DRT Pulse is Durham Region Transit's (DRT) branded bus service, and precursor to bus rapid transit. Originally launched as a route along Ontario Highway 2, there are now three other routes using the pulse brand. Pulse branded routes include 900, 901, 915, and 916.
Since 2007, DRT identified Highway 2 as an important corridor for rapid transit and prepared a business case for BRT along the route. On June 15, 2007, the government of Ontario announced their MoveOntario 2020 plan which committed $11.5 billion in funding 52 rapid transit projects in the GTHA. Metrolinx developed the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), which became known as The Big Move, and approved it in November 2008. The Highway 2 rapid transit project was identified as a Top 15 Priority Project in The Big Move.
The Region has solicited the public input for starting the BRT project. This included open houses and a formation of a committee to discuss the Long Term Transit Strategy. This long term study identified other main corridors in the region that would support rapid transit by the year 2031. Highway 2 is estimated to reach ridership and development which would warrant an upgraded to light rail transit.
In April 2011, the Region initiated an environmental assessment. More public open houses are to take place, and a vote is being held on what to name the service. DRT unveiled four proposed names for the BRT service and four distinct logos and livery. The names to choose from are: DRT Plus, DRT MAX, DRT Rapid, and DRT Pulse. From April 4 to November 14, passengers could vote on the website. And on November 30, the Executive Committee approved the name with the most votes: DRT Pulse.
A soft launch took place on June 29, 2013. The service operates much like the GO Transit route 94 that it replaced. It makes all local stops along Highway 2 with added stops at Altona Road and Sheppard Avenue. Unlike the route 94, the route does not serve any GO stations or terminals and terminates at the University of Toronto.
- In September 2013, construction began on dedicated bus lanes along Highway 2 in Ajax between Salem Road and Harwood Avenue. The westbound lane was completed by December, and the eastbound lane was completed by the summer of 2014. Construction soon followed for dedicated bus lanes in Pickering between Glenanna Road and Liverpool Road. They were completed by the end of 2015. Buffered bicycle lanes compliment all of the bus lanes.
- In 2015 frequencies in weeday midday were increased from every 15 minutes to every 10 minutes or better.
- Mid-2016 brought the construction of bus only lanes between (West of) Brock Road and (East of) Bainbridge Drive in Pickering complimented by buffered bicycle lanes.
- 2016 brought improved frequency in the early morning periods on weedays as well as Saturday.
- In spring of 2017 construction began on the final two sections of the phase one dedicated bus lanes. Construction begins at (East of Rotherglen Road to (East of) Westney Road in Ajax. Progress is also underway in Pickering between (West of) Steeple Hill to (East of) Delta Blvd. Each of these projects are scheduled to be complete by end of year 2017 and offer improved landscaping as well as safer pedestrian crossings at these busy intersections. Buffered bicycle lanes will also be added across each of the sections.
- Due to a strike with constriction workers employed by AECOM Construction, dedicated bus only lanes in Pickering between Brock Road and Bainbridge Drive, were unable to be completed by summer of 2017. Once the strike has concluded, final paving on bus lanes will take place and be operational in the following weeks.
- On September 4th 2017 route 900 was given improved weekday evening service as well as 30 minute minimum frequencies 7 days a week. The route was added to the new Durham Region Transit High Frequency Network
- In September 2018, construction began for a new section of bus lanes linking the Westney Road section to the Harwood Avenue section.
- In October 2018, construction ramped up for dedicated bus lanes along Highway 2 between Wesntey Road bus Lanes to the Harwood Avenue Bus lanes. once completed in Fall 2019, there will be a continuous length of bus lanes between Westney Road and Salem Road.
- On January 7th 2019, route 900 will see a route change. The new western terminus of the route 900 will be Centennial Circle. This decision was decided upon following a lengthy detour around University of Toronto Scarborough, and the plan is to better serve more areas of the campus.
- On February 27th, the Region of Durham started design work for the next segments of bus lanes that extend upon and connect the bus lanes that were already built. These extensions include, Delta Boulevard to East of Fairport Road in Pickering, West of Dixie Road to Glendale Drive in Pickering, Glenanna Road to Brock Road in Pickering, and Salem Road to Galea Drive in Ajax.
- On June 5th DRT announced the order for six Nova Bus LFS Artics, marking the first articulated buses to join the DRT fleet in 2020 and enter service in 2021. []
- On September 3rd, 2019, Route 900 Sunday service increased from every 30 Minutes to every 15 Minutes on the new 900B branch that operates between Richmond and Ontario to Glenanna Road and the Pickering Town Centre.
- On September 6th, 2019, 7100-7103 entered service
At launch Pulse was operated with 26 specially branded and appointed buses that are stored at the upgraded Westney facility in Ajax. DRT purchased the buses through the 2012 option of the Metrolinx Transit Purchasing Co-operative which would allow for delivery of the buses in the summer of 2012. These buses were moved to Raleigh Division following the upgrades and construction of a new maintenance building there.
