York Region Transit route 15 'Stouffville'
Early Rail and GO service to Stouffville
The first transit service to Stouffville was courtesy of the Toronto & Nipissing Railway, which built a railway corridor up to Coboconk in 1868. Even in these early days, service to Stouffville was not stable. The T&N line failed to meet expectations, and was absorbed into Midland Railroad (converted to standard guage at this time), later Grand Trunk and finally it became CN's Uxbridge Subdivision. Service dwindled through the 1950's, and was pulled back from Coboconk to Uxbridge, and later only to Markham. The remaint of this service was a single northbound trip between Union Station and Markham, with no southbound service.
In the late 1960's, CN applied to the CTC to end service on this line. This request was refused, and the line was to be extended to Stouffville, and run service in both directions. This started in 1971; however, CN parcelled this service out to VIA less than a decade later. In 1982, GO Transit took over operations on the Stouffville and Bradford lines from VIA.
A second train was added in the 1990's, as well as train-buses supplementing service during off-peak times and directions. The train-buses also provided service to Goodwood and Uxbridge on weekdays. The trains were stored on the main track, one past the platform and one in the platform. In the early 2000's, a third train was added, but this stretched the storage capabilities of Stouffville station, with a mini-platform needed to be built to store the third train on the parallel track and still let passengers off. With service needing further expansion as the towns of Unionville, Markham and Stouffville rapidly expanding, short turn trains to Markham/Mount Joy Stations were no longer an option.
GO built a spacious new yard north of Stouffville in 2005-6, with the capability for multiple 12-car trains to be stored there. A small bus loop is also located there for the terminus of the train-buses. With the new yard now functional, the short-turn trains were extended to spend the night in Stouffville as well as a new 5th train for the line.
However, with the town of Stouffville growing larger, there was now a demand for local service, not just to and from Downtown Toronto.
9 and 9A Stouffville
Original: 9 Stouffville
9 Stouffville was the first route to operate into Whichurch-Stouffville, which at the time was the only part of York Region without transit service. Service started in September 2003. The original route was complicated, having 3 destinations: Markham-Stouffville Hospital in Markham, Ringwood Dr. in the west and 10th Line in the east. Buses looped via east on Main St., north on 10th Line, west on Hemlock and Millard Sts. and south on 9th Line to Main St., where buses went either west or south. There were many rush-hour additions; in the east end, buses went east on Main St., south on Stouffer, east on Lori, north on 10th line, east on Main St., loop through Eastern Gate, and west on Main St. to 10th Line. There was also service to Parkview village on 9th Line.
Service was modified in only a few months; due to complaints, service was modified in January 2004 so buses travelled on Main St. in both directions. Buses now came north on 9th Line, east on Main St. to loop in Eastern Gate, west on Main St. to loop in Ringwood Dr. Hospital-bound buses followed the reverse. Rush hour buses followed the Stouffer/Lori loop, then went to Eastern Gate, and followed Hemlock/Millard to 9th Line/Main St. Midday service was provided using only 1 bus; headways were the worst in YRT having one bus come between 30 minutes and 2 hours.
YRT broke the route in half one year later, creating 2 distinct branches: 9 via Main St. and 9A via 9th Line. These 2 branches were not fully separated; they both used the same bus, which switched routes at Eastern Gate.
9 Stouffville via Main St.
The 9 via Main St. branch had no real rush-hour service; it only operated during midday. Buses started from Eastern Gate, and operated west on Main St., detouring to serve Lebovic Leisure Ctr (via Park Dr.), Parkview Village (via 9th Line), and looped at Ringwood Dr. Buses followed the reverse routing back to Eastern Gate. One round trip was scheduled to be 1 hour, but a single-direction trip took only 20 minutes.
In October 2006, this branch was extended west on Main St. and south on Highway 48 to the new Wal-Mart Supercentre. No time was added to the schedule because of the enormous layover time given at Ringwood Dr.
A single PM 9A trip diverts from 9th Line and Main St. west on Main St. to Wal-Mart, thus providing the only peak service east of 9th Line.
9A Stouffville via 9th Line
The 9A via 9th Line branch was the main branch. Midday buses started from Markham-Stouffville Hospital, and went north on 9th Line, through Parkview Village, east on Main St. to loop in Eastern Gate. The bus then did a full trip on the 9 via Main St. branch, and followed the reverse routing to Markham-Stouffville Hospital. A single-direction trip on the 9A branch took 30 minutes, and a round trip on both branches took 2 hours.
During the rush hour, buses followed the same routing as above until Main St. and Stouffer St. Buses then went south on Stouffer, east on Lori and north on 10th Line to Main St. Buses looped through Eastern Gate, then headed west on Main St., north on 10th Line, west on Hemlock, west on Millard, south on 9th Line to Main St. Buses then went south on 9th Line, through Parkview Village to Markham-Stouffville Hospital.
