Tag Archives: Viva

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Different modes of transit in Greater Toronto – removing political spin and disinformation


Photo By Myke Waddy, Sept 5th 2006. Health Sci...

Photo By Myke Waddy, Sept 5th 2006. Health Sciences LRT Station, Edmonton, Alberta. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Explaining different modes of transit in the G.T.A; removing political spin and disinformation

Found a great article on transit through “What happens to public opinion when LRT is explained”. It is a great piece, which is quite informative. Take some time to read the article. Cherise Burda takes to time to explain the differences between subways, light rail, GO Trains, rapid bus and right-of-way streetcar modes of transit.

Markham is building for the future


A 2005 Van Hool newA330 stops at Warden Vivast...

A 2005 Van Hool newA330 stops at Warden Vivastation, in Markham, Ontario. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Markham wants to build a 20000 seat arena and entertainment complex that will rival the Air Canada Centre. In a way it makes perfect sense. There has been a lot of talk around bringing an NHL team to Markham, however I believe Toronto residents and possibly the media have it backwards. I used to live in Markham and based on the makeup, demographics and changes in Toronto, I think it will do quite fine with or without a team. Markham is building a new downtown and the facility is part of the plan. With a large ethnic mix of Asian and South-Asian residents; along with the diversity of York Region and north Toronto, other uses are possible. It’s perfectly situated near the Unionville GO station and is well served by VIVA. I remember when prices for brownstone styled homes were listed at $400000. At the time I thought it was high, but now it seems like a bargain. Will it work, who really knows. The world does not only revolve around downtown Toronto. I believe that Markham politicians have recognized that the times are changing and they are betting that they will be on the right side of the future.

Strike! Lots of confusion in York Region (YRT and VIVA)


There seems to be a lot of confusion over what is running and what is not in York Region. Details from the YRT/VIVA site are listed below, however there is much confusion over exactly which routes are not in operation. Some TTC routes, that go into Markham are still in operation.

Southeast Division (Miller Transit)

  • 51 YRT routes in the Towns of Markham, Richmond Hill and Whitchurch-Stouffville, with some routes in the City of Vaughan

North Division (First Canada)

  • 29 YRT routes in the Towns of Newmarket and Aurora with some routes in the Towns of Richmond Hill, East Gwillimbury and Georgina

Viva Division (York BRT Services)

  • Five Viva routes operating in the Towns of Markham, Richmond Hill, Aurora, Newmarket and the City of Vaughan
For more details click here or here. For details on the services unaffected by the strike, please review the information below.
  • Traveling on other YRT routes – The strike does not affect service along more than 30 YRT routes in the Southwest Divisionthat Veolia Southwest provides. These routes mostly serve the City of Vaughan, but also parts of the Towns of Aurora, Markham, Newmarket and Richmond Hill and the Township of King. You can find out whether buses operate along your route here.
  • Traveling on north / south TTC buses in York Region.
  • Traveling on GO Transit buses and trains and Brampton Transit Züm buses. (Brampton Transit may add extra service on the 501 Züm Queen route to help passengers that usually use the Viva orange service between Martin Grove Road and York University’s Keele Campus.)
Note: Seems it maybe best to catch a Go Bus, Go Train or at least try the 99 bus.

VIVA Bus Drivers in York Region and the ATU


 

VIVA

VIVA

I am not sure if the union members of the ATU for VIVA are living in a cavern somewhere but there is a global economic crisis. This strike has gone on for long enough. It is time to GET BACK TO WORK and figure this out now! Viva is York Region’s express bus rapid transit service, supplementing YRT’s local services. York has contracted Veolia to operate its 90 Viva buses for about $20 million annually. I think we’ve had enough of this strike! It is time for transit to become a priority for our politicians. Make transit an essential service!

Time to make York Region Transit an essential service

Update: Hooray! The strike is over! A two-week strike by 170 Viva bus drivers in York Region is over. Drivers voted Friday to accept Veolia Transportation’s contract.