In 2018, the Pulse fleet was expanded for the first time, seeing delivery of four new Nova Bus LFS Vehicles to run along the route, these buses were purchased to allow for the eventual conversion of XD40s to conventional service. In 2020 six Nova Bus LFS Artics were the first order of articulated buses for Durham Region Transit.
|Fleet number(s)||Thumbnail||Year||Manufacturer||Model||Engine||Transmission||Destination sign||Seating||Notes|
||Cummins L9||ZF 6AP1400B||Luminator Horizon SMT||35 4ONE Aries|
||Cummins L9||ZF 6AP1400B||Luminator Horizon SMT||33: USSC Aries|
||Cummins L9||ZF 6AP1420B||Luminator Horizon SMT||33: USSC Aries|
||Cummins L9||ZF 6AP1420B||Luminator Horizon SMT||33: USSC Aries|
||Cummins ISL9||Voith D864.5||Luminator Horizon||36 4ONE Aries|
|9100-9105||2019||Nova Bus||LFS Artic
||Cummins L9||ZF 6AP1700B||Luminator Horizon SMT||54 4ONE Aries||
|9106-9107||2021||Nova Bus||LFS Artic
||Cummins L9||ZF 6AP1700B||Luminator Horizon SMT||52: USSC Aries||
Durham Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit
DRT PULSE plays a key role in bridging the needs for a future Bus Rapid Transit service on the Highway 2 corridor between Scarborough, and Oshawa. Identified by Metrolinx in 2008's "Big Move" Regional Transportation Plan, and 2018's "2041 Regional Transportation Plan". In 2013, PULSE launched as a "Soft Launch" precurser for a future BRT. Since then, works have begun by the Region of Durham on constructing curbside bus lanes in key areas along Highway 2 in Pickering and Ajax. During this time, Metrolinx has continued planning and design work for the future BRT service. The brief history of the DSBRT is detailed below, a more detailed history of DRT PULSE is above.
Phase one of the BRT was paid for in part by Metrolinx. They commited $76,000,000 for the construction of the initial bus lanes. Phase one identified six key intersections within Ajax and Pickering along Highway 2 to receive Bus Only and Bike lanes. Construction started at Harwood Avenue in November 2013, and bus lanes were officially open between 132 Kingston Road and 257 Kingston Road (Harwood - Salem) in Mid 2014. Currently, Bus-only lanes are open between Glendale Drive and East of Glenanna Road as well as 132 Kingston Road and 257 Kingston Road (Harwood to Salem). Construction is currently progressing between Guild Road and Southview Drive. (Brock Road) This segment is scheduled to be completed by November 2016 with Construction at Westney Road between Ritchie Road and Rotherglen Road and the portion of Whites road between (West of) Steeple Hill to Delta Court to be completed by December 2016. In 2018 construction began for a retaining wall over a hill east of Chapman Drive. This wall is the first step for expanding the roadway to link the bus lanes from Westney Road section to the Harwood section. Once complete in September 2018, continuous bus lanes from west of Westney road to east of Salem Rod would be complete.
During a Metrolinx press conference in 2017 at Liverpool and Kingston Road, it was announced that $10,000,000 would be allocated to the design work and planning of the DSBRT. The project when in delivery will require funding from all levels of government, including the Region of Durham, and the City of Toronto, in addition to the provincial and the federal governments.
In March of 2018, Metrolinx joined Durham Region Transit at their annual public information centres. Metrolinx provided the public some updates regarding their progress on the planning of the project. Following this, the Initial Business Case was published on the website. In June 2019, public information centres were held to gain public opinion in the findings of the IBC, at the time all four of these sessions were held in Durham, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby and Oshawa. In September 2019, Metrolinx held the same PICs at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. A link to the display boards and project information can be found here. .
A second public consultation was held in November 2019. Part of the session included showing pinch points along the route. Outside of those pinch points, it was recommended that six-lane cross-sections with either centre-median or curbside running transit lanes be adopted. Between Military Trail and Meadowvale Road, the plan was to add two dedicated transit lanes and maintain current number of general traffic lanes. In Pickering Village and Downtown Whitby, curbside general traffic lanes would be converted to dedicated transit lanes. The same would be done in Downtown Oshawa, but with buses operating in the opposite direction of traffic.
Following the public consultation, Metrolinx progressed with design work, including, revising their preferred design for the BRT. Potential designs include full centre lane BRT, curb-side bus lanes, or operation in mixed traffic with transit priority initiatives. Another round of public consultation was carried out in November 2020. For most of the route in Scarborough, Metrolinx planned for centre median bus lanes with road widening to allow for four traffic lanes in most areas. Through Pickering, Metrolinx planned for centre median bus lanes with road widening to allow for four traffic lanes. A similar set-up is planned for Ajax, though there would be lane reductions in Pickering Village. Downtown Whitby would also see lane reductions. A transit mall is planned between Byron Street and Green Street with wider sidewalks. Where Highway 2 splits in Oshawa, a general traffic lane would be converted to a cubrside dedicated bus lane.
A forth consultation was held in October 2021. Much of the route in Scarborough was the same. Rather than widening the road through the Highland Creek neighbourhood, Metrolinx plans to repurpose two existing lanes for bus lanes. Centre median bus lanes are planned for Kingston Road towards the Rouge Valley, where buses would be in mixed traffic toward Pickering. Plans for a transit mall in Downtown WHitby were scrapped. Instead, Metrolinx plans one eastbound traffic lane, on eastbound bus lane, and one mixed traffic lane. Sidewalks would still be widened. Buses in Oshawa would continue to travel vial Ritson Street to the layover on Williams Street.
The project was assessed under the Transit Project Assessment Process (TPAP) in Fall 2021/Winter 2022. An Environmental Project Report (EPR) was prepared to assess the potential environmental impacts. The Notice of Commencement was published on October 14, 2021 and the Notice of Completion was published on January 20, 2022.
- Durham-Scarborough BRT Benefits Case (Report). Metrolinx. Retreived on 2011-05-01
- Durham-Scarborough BRT 2018 Initial Benefits Case (Report). Metrolinx. Retreived on 2018-07-11
- Public Information Centre 3 (archived). Metrolinx.
- Durham-Scarborough Bus Rapid Transit: Environmental Assessment. Metrolinx. January 2022.