Bus lanes

First Stretch of Viva Rapidway Opens in York Region

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RICHMOND HILL REAL ESTATE – After months of anticipation, Viva’s first stretch of Rapidway rapid transit is open for business on Highway 7.

An official launch on August 18 saw Viva buses finally making use of the exciting and environmentally-friendly Rapidway initiative, which we covered back in January as part of our Downtown Markham Neighbourhood Profile. This first completed multi-station stretch extends from Bayview Avenue to Highway 404, providing Richmond Hill’s residents and visitors with ultramodern transit stations and a dedicated Highway 7 bus lane.

Speaking in Richmond Hill on August 16th, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Glen Murray said the Rapidway is a major step in encouraging York Region residents to consider environmentally-friendly transportation choices.

“The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area is facing a gridlock crisis that is costing our economy an estimated $6 billion a year,” Murray told media and members of the public. “The Ontario government is taking action by moving forward with the largest transit investment in a generation to get the region moving.”

Murray was joined by York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch, who noted that the launch of Richmond Hill’s Rapidway segment was launched four months ahead of schedule – a huge achievement for the region and an optimistic signal for the work ahead.

“We will continue to work hard to complete the remainder of the rapid transit project over the next five years bringing over 37 kilometres of Rapidways to York Region,” promised Fisch.

The next segment of Highway 7’s Rapidway will see it extended all the way to Enterprise Drive in Markham, and is scheduled for completion in 2014.

While a pilot version of a Rapidway station has been in service at Warden Avenue for two years, here are some of the key benefits Markham’s residents can look forward to when it is joined by more Rapidway stations in the west part of town:

  • Real-time information on bus arrivals, supported by GPS technology.
  • 27-metre glass canopies, designed specifically to offer riders comfort and protection against the elements.
  • New card readers and support for Presto cardholders.
  • Accessibility features such as level platform-to-bus boarding.

Viva’s bus rapid transit (BRT) initiative is still ongoing, with help from a $1.4 billion provincial investment – a key part of Metrolinx’s “Big Move” plan for reducing congestion in the GTA. York Region residents can keep up with Rapidway progress, and take a look at some other worthwhile projects, by visiting www.vivanext.com.

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