URGENT NEWS! Viva Strike is back on for York Region…


 

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

YRT - VIVA BRT Strike

I am listening to the news and it seems that the VIVA strike is back on for tomorrow morning @ 4AM. There has definately been a break down somewhere down the line. The news is on CFRB and 680News at the moment. The information below is from 680news. Make alternative plans now!

Note: This does not affect YRT buses, however there is no way that they can handle the load, so the contracted TTC buses and GO Transit may become good alternatives. I will try to post information about alternatives a bit later. 

Update: You can arrange a lift through Carpool Zone or to call the YRT/Viva Customer Service Centre, at 1-866-668-3978. Extra customer service agents would-be available on the phone and at the main service centres.

http://www.680news.com/more.jsp?content=20080924_194001_11804

Opinion: I am starting to wonder, is it is time for Metrolinx to take over ALL transit services in the G.T.A (the Greater Toronto Area) and make it an “essential service”? Or is this a rejection of ATU Local 113 and Bob Kinnear?

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2008/04/26/5395786-cp.html

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080418/transit_strike_080418/20080418?hub=TopStories

http://www.cfib.ca/legis/ontario/pdf/on0375.pdf

York Region Viva bus service ends Wednesday September 25 2008 at 4am – No service in York Region


 

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

VIVA on strike for Wednesday

680News staff | Wednesday, September 24th, 2008 7:42 pm

 

Thirty-five-thousand commuters in York Region will have to find another way to work or school come Thursday morning.

That’s because Viva bus drivers will go on strike starting at 4 a.m.

Union members turned down a tentative settlement by 61 per cent, Wednesday, and that group represents 165 bus operators.

In a press release, Bob Kinnear, President of ATU Local 113, which represents the bus drivers said “we are a democratic union and our members have spoken.”

He added “Veolia management [the company that runs Viva Transit] knew that the strike would being tomorrow (Thursday) if their offer was turned down and I have informed them of the results of the vote.”

The major issues in negotiations are wages and sick time.

At this point no further talks have been scheduled.

All York Region Transit (YRT) buses will continue to run as usual because they are not part of Viva Transit.

read more | digg story

Quitely released press information – Government of Canada invests in Toronto Transit


No. H 218/08
For release – September 5, 2008

FLAHERTY ANNOUNCES FUNDS WILL BEGIN FLOWING TO SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

Spadina Extension to Vaughan

TORONTO — People living and working in Toronto will begin to benefit soon from reduced traffic congestion, shorter commuting times, and cleaner air through the Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension. The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced that a contribution agreement has been signed by the federal, provincial and municipal governments, meaning that funds for the completion of the project will now begin flowing.

“The Government of Canada is helping to provide the students, commuters, and families of the Greater Toronto Area with transportation options, getting people out of their cars and onto public transit,” said Minister Flaherty. “We are committed to working with our provincial and municipal partners to improve transportation infrastructure across the country. The Toronto-York Spadina Subway extension is an excellent example of how we’re delivering real results.”

The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project encompasses an 8.6 kilometre extension to the Toronto Transit Commission’s Spadina subway line, extending subway service to York University and the Vaughan Corporate Centre. With the signing of the contribution agreement, the Government of Canada will commit to paying up to $622 million under the Building Canada infrastructure plan towards the design and construction of this project. This is in addition to the $75 million already received by the project under the Public Transit Capital Trust.

In addition to the funding being made available for the Spadina Subway extension, several other transit projects in the GTA are being funded by the Government of Canada. They include:

  • York VIVA (Phase 1) — $50 million toward a $164 million bus rapid transit project;
  • York VIVA (Phase 2) — up to $85 million toward the second phase of this bus rapid transit project;
  • GO Transit Rail Improvement Program — $385 million toward a $1 billion project; Through this project, six of the seven rail corridors being used by GO are being upgraded, as well as some work around Union Station;
  • Brampton AcceleRide — $95 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $285 million Bus Rapid Transit project;
  • Mississauga Bus Rapid Transit — $83 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund toward a $249 million project; and
  • Toronto Transit Commission Strategic Capital Projects — $350 million from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund towards a $1.2 billion project.

