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VIVA + York Region Transit

That wait time was greatly reduced with the dedicated bus lanes and vertical white bar transit signal phase, but Viva Purple was cut back to Richmond Hill Centre a year after that section of rapidway opened so it couldn't make use of it for very long. I believe Viva Orange westbound now uses that signal phase to go straight, which occurs before the main left turn signal phase. smh, buses abusing their outdated signal priority.
I just don't get why cutting back Purple to just RHC was a thing. It should've gone to VMC and it still should as with the fare integration coming, this technically makes Viva Purple somewhat go to York U again efficiently and with one fare.

Also this helps the problem of frequencies. It kind of does make Viva Orange completely redundant if Purple went to VMC, and then the Zum covering the west end, but that could be fixed if we did reroute Orange to go somewhere else.

I’m genuinely of the opinion that the most reasonable Viva Hwy 7 structure at this point would be to run Purple to VMC and wholly eliminate orange, with Zum providing all rapid service west of Vaughan (maybe run all the way to Yonge via Centre st honestly). The fare integration we’ve got coming, for all its oddities, will finally fix double fare problem removing buses from the university caused (which was promised from the beginning mind you)…

Edit: didn't see this before but yes exactly this.
 
I just don't get why cutting back Purple to just RHC was a thing. It should've gone to VMC and it still should as with the fare integration coming, this technically makes Viva Purple somewhat go to York U again efficiently and with one fare.

Also this helps the problem of frequencies. It kind of does make Viva Orange completely redundant if Purple went to VMC, and then the Zum covering the west end, but that could be fixed if we did reroute Orange to go somewhere else.

I don't have any insides, but will dare to guess based on my knowledge how administrative systems work in general.

They need to provide VIVA service on Hwy 7, from Cornell to Martin Grove. They know that splitting the route will improve the reliability.

Then the most straightforward option is to split in the middle. That is, at RHC. Easy to assign the buses, determine the work shifts etc. Not convenient for the riders? Too bad, who cares about those suckers. Or at least, who cares about them enough to carve a more complex structure of routes. Just split at RHC, service is being provided, mission accomplished. You don't want to ride it, your choice.

Had the ridership growth been a priority, with numerical goals etc, the system would act differently. But, not the case.

Speaking of Zum replacing VIVA between VMC and the Brampton border, that makes a good sence, but I guess that's an issue of cooperation between the 2 transit agencies.
 
I don't have any insides, but will dare to guess based on my knowledge how administrative systems work in general.

They need to provide VIVA service on Hwy 7, from Cornell to Martin Grove. They know that splitting the route will improve the reliability.

Then the most straightforward option is to split in the middle. That is, at RHC. Easy to assign the buses, determine the work shifts etc. Not convenient for the riders? Too bad, who cares about those suckers. Or at least, who cares about them enough to carve a more complex structure of routes. Just split at RHC, service is being provided, mission accomplished. You don't want to ride it, your choice.

Had the ridership growth been a priority, with numerical goals etc, the system would act differently. But, not the case.

Speaking of Zum replacing VIVA between VMC and the Brampton border, that makes a good sence, but I guess that's an issue of cooperation between the 2 transit agencies.
I'm also curious about Durham Transit connecting to the Cornell terminal. There's a lot of big warehouse and manufacturing employers opening along Highway 7 in Pickering (I believe the giant bakery alone will have 3,000 employees) so presumably there will be folks connecting through Markham.
 
I think the challenge is that the middle part of the Hwy 7 corridor (VMC-RHC) is actually less busy than the extremities. As others have noted, it's good to split up a very long corridor such as this for reliability purposes, but the normal solution to minimize forced transfers is to have the two halves overlap through the central segment.

For example along Rutherford/16th, Route 85 covers the west and Route 16 covers the east, with the two overlapping between Bathurst and Leslie. Similar for the 4 and 25 along Major Mac.
Screenshot 2024-01-19 at 14.24.36.png


But if we did similar along Hwy 7, we'd have both Orange and Purple running between VMC and RHC, providing twice as much service as east of RHC where there's actually more ridership. One potential resolution could be to revive Viva Pink with all-day service (Finch to Cornell via Unionville and RHC), in which case the entire corridor would have the same frequency from end to end, with Züm+Orange west of VMC, Orange+Purple from VMC to RHC, and Purple+Pink east of RHC.

The more cost-effective alternative is to suck it up and just run Viva Purple all the way across Highway 7. Most of the route has a dedicated ROW, so there should be minimal potential for traffic delays. And even the combined route would still be shorter than Viva Blue. The main source of delay is the traffic signals, which is a delay that can be actively managed. YRT claims that Viva has schedule-based signal priority but personally I've never seen any evidence of any kind of priority regardless of how late the bus is. If they did actually have aggressive priority for late buses (not only extending green lights, but also inserting short transit phases during other parts of the cycle), they could easily keep vehicles on schedule regardless of variations in dwell times.

Increasing the strength of priority for late buses would cost nothing since the equipment is already installed, and it would save a lot of YRT operational costs since they wouldn't need to pad the hell out of the Viva timetables like they currently do. So that means they could run faster and more frequent service without spending a penny more on drivers or buses, which would obviously bring in more revenue.

I'm no economist but I'm pretty sure that increasing revenue without increasing operating costs would reduce YRT's subsidy requirement, which is a fact we should be beating the so-called fiscal conservatives on Regional Council over the head with.
 
