Posts Tagged ‘YRT’

as technology advances, every little step counts

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

as technology advances, every little step counts

We are always amazed to see examples of technology that depart from the norm. Like this driverless drone “sky taxi” that will begin flying customers in Dubai, United Arab Emirates this summer. If everyone had their own personal drone it would certainly change the daily commute!

Sometimes though, it’s smaller innovations that change transportation for the better for people. Bus rapid transit that rides in dedicated bus lanes is now part of the landscape in Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Newmarket. At the end of this year in Vaughan, the Toronto-York Spadina Subway will change how many people commute.

Within a transit service there can also be improvements and innovations. YRT/Viva’s goal is to be emissions free by 2051, and their 2017 Annual Service Plan notes several pilot and trial programs underway, including:

  • Electric Bus Demonstration and Integration Trial
  • Alternative Fuel Study
  • Small bus strategy

Over time, these smaller changes can make a big difference. Just fifteen years ago, few people would have predicted that bus customers would be able to zip past congested traffic on Highway 7. And while subway extensions have been a priority for a long time, it’s pretty amazing that residents of Vaughan will soon be living so close to a subway line.

Dreaming about new innovations for the future is one thing; making it happen is definitely another. And in York Region we’ve made these changes together. The future looks bright with more innovation to come!


want to know the difference between vivaNext and YRT/Viva?

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

the difference between vivaNext and YRT/Viva?

Every now and again, members of the community either see vivaNext and YRT/Viva as one and the same, or take one of us for the other. We thought we would help to clear up exactly how they differ.

The essential difference between vivaNext and YRT/Viva is what they do:

  • vivaNext plans and builds rapid transit and the facilities associated with it.
  • YRT/Viva maintains and operates the buses and system elements.

While we each operate as separate organizations, we are connected – much like cousins. Here is a little family history:


York Region Transit [YRT] came into being in 2001 when York Region amalgamated five municipal transit agencies.

Viva was launched in 2005 as an additional transit service that focused more on “rapid”. Viva Bus Rapid Transit features faster service, off-board payment and traffic signal priority technology. The next stage of Viva BRT was the move into dedicated bus lanes known as “rapidways”, and began with the route on Highhway7 East in Markham. The rapidway project was designed, planned and built by vivaNext!

YRT/Viva operates both types of transit together. YRT, which travels in and out of neighbourhoods, feeds customers into Viva as one cohesive system.


York Region soon recognized that there was a real need for transit infrastructure projects to move forward quickly. As a result – VivaNext was born as the project name, and York Region Rapid Transit Corporation was the company managing the project. Once funding was received in 2009, vivaNext became more than a plan – it became a brand for the construction projects transforming York Region’s busiest roads. It includes dedicated lanes and Vivastations in the rapidways – as well as facilities and terminals in key locations across York Region.

As each vivaNext project is completed, YRT/Viva takes on the operations with service and maintenance plans.

Transit is evolving in York Region and vivaNext and YRT/Viva are collaboratively working together to make that happen. What it means to you is convenient transportation in attractive, well-connected communities.

a connected transit terminal

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

a connected transit terminal

This morning, we marked the beginning of construction for a new YRT bus terminal in Vaughan Metropolitan Centre [VMC]. The news release gives the basic project information, but doesn’t delve into how this terminal will connect in the GTA transit network:


Well, it is a bus terminal. YRT buses will use this terminal, taking customers in and out of York Region’s neighbourhoods and to places farther away like Brampton and northern Toronto. Customers will also be able to walk to the VMC vivastation in the middle of Highway 7, where Viva will take them away on dedicated bus rapid transit lanes. They’ll walk about two minutes above ground, or when the weather is frightful they’ll take the underground path and escalator, elevator and stairs to reach the vivastation.


Customers will take the underground path or walk along landscaped paths outside to the VMC Subway Station entrance just south of the terminal, to access the underground concourse for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. The subway concourse is actually under the vivastation on Highway 7 – stay tuned for a future blog about this.

walking and cycling

The VMC area is planned as a walkable area with tree-lined sidewalks and places to live, work, shop and take transit. The terminal will meet accessibility standards, and customers will be able to walk or cycle there from any direction.


The terminal is near the intersection of Highway 400 ad Highway 407, so a passenger pick-up and drop off [aka. “kiss ‘n ride”] will be included, encouraging carpooling.


So it’s not your typical bus terminal and it’s more than a place to wait for the bus. It’s about connections, and where they’ll take you from here.


rapidways >> who goes there?

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

rapidways >> who goes there?

We have rapidways open on Highway 7 East, and on Davis Drive, and most people who live and work near these new rapid transit routes know who has access to the rapidways – buses! In fact, the rapidways are paved in red and painted with “bus only” to prevent others from accidentally entering the lanes.

There are a few others who are allowed to drive in the rapidway lanes. Ambulances, fire engines and police cruisers are permitted in an emergency to get past traffic quickly and safely. This is an added benefit that the rapidways bring to each community – saving valuable time when it’s truly needed.

Vehicles such as snow plows and street cleaners maintain the rapidways as needed. Maintenance and security staff from YRT/Viva operations and their contractor, TOK Transit, also access the rapidway stations and their marked vehicles may be seen at the far end of a station platform. This part of the platform is ramped on one side for their use – but this ramp should never be used by regular traffic to cross the rapidway.

Pedestrians and cyclists have access to any vivastation via the traffic signals and crosswalk, but should never jaywalk or cycle across or along rapidway lanes. To do this is risky because it’s unexpected and distracting to both Viva operators and drivers in regular traffic. And although we fully support active and alternative modes of travel, you also can’t travel the rapidway lanes in a scooter or wheelchair, skateboard, motorcycle, hoverboard, segway, golf cart, unicycle… or any other interesting mode of transportation we haven’t thought of yet!

You may wonder why Viva buses use the rapidways, but YRT buses don’t. The reason is that YRT buses either need to turn on and off the road frequently to gather customers, or their purpose is different – e.g., more stops, turning into shopping plazas, etc. Viva and YRT routes are evaluated by YRT/Viva’s Service Planning branch on a regular basis, and service changes are made to routes and schedules as needed.

A street that includes a rapidway is a complete street, with space for doing everything in a safe and efficient way.  Hope you get out and enjoy our streets this spring!


working hand-in-hand

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

working hand-in-hand

Sometimes the best way to get through big, complex tasks is to split the workload – divide and conquer. This is especially true with York Region’s transit network, so we work alongside the Transportation Services Department.

With strategic plans in place, the Transportation Services Department plans the overall transportation network, including roads, transit and cycling. They create a Transportation Master Plan, which takes into account many factors, including ideas from residents, population growth and other statistics, provincial mandates like Places to Grow, and environmental protection measures like the Greenbelt and Oak Ridges Moraine. They also build and maintain roads, and through YRT/Viva, operate conventional YRT transit, Mobility Plus and Viva rapid transit.

At vivaNext [York Region Rapid Transit Corporation], we put the rapid transit part of the Transportation Master Plan in place. We work with all levels of government to acquire funding for each new project, whether it’s Bus Rapid Transit rapidways, subways, or transit facilities. We design and build these projects – including details like station locations and designs, sidewalks and lighting.

As the project manager, we set timelines and manage construction contracts. The rapidways are major infrastructure projects requiring careful scheduling and seamless handovers when each project goes into service. At this end point, the operations are handed over to YRT/Viva, and the maintenance is done by either York Region or the local municipality, depending on who owns the road.

At vivaNext we have some projects in place already, more scheduled for the next four years, and a few projects yet to be funded. Along with York Region’s growing population, there’s a growing need for transit. So there’s a lot to do, and we’re working hand-in-hand to get everything done.

If you’re looking for a few videos, you can get a glimpse of the transformation of York Region, see what York Region’s Transportation Services does, or just catch a little excitement.


making your trip more comfortable across the YRT\Viva system

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

making your trip more comfortable across the YRT\Viva system

Many transit riders across York Region are YRT riders as well as Viva riders, and even though we’re building rapidways for Viva, YRT comfort is just as important.

YRT is currently carrying out upgrades to all their curbside stops across the YRT system to add new amenities and freshen up existing ones. If you’ve been to the YRT stop at 16th Avenue and Warden you’ll already have seen the prototype that’s going to be installed everywhere.

Each YRT stop will get a modern new shelter, which will provide superior protection from the elements. And for more comfort, each station will have new benches and garbage containers. More and more people are choosing to commute by bike but if biking part-way and then jumping on YRT\Viva suits you better, YRT is installing bike racks at each stop so you can leave your bike with confidence until your return.

YRT is going to be working their way through the entire system across the Region to upgrade all the YRT stops, with the Highway 7 rapidway sections being the first to change over to the new curb-side YRT amenities this summer. With the rapidways on the way and YRT shelters being refreshed, York Region will have a refurbished look and feel that highlights its commitment to serving residents.

These upgrades will bring a new level of comfort to YRT riders, and show the commitment YRT\Viva has to providing all its riders with a great customer experience, no matter what route they’re taking. We encourage you to come visit the area!

Remember, where rapidways are in service, you now board Viva from the centre median, but continue to get on YRT at the curb-side shelters.



The best way to holiday shop will get even better with vivaNext!

Friday, November 27th, 2009

If you’re like most York Region residents, your holiday shopping list is long and involves trips to multiple retail locations.

Leaving your car at home and taking transit instead is the best way to avoid traffic jams and parking problems. It’s also a lot less expensive since you don’t have to pay for things like gas, valets, tickets, and even towing.

With a YRT\Viva ticket, you can travel on any YRT or Viva vehicle in any direction for a two-hour period with just one fare. How convenient and inexpensive is that?! Simply remember to hang onto your ticket or transfer as proof-of-payment so you can hop on and hop off vehicles.

As great as transit already is for holiday shopping, it will get even better with vivaNext. The subway extensions, rapidways, and proposed light rail transit lines will make it even faster and easier to get around York Region’s busiest corridors and beyond.

In fact, we wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a certain somebody in a red and white suit using our transit system to do his holiday shopping in future!