The Government of Canada provided $500 million for public transit infrastructure in Budget 2008. This will provide up to $194.5 million to Ontario under the Public Transit Fund. Under the previous Public Transit Capital Trust, the Province of Ontario has received $351.5 million, which it can use for various transit projects over the next three years. In addition, all Ontario municipalities will continue to receive a GST rebate.

“It’s clear that for the Government of Canada, investing in transportation infrastructure for the people of the GTA has been a key priority,” Minister Flaherty said. “We are delivering on this priority even further today with the Spadina Subway extension.”

– 30 –

Contact:
Chisholm Pothier
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Finance
613-996-7861

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.

Before You Move: Where Are The Next Transit Hubs?


Toronto Light Rail NetworkHere’s an easy question: where do you live?

Now here’s a much harder one: where should you live to ensure you’re near a GTA transit hub and how will the TTC’s plans for expansion impact the value of your home?

The answer to both queries can be worth thousands of dollars because the old real estate axiom about location, location, location has a well-known addendum: being near a subway or major transit route can instantly increase what your home is worth without you having to do anything at all.

But can you tell where they’re going to build or if the place you’re looking to buy will one day find itself on a subway or major transit line? The answer is yes, if you believe government plans about where officials hope to put the new routes.

Adding transit takes years of planning and a commitment of millions of dollars and all of it has to be done well in advance. That means the powers-that-be know where they’ll be putting the new tracks and trains as much as a decade or more before a shovel actually hits the ground.

One of those locations could be along waterfront-adjacent Cherry Street, which would make the folks on Condo Row lick their collective chops at the thought of bulging resale values.

“Streetcar access is phenomenal in terms of adding to value and presence … people want to be on a streetcar line,” said David Jackson, a Toronto urban planner.

Plans for the new tracks could start as early as spring 2009, while the underground expansion of the Don Mills subway line all the way to Morningside could have homeowners on the north side of town dreaming of dollars, though there’s no official date for that project to commence.

So just how much of a bottom line difference are we talking about here?

“Easily thirty to fifty thousand dollars,” confirmed Toronto realtor Janice Mackie. “Thirty thousand dollars is a parking spot … you don’t have to purchase that.”

What’s more, given the constant rise in gas prices and the GTA’s traffic volume, the Better Way may soon be looking even better still.

And while the two mentioned above are among the more central and immediate transit expansion schemes in the works, there are dozens of others being hatched around the GTA and Ontario as well.

Toronto Transit City

Here’s where you can check out the best laid plans that are being laid out right now.

Transit City: Can tell you about planned expansions in the city of Toronto.

Transit City map: Have a peek at what a future light rapid transit system might look like.

Move Ontario 2020: See the plans for the rest of the GTA here.

Move Ontario 2020: See a map for the GTA

Waterfront Toronto: The downtown core may soon look a lot different than it currently does.

Metrolinx: Transforming transit in the GTHA

See original CityTV News video and read more | digg story

Toronto Transit Strike – The people are mad as hell!


A midnight strike by the TTC caught many people off guard, some showing up early this morning expecting a train, bus or streetcar only to find the lines abandoned. Last night, clubgoers poured out of bars when news of the strike spread.

“No way, no way,” Jorge Bayona, out with friends at Yonge-Dundas Square, said at 11:40 pm. “You’re kidding me. We live an hour away.” The shock on his face escalated to panic, and he and his friends started trying to conjure up contingency plans.

Danielle Consett, 25, also expressed anger at the TTC’s union for voting against the tentative agreement – in favour of a last-minute strike.