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I'm also curious about Durham Transit connecting to the Cornell terminal. There's a lot of big warehouse and manufacturing employers opening along Highway 7 in Pickering (I believe the giant bakery alone will have 3,000 employees) so presumably there will be folks connecting through Markham.

That's an interesting suggestion. I guess, one problem is that DRT doesn't currently have any service on Highway 7. Nearly all of its routes operate way further south. So, they would need to add an entirely new route to reach the Cornell terminal.
 
I think the challenge is that the middle part of the Hwy 7 corridor (VMC-RHC) is actually less busy than the extremities. As others have noted, it's good to split up a very long corridor such as this for reliability purposes, but the normal solution to minimize forced transfers is to have the two halves overlap through the central segment.

For example along Rutherford/16th, Route 85 covers the west and Route 16 covers the east, with the two overlapping between Bathurst and Leslie. Similar for the 4 and 25 along Major Mac.
View attachment 534131

But if we did similar along Hwy 7, we'd have both Orange and Purple running between VMC and RHC, providing twice as much service as east of RHC where there's actually more ridership. One potential resolution could be to revive Viva Pink with all-day service (Finch to Cornell via Unionville and RHC), in which case the entire corridor would have the same frequency from end to end, with Züm+Orange west of VMC, Orange+Purple from VMC to RHC, and Purple+Pink east of RHC.

The more cost-effective alternative is to suck it up and just run Viva Purple all the way across Highway 7. Most of the route has a dedicated ROW, so there should be minimal potential for traffic delays. And even the combined route would still be shorter than Viva Blue. The main source of delay is the traffic signals, which is a delay that can be actively managed. YRT claims that Viva has schedule-based signal priority but personally I've never seen any evidence of any kind of priority regardless of how late the bus is. If they did actually have aggressive priority for late buses (not only extending green lights, but also inserting short transit phases during other parts of the cycle), they could easily keep vehicles on schedule regardless of variations in dwell times.

Increasing the strength of priority for late buses would cost nothing since the equipment is already installed, and it would save a lot of YRT operational costs since they wouldn't need to pad the hell out of the Viva timetables like they currently do. So that means they could run faster and more frequent service without spending a penny more on drivers or buses, which would obviously bring in more revenue.

I'm no economist but I'm pretty sure that increasing revenue without increasing operating costs would reduce YRT's subsidy requirement, which is a fact we should be beating the so-called fiscal conservatives on Regional Council over the head with.

One more option is to extend the Purple from RHC to Pioneer Village station via Hwy 407, during the peak periods only. And, keep the rest of VIVA as is.

That would be similar to Zum 501C branch, that exits Hwy 7 to 427, and then uses the 407 as a shortcut to Jane.
 
One more option is to extend the Purple from RHC to Pioneer Village station via Hwy 407, during the peak periods only. And, keep the rest of VIVA as is.

That would be similar to Zum 501C branch, that exits Hwy 7 to 427, and then uses the 407 as a shortcut to Jane.

I wonder how many people will use Pioneer Village station as a pedestrian tunnel after fare integration. Tap in at the entrance next to the YRT bus terminal, then exit at the TTC bus terminal without boarding a train. This provides an indoor, signal-free way to cross Steeles.
 
One more option is to extend the Purple from RHC to Pioneer Village station via Hwy 407, during the peak periods only. And, keep the rest of VIVA as is.

That would be similar to Zum 501C branch, that exits Hwy 7 to 427, and then uses the 407 as a shortcut to Jane.
It wouldn't even need to use Hwy 407, given that the portion of Hwy 7 between Keele and Bayview never has any traffic congestion anyway. Buses can pretty much cruise at 80 km/h the whole way, so it doesn't seem worth paying the Hwy 407 ETR.

As alternatives to your proposed routing, I could see a couple potential variants for the west extension of Viva Purple:

To Pioneer Village via Hwy 7: On top of avoiding the 407 ETR toll, this option provides one intermediate stop at Hwy 7 and Jane, where passengers could conncet to Viva Orange. This would make Viva Purple not only a fast connection to York U, but also save a lot of time for crosstown trips along the Hwy 7 corridor.
To Hwy 407 via 407 ETR: If we do use Hwy 407, we might as well use Hwy 407 station since it is a lot quicker to get to than Pioneer Village, and it only takes a couple minutes on the subway from there into the centre of campus. Once there's fare integration with the TTC, the two stop transfer seems better overall. However, this option seems a bit redundant with GO bus service.
To VMC via Hwy 7: The advantage of serving VMC is that it connects Viva Purple to Züm 501. So passengers using Viva Purple for crosstown trips have twice as many buses to connect to than if the connection point is at Hwy 7 and Jane, reducing wait times. Again, with fare integration the transfer to the subway would be a minimal inconvenience, which could be offset by avoiding the variability of traffic congestion around York U.
 
^ I believe that public transit buses are allowed to use Hwy 407 for free, and that was part of the sale agreement.

I agree with all other points.
 
^ I believe that public transit buses are allowed to use Hwy 407 for free, and that was part of the sale agreement.
Where did you hear that? I did a quick search through the sale agreement but couldn't find anything to that effect. The definition of 'heavy vehicles' under schedule 22 specifically includes transit vehicles.
 
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No, Metrolinx is definitely paying 407