DRT Westney Division Expansion Prepares for BRT

AJAX, ON, December 19, 2012 – Joe Dickson, MPP for Ajax-Pickering, joined members of the Durham Region Transit (DRT) Commission today to officially open the expanded Maintenance and Storage Facility for DRT Westney Division Operations. 
 
The expansion is the first step in operating and servicing DRT’s new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) along the Highway 2 corridor, where initial BRT service will begin in June 2013. The $16.6 million expansion includes a new 3,400 square metre addition that will serve as operational and maintenance space for additional buses, including a portion of the BRT dedicated fleet.  Three in-ground hoists, a degreasing bay and 10 indoor and 52 outdoor bus storage spaces were added to the facility.
 
The Highway 2 BRT project will introduce BRT service from the University of Toronto campus at Military Trail in Scarborough to the Durham Consolidated Courthouse in Oshawa. The Province of Ontario committed $82.3 million to support the implementation of the Durham Highway 2 BRT project, which includes $17 million to purchase 26 dedicated BRT buses through Metrolinx’s Transit Procurement Initiative.  Durham Region will fund the remainder of the project’s cost, estimated at $17.5 million.
 
The opening of the Durham BRT Westney Facility is great news for local commuters,” said MPP Dickson.  “When the new bus rapid transit line is finished, more commuters will be able to leave their cars at home and take public transit. Investing in public transit helps reduce traffic gridlock, strengthens our local economy and keeps our air clean.”
 
“This project is an important piece of a more integrated transit system envisioned in The Big Move, Metrolinx’s regional transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area,” said Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig. “Durham’s new bus rapid transit project will provide better access to busy hubs like downtown Oshawa, Pickering, and the University of Toronto Scarborough campus, moving the region closer to better and more frequent transit service options.” 
 
“DRT carries over 10 million passengers per year. DRT ridership and the Durham community continues to grow. This is the beginning of a Regional Council approved Long Term Transit Strategy that will improve our transit system dramatically and address the growing transit needs in the Region,” says Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Municipality of Durham Roger Anderson, Chair of the Transit Executive Committee.
 
In January 2012, DRT’s Transit Executive Committee approved the public’s choice to name DRT’s new BRT service DRT Pulse.
The DRT Pulse will operate with these features:
  • BRT service in mixed traffic
  • 7.5 minute service during peak periods
  • 26 new, accessible, clean diesel, distinctively branded DRT Pulse dedicated buses
  • accessible bus stops and shelters
     
    DRT anticipates the project will be complete in 2016. When complete, the BRT service will boast numerous passenger amenities, intelligent transportation systems, and transit signal priority. It will also result in improvements to six major intersections along the Highway 2 corridor, two new maintenance and storage facilities and a new transit control center.
     
    DRT will apply the new DRT Pulse brand and graphic elements to the new DRT Pulse dedicated fleet and associated infrastructure to identify the enhanced service.
     
    The existing Westney Division was designed in 1990 to accommodate up to 30 buses. The facility is functioning beyond its design capacity, with 74 buses operating from the location. 
     
    DRT operates over 456,900 conventional service hours annually. Conventional ridership has grown 51 per cent since the amalgamation of regional transit services in January 2006. DRT has also revitalized and grown its fleet with the addition or replacement of 135 buses. As of December, 2012, the conventional fleet totals 175 vehicles.
     
    All new DRT buses are accessible, air-conditioned and environmentally compliant. Currently, 93 per cent of the conventional DRT fleet is accessible and provides conventional transit options for passengers with disabilities. In 2014, DRT anticipates its conventional fleet will be 100 per cent accessible.
     
    Specialized Services, an accessible door to accessible door transportation service for persons with disabilities, has grown almost 55 per cent since 2006, with over 169,000 trips annually.  The 30 lift-equipped buses in the Specialized Services fleet provide assistance for approximately 3,350 clients in overcoming mobility challenges.
     
    -30 -
     
    Media inquiries:
    Peter Chatoff, DRT Deputy General Manager, Maintenance and Equipment, 905-668-7711 ext. 3758
    Martin Ward, DRT Deputy General Manager, Operations, 905-668-7711 ext. 3700
    David Salter, Minister Chiarelli’s office, Ministry of Transportation, 416-327-1815
    Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, Ministry of Transportation, 416-327-1158
    Malon Edwards, Media Relations, Metrolinx, 416-874-5945