“It’s a danger to society,” she said. “It’s selfish. We have rights, too. We have the right to know about a strike 48 hours in advance.” In subways, an announcement was made at 11:23 p.m. telling ticket collectors over their private intercom that service would be shutting down at midnight.

A public announcement didn’t start until almost 11:30 p.m.

Many people showed up this morning at bus stops and subway stations on their way to work unaware therewas a strike.

TTC Strike

“It’s closed?” asked Dora Loyuk, 27, watching someone try to open doors at College. “I had no clue…” Loyuk was heading to work in the Richmond and Peter Sts. area. She said it will take her about a half an hour to walk.
“I’m going to have to call in and say there is no subway today. If they can give me more time to walk, then that’s fine.” At the Pape station, commuters who had not yet learned of the strike were stunned to find the doors locked.

“They should be shot,” said one man, apparently stranded from reaching his job. “Some people have to work, you know,” he said.

read more | digg story

Are you looking for transit related information?


Are you looking for transit related information? Have you had enough of the political promises? Look no further than the links below. From opinion on GO Transit expansion to the TTC spending and more, check out these links below for excellent commentary on transit related issues.

  • The Toronto LRT Information Page – informing GTA residents on what LRT (Light Rail Transit) is all about; promoting the idea of LRT as a preferred rapid transit option in most of the Greater Toronto Area.
  • Steve Munro – Transit Advocate – One of the best, if not top, transit advocate for the GTA. Taking time to analyze our transit options and how we spend our precious transit funds in the Toronto area.
  • Stephen Rees Blog – A transit advocate who worked for the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority on wide variety of policy issues. He offers enlightened opinion on transit related issues and light-rail.
  • Durham Transit Review – Covering news about public transit in Durham Region in Ontario.
  • Urban Toronto – Transportation & Infrastructure – Discuss transit related issues in Toronto.

If you have anymore links, please feel free to let me know and I will add them to my blogroll!

Andy MJ
Toronto,
Ontario

The Subway Now group of York Region and the VIVA BRT


In an effort to be entirely impartial, posting the opinions of others, I’ve decided to list a link to the “Subway Now” group. Although I understand what they are attempting to do I still wonder who is going to really end up paying for the extension of the subway to Richmond Hill at Hwy #7 and Yonge Street. I definitely like the picture of the subway train that they are using for their banner. I wonder if that’s what our new subway trains will look like (O-Train’s from Ottawa). But, I digress! Again, you can read a statement from the website below. Essentially they want to stop plans for a BRT, using VIVA buses, down the middle of Yonge Street in favour of a subway to the 407. Tax payers of Markham, Richmond Hill and Thornhill be prepared to “pay your share” and not expect Toronto to pay for the operation of it alone. Ironically, this extension probably makes more sense then the Sorbara Subway. However, I am worried about the amount of people that will travel on Yonge. Will it end up being a Scarborough RT situation, where the subway cannot handle the amount of people traveling on the line?

As a side note, if you are wondering, yes I’ve added them to the public transit links on the right panel; however let’s not confuse this with outright support. I still think Toronto has larger problems and added more people to an already congested Yonge line is not going to help Toronto’s woes. You will start to see links from various transit advocates in a new panel, as soon as I get to it.

From their website:
York Region should abandon its costly and controversial plans to construct dedicated bus lanes down the centre of Yonge Street, now that the provincial government has committed funding for the subway extension from Finch to HWY 407.

Since the Government is throwing around funds and gifts this season maybe a subway line along Don Mills Road, from Fairview Mall, or Finch, would at least help to alleviate some pressure on the Yonge line. But I guess I am dreaming in Technicolor!

By Andy MJ
a.k.a. “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

For more information about the “Subway Now” group, see the link below.

http://subwaynow.ca/

http://subwaynow.ca/blogus/

Sheppard: TTC subway to nowhere? Then finish it!