The 9A branch also acted as the GO Shuttle: the first AM bus starts at Stouffville GO station on Main St., and follows the 9A route to Main St. and 9th Line. It then heads east to the GO station, drops off passengers, and does another loop on the 9A branch. Other AM buses follow the regular 9A routing around Stouffville, then head east on Main St., drop off passengers at the GO station, and loops via north on Freel Ln., through the GO parking lot, and west on Main St. to Parkview Village. PM buses wait to connect to the GO train across the street from the GO station.
The 9 Stouffville series was never a stable route; it was almost always having minor revisions. The town of Stouffville is mostly low-density detached houses, it is very hard for YRT to attract riders to the route. As such, daily ridership was on average less than 100 passengers. The route only survived because of its relatively low operating costs, having one 30ft bus during midday, no evening and weekend service, a 2 hour frequency, and because there was no alternative route nearby for passengers to use.
Next Generation: 9 and the 15 series
In September 2007, YRT decided to make major changes to the 9/9A Stouffville route. With the town of Stouffville experiencing a major development boom (much of it higher-density housing), 2 new arterial roads opening (Hoover Park Dr. and an extension of Millard St.) and the relocation of the high school, service would need to be modified. YRT's response to this was to abandon the 9 series, and start fresh with 2 new and separate routes: 9 9th Line and the 15 series.
9 9th Line
See 9 9th Line.
9 9th Line is the descendant of the 9th Line portion of the 9A via 9th Line branch. It operates between Markham-Stouffville Hospital and Parkview Village south of Main St. The schedule states it makes a timed connection with eastbound 15 buses, however during off-peak periods the same bus is used for that eastbound trip. The same practice applies to off-peak 15 trips ending at Parkview; they become southbound 9 trips.
15 Stouffville Local
15 Stouffville Local was the descendant of the 9 via Main St. branch. A local and "small community" route, it originally had 2-way service along Main St. between Eastern Gate and 9th Line, and 1-way service along both Hoover Park Dr. and Main St. between Highway 48 and 9th Line. In January 2008, this was expanded to a full loop arrangement (eastbound on Main St., westbound on Hoover Park Dr.). Also, 'evening' service was added, but this was just a conversion of the 2 last PM 215 buses to 15 trips.
The schedule for this route showed only midday service is operated in the east end of Stouffville; however, passengers in that area use route 215 (the GO Shuttle) as the local service during rush hours. This was similar to the routing of the previous 9A.
In April 2008, in response to seniors, a limited-service loop began operation past a senior's home on Elm St. At the same time service to the Lebovic Leisure Centre became limited, as the time on the schedule was redevoted to the Elm looping. June of the same year brought around more changes; with 215 being cancelled, 15 finally gained proper peak service to replace the GO Shuttle trips.
In 2008, as per Plan '09, requests were made for more frequent and earlier service, provide connections to the GO train from south Stouffville, operate a peak period service along Reeves Way Boulevard, and introduce Saturday and Sunday service. Issues brought up include expanding service to a new subdivision along Millard Street, Forsyth Farm Drive and 10th Line (see below), along with new business and commercial parks west of Stouffville. A Route 15A may be considered to service Highway 48, Millard Street, Forsyth Farm Drive, Greenwood Road, 10th Line and Main Street, with connections to the GO Train and Route 9. None of these plans were ever implemented.
With route 9 becoming much more popular than route 15, midday service was reorganized in September 2011 so buses did one trip on route 9 then one trip on route 15. This same arrangement was applied to rush hour service in April 2012, interlining the routes again. Service to Millard Street was given back to route 15 at this time, although buses still went directly from Parkview Village to Millard; similar to the old arrangement. July 2012 saw route 15 officially merged back into route 9, providing one integrated route for Stouffville again. This was just branding however, as the schedule was the same as the one introduced in April 2012.
215 Stouffville GO Shuttle
215 Stouffville GO Shuttle was the descendant of part of 9A via 9th Line. Buses followed the former 9A rush hour routings, were interlined with routes 9 and 15, and replaced route 15 east of 9th line during rush hours.
AM buses continue past the GO station to Park Dr., turning around in a parking lot on Park and head back west past the GO station to do a southbound 9 trip. East-end passengers may use the GO shuttle to access 9 without a transfer.
Due to low ridership as well as the changes to route 15, this shuttle was discontinued on June 29, 2008.
Third Generation: East-West Route along Stouffville Road
In the 2013 Annual Service Plan, plans were made for a base route along Stouffville Rd., connecting Stouffville to Viva Blue at Jefferson Sideroad. This route would operate daily, finally providing weekend YRT service from Stouffville to the rest of the YRT/Viva network.
|Number of Branches||1|
|Types of buses used||E-Z Rider II/BRT/MAX|
15 Stouffville is a base route which began service on February 23, 2014. Service operates on a one-way loop via Highway 48, Millard St., and Main St./Stouffville Rd. west to Yonge St., where it loops via Jefferson Sdrd. and Silver Maple Rd. to head back east.
Route 15 is the only route that operates "rush-hour" service seven days a week.