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Newmarket GO bus extended to June 25

A new Viva express route will be created to draw riders from cancelled GO buses


York Region’s Viva bus service is adding a new faster route to replace one of the Newmarket routes GO Transit plans to drop by the end of June.

Tony Bock/Toronto Star

Published On Wed Mar 17 2010

Tess Kalinowski
Transportation Reporter

In a move designed to keep transit users from going back to their cars, GO Transit has agreed to keep a reduced version of its 62-Newmarket B bus in service until the end of June.

It was originally slated to end April 3, with riders being urged to move to York Region Transit’s Viva Blue bus. But commuters protested, with the backing of MPP Frank Klees, saying the change would cost them time and money.

So GO and YRT have agreed that the GO route to York Mills and Yonge St. will continue until June 25, though with half as many trips after April 3. On June 28, Viva will launch a new, faster Blue bus with fewer stops that will reach Finch Station in about an hour, comparable to the old GO trip.

The five trips will bypass the Richmond Hill Centre Terminal but won’t travel south of Finch as the GO bus did. Existing Viva Blue trips that make that stop will continue.

“It’s a win for the region because it helps out the GO people, but it also helps the existing Viva loyal rider looking to get to Finch,” said YRT general manager Rick Leary.

YRT is also looking at options for GO customers who rode the Newmarket bus to York University. That route is cancelled at the end of April.

Leary said a loyalty reward program to encourage riders to make the transition to Viva is under consideration.

“There is a commitment on the part of YRT to look very seriously at ensuring the transition is a smooth one, that their service is brought up to standard in terms of the expectation these GO customers have,” said Klees.

Colleen Noble says the new Viva service might persuade her to stay on the bus if it is affordable. For the $52 price of a weekly GTA pass to switch between Viva and the TTC at Finch, she could pay for parking and gas to her job near Yonge and Sheppard.

She said the need to transfer between Viva and the TTC will add to the one-hour trip Viva is promising.

“I just don’t understand why they can’t take a York Region bus and put them on the same route that the GO is on now. I know part of the problem is TTC doesn’t want YRT buses going below Finch. But if the TTC is issuing GTA passes, they’re giving people from York a break to use the TTC,” she said.