region
Richmond Hill, Ontario – Viva, the first bus rapid transit service of its kind in the Greater Toronto Area, launched yesterday in the Municipality of York, north of the city.
The Governments of Canada and Ontario each contributed $50 million to the first phase of this initiative, under the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, while York Region contributed $80 million.
Viva’s rapid transit vehicles arrive every five to ten minutes during peak periods. New fare vending machines will sell tickets that can be used on both Viva and York Region Transit with no price increase; the tickets are valid for 120 minutes, giving passengers time to hop on and off to run errands. Viva will also provide real-time information so passengers know exactly when the next vehicle is arriving.
The Viva service will be rolled out in four stages between September 2005 and 2006. It uses Belgium-built vehicles that are fully wheelchair-accessible, operate on clean-burning fuel and meet the latest government emission standards. For now, there are 40 vehicles, but the number is expected to reach 85 when the system is fully operational. When the first phase is fully implemented, York Region estimates that it will lead to a 30 per cent increase in transit ridership, or an additional 4.5 million riders, taking 7,000 cars each day off major arterial roads. More information can be found at www.vivayork.com.