“Construction booms, but opinions remain sharply divided as the often-derided Sheppard line turns 5. The futuristic chrome plating in Sheppard-Yonge station already looks a little scuffed. But it was only five years ago – Nov. 22, 2002 – that then-mayor Mel Lastman cut the ribbon to open Toronto’s northern east-west subway line, accompanied by a phalanx of dignitaries, reporters, children and musicians”. Read from the Toronto Star article.

—————————————————————————————————————–

TTC Sheppard SubwayI could not help myself but to comment on this well written article from the Toronto Star. As always, I still feel that the Sheppard line must be completed before going to Vaughan. VIVA already had a plan for an LRT into Toronto, which would have served the needs to Vaughan residents. As I mentioned before along with going east to Scarborough Town Centre and western portions should be completed also, with the possibility of going north to York University or better yet, west towards Jane and Finch and beyond. The northern portions of the City of Toronto deserve a subway crossing the top of the city from East to West, line the Bloor-Danforth line. I am all for an LRT network, but I also feel that if you start something than it should be finished. Politicians and planners like to talk about intensification and density. If this is the case, please tell me why we are even talking about a subway to Vaughan, better yet to York University? I agree that the Sheppard line could have simply been an LRT; however it is too late for that now. What we have is a subway that should be finished. The problem has always been the cost and unfortunately the longer we wait, the more expensive it gets to dig.

TTC chair Adam Giambrone has been quoted many times saying “Instead of spending a billion dollars to finish the line, we can do (about) 10 times as much LRT for that same amount of money,”.

Sure he is correct! However how is having an LRT along Sheppard, from Malvern to Don Mills station going to provide a seamless mode of transportation for users? Or is it a case of lets just put something there so we do feel so bad about Sheppard? To be honest I understand what they are attempting to do for the city of Toronto. While they are offering the money lets take it and build something quickly before they take the money back. Who knows what will happen if another government gets in power in the future. But lets be honest, are we making the right choices with Transit City? LRT’s can work in the right circumstances if it is done properly, however has anyone noticed the fiasco on the St. Clair ROW? In the end it will be a better option for St.Clair residents, however I beg to wonder if they have really thought out the plan. Not every area has the charm of St.Clair. That’s not to say that other areas are not charming, just different. Streetcars and trams just work well in certain parts of the city where interchanges between stops need to be short in distance.

Looking at the Sheppard line, if it was completed to Scarborough Town Centre, there could have been the opportunity to even go south and connect it to the Bloor-Danforth line. Or better yet, in the not so distant future go west and then south connecting it to the airport? Sure I am dreaming in Technicolor, but I am starting to wonder if they are making the best choices for the city? What about the “intensification” at Scarborough Town Centre? The development that would take place at Scarborough Town Centre would be immense, if the city allows it. There is a large opportunity to allow for high-density development in this part of the city.

I personally believe that they should concentrate on providing upgraded LRT’s for the downtown areas of Toronto, on ROW’s and utilizing “Transit Malls”. In the downtown area “Transit Malls” can work. Queen Street and King Street are early candidates. There are also other routes in the downtown region that could use tram or streetcar type service. In addition, I have often wondered why has Toronto not considered VIVA styled buses for Toronto on BRT’s, instead of LRT’s? VIVA has shown that it can work! Providing people with a comfortable ride and information, as to when the bus will arrive are good options for the city. Don Mills could use a VIVA styled BRT, stopping at only at Steeles, Finch, York Mills, Lawrence, Eglinton, Flemingdon Park and then express to downtown. There are many areas in the city where a VIVA styled system could be used.

Vanhool Extended

In the end we need to finish the Sheppard line and do more with it! Let’s go west with the Sheppard subway line and finish the project; providing fast and convenient transit for other portions of the city. We do not need to go to Vaughan! The city of Toronto needs to take care of its own transit priorities. We can make it work! We just need a politician with vision that will do what must be done!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

read more | digg story

 


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