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Brampton gets transit overhaul


Brampton Transit is increasing bus service hours by 25 per cent and switching to a grid system next week in the largest transit service change in the city’s history.

In the new system, buses will run north-south and east-west, similar to Toronto’s transit system, rather than circuiting through neighbourhoods as they do now.

Brampton Transit recently purchased 35 new buses to accommodate the increased hours of service. As part of the changeover, it’s overhauling 22 of its 30 routes, adding five more and extending allowable transfer time in a bid to draw more riders.

“It’s an incredible day when a large city like Brampton moves into the 21st century as a transit-friendly city,” Mayor Susan Fennell said yesterday.

The changes also lay the groundwork for Acceleride, a $200 million rapid-transit system that will give buses their own lanes, and which the city — one of the country’s fastest-growing communities — hopes to launch in 2006 or 2007.

Last week, the city mailed a map of the new transit routes to every household, and it will also advertise the changes through posters and newspaper ads. Transit service agents will be on hand at terminals to help passengers in the first few weeks of the changeover.

Also starting next week, a new transfer system offers unlimited travel on any route, in any direction, for two hours. “We’re trying to do that as an incentive to increase our ridership,” said Sue Bass, the city’s director of transit. “It’s really a customer-friendly program.”

Brampton’s buses carried 8 million riders in 2004.

Further improvements, to weekend and nighttime services, are expected in September.