Expanding the GRT network

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(Photo by Kha Vo)

As university and college students start arriving in the Region of Waterloo, Grand River Transit (GRT) will be implementing its fall schedule, which includes increasing the frequency along several major bus routes within Waterloo, and adding new routes.

One of the most important additional routes is a new iXpress bus route, the 202 iXpress, which is starting its first runs this September.  It runs between Conestoga Mall and The Boardwalk at Ira

Needles via Erb Street West and University Avenue. It will run every 15 minutes during peak and midday periods, and will be free all day on Fridays between September 6 and December 27.

Rapid transit continues to be an on-going discussion in the region.  Tim Mollison, spokesperson for Tri-Cities Transportation Action Group (TriTAG), explained how the Rapid Transit Master Plan of the Region of Waterloo (RTMP) is looking to create a frequent service network.

“The region lacks a frequent service network.  We want to create a better brand, and brand the iXpress routes as a service that runs every fifteen minutes or better,” he said.

The RTMP illustrates the creation of three additional iXpress routes within the next few years to compliment the three already running in September 2013.  These routes focus on the areas of Coronation, Highland-Victoria, and Cambridge.

The RTMP is changing the way the Region of Waterloo has traditionally looked at transit.

“These stop are going to be a 600 to 800 metre walk,” Mollison explained. “It is going to be much healthier, while still offering the comfort and security of a steady and fast service.”

The transit plan focuses on high employment centers as well as popular routes for students.  There is a focus on those who use transit as a necessity, but also making the transit system accessible  enough to sway commuters to consider the option.

Mollison remains pragmatic in this attempt to sway commuters.

“Transit should not focus on the middle class; they just don’t use it.”

The region is growing, and the discussions on rapid transit are in happening all over.  With multiple infrastructure changes happening in the next few years, only rider feedback will show if rapid transit is the best choice for Waterloo region.

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