Viva is York Region's Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Launched on September 4, 2005, Viva has coincided with York Region's fast growth. Service is operated by York BRT Services LP, which is owned by Veolia Transportation.
Benefits of Viva
Stops (called Vivastations) are located no less than 750m apart to reduce travel time. Each Vivastation has an automated ticket vending machine allowing passengers to pay their fare before boarding the bus, thus speeding up loading. Terminals have MultiRide vending machines, which dispense booklets of 10 tickets and give change and take bills.
Because passengers purchase their fare before boarding, this means VIVA operates on an honour/proof-of-payment system. Ticket inspectors inspect random buses to see if everybody has paid their fare.
Next Bus displays located in all Vivastations and terminals inform passengers approximately how long of a wait the next bus is. It shows both VIVA and YRT routes that serve the stop, and also specifies the route and terminal.
Queue jump lines were installed at some intersections. They are extended right turn lanes that VIVA buses may use to bypass heavy traffic and speed to the Vivastation at the intersection. Signal Priority informs a computer if the bus is running behind. The computer holds traffic lights (either turning a red one to green quicker or holding a green) so the bus can make up some time.
The first two routes, Blue and Purple, debuted with the launch of Viva in September 2005, with service from Finch to Bernard and York University to Town Centre Boulevard respectively. The following month, Orange and Green were introduced (Green operating from Don Mills to Unionville GO Station only), with an extension of Purple east to McCowan Road. Service on Enterprise Boulevard was rerouted to Highway 407 at this time due to the road being still under construction, which meant Purple served Unionville GO Station at this time. November saw an extension of Blue to Newmarket Terminal, Purple west to Martin Grove during rush hours, Green east to McCowan Road during rush hours, and service along Enterprise Boulevard. The final route, Pink, was introduced in January 2006.
A new terminal was built on the ramp connecting Yonge Street and Highway 7, called Richmond Hill Centre Terminal, and is used by Viva, York Region Transit and GO Transit's Airport Express. Viva connects with the Toronto Transit Commission subway system at Finch, Don Mills, and Downsview.
Purple rush hour service to Martin Grove was removed in September 2007 due to a combination of the length of routing and a lack of passengers riding through York University in the first place (as those passengers would rather use the faster route 77). Green was cut back to rush hours only in September 2007 as well, although it will be reinstated when additional development around the future Downtown Markham site happens. January 2008 saw an extension of Purple east to Markham-Stouffville Hospital, where it currently terminates today.
A fleet of specially appointed Van Hool rigid and articulated buses were initially introduced for use. The fleet gradually grew with Nova Bus LFX buses introduced in 2010. The buses have interior displays and announcements which show the next stop for passengers. The buses are able to by-pass cars with queue jump lanes and signal priority.
vivaNext is the next phase of the Viva bus rapid transit (BRT) system. This phase deals with the Yonge and Spadina subway extensions into York Region, as well as improving the BRT system with dedicated Rapidways and extended lines. New Vivastations will be built along the Rapidways and will be accessible by crosswalks.
The Rapidways, a term given by vivaNext, are dedicated lanes for buses. Travel times are improved as the rapid transit vehicles do not have to deal with congestion on the regular roadways. There will also be transit priority signals located at intersections. Two Rapidways will be built in Newmarket, and one in each Markham, Richmond Hill, and Vaughan. The new Rapdiways feature improved Vivastations with more amenities such as a 9 metre enclosed, heated waiting area and enhanced accessibility and passenger displays. The platform also provides level boarding to the bus. The glass and steel structure is 27 metres long and reaches upward then curves to the opposite side.
The first segment of the Enterprise Rapidway, which runs on Enterprise Road from Warden to Birchmount, began construction in December 2009 and opened on March 6, 2011. It was initially slated to be complete by the end of 2010, but this was pushed back to January 2011 and then finally to spring. This section is also known as part of Simcoe Promenade, which is part of the development of Downtown Markham. In October 2010, the new Vivastations began being installed and the distinctive red asphalt was laid on the west end of the Rapidway. The relocation of utilities to accommodate the extra lanes for the Highway 7 Rapidway began in December 2010 and is ongoing, with construction for the widening of Highway 7 and the Rapidways themselves beginning in Spring 2011. The section from Yonge to Warden is expected to be complete by 2014. The remainder of the Rapidway along Enterprise to Kennedy is expected to start construction in 2016 and be completed in 2020. This section is dependent on the proposed design for Downtown Markham.
The Rapidway on Davis Drive in Newmarket will run for 3.0 kilometres from Yonge Street to Huron Heights Dr. In November 2009, preparations for construction began on the Davis Drive Rapidway, such as soil sampling and archeological assessments. Early construction began in 2010, which included relocation of utilities and preparing twenty-one buildings for removal in preparation for construction. In November 2010, work began on reconstructing the Keith Bridge. The Rapidway is set to be complete for 2014.
Viva's routes are all colour coded. The fares for Viva are the same as YRT except the $1 "zonal” surcharge for Viva Blue passengers for passing through both zone boundaries in a single trip, located roughly north of Bloomington Road and south of King Road.
There are 3 daily routes:
- Viva Blue- Finch Station to Newmarket Terminal
- Viva Purple- Markham-Stouffville Hospital to York University
- Viva Orange- Martin Grove to Downsview Station
There are also 3 short turn routes and 2 other routes that operate during rush hour only:
- Viva Blue- Finch Station to Bernard Terminal
- Viva Blue A- Finch Station to Newmarket Terminal (Bypassing Richmond Hill Centre Terminal)
- Viva Purple - Richmond Hill Centre to York University
- Viva Green- Don Mills Station to McCowan Road
- Viva Pink- Finch Station to Unionville GO Station
An extension of Purple and Green east to Cornell (Donald Cousens Parkway) is on hold from 2008, because of residents' objections to a new bus terminal being built. A terminal on a nearby site is being considered, but construction has not started.
Currently, Viva's fleet consists of 60 40-foot Van Hool AG300 buses, 41 articulated 60-foot AG300 buses, and 15 articulated 60-foot Nova Bus LFX buses. YRT/Viva has stated that all future purchases of vehicles will be 60ft in length. Although the original purchase contract in 2005 allowed a discounted purchase price of additional AG300s until 2011, a new contract for 60 foot buses over five years was awarded to Nova Bus. The choice was made because of the long wait for parts experienced by maintenance for the Van Hools and Nova Bus met the Canadian content requirement in the RFP.
The articulated buses were initially restricted to Viva Blue because of its high ridership. The 40ft A330s serve all other routes (Purple, Orange, Green and Pink). In late 2010, Viva Purple started seeing 3 articulated buses daily due to an increase in ridership from York University.
All buses are based out of the BRT garage located at 8301 Keele Street in Vaughan.
|Fleet number range||Thumbnail||Year||Manufacturer||Model||Engine||Transmission||Destination sign||Seating||Miscellaneous notes|
|5101-5160||2005-2006||Van Hool||New A330||Cummins ISL||Voith D864.3E||TwinVision Amber LED||36 Kiel Lite|
|5201-5225||2005-2006||Van Hool||New AG300||Cummins ISM||Voith D864.3E||TwinVision Amber LED||54 Kiel Lite|
|7201-7205||2007||Van Hool||New AG300||Cummins ISM||Voith D864.3E||TwinVision Amber LED||54 Kiel Lite|
|8201-8211||2008||Van Hool||New AG300||Cummins ISL||Voith D864.5||TwinVision Amber LED||54 Kiel Lite|
|1080-1094||2010||Nova Bus||LFX||Cummins ISL9||Voith D864.5||TwinVision Amber LED||55 American Seating Insight||Entered service in February 2011.|
- York rolls out state-of-the-art transit, Toronto Star B3, May 26, 2005
- Viva Bus Rapid Transit, Toronto Star B4 and B5, September 3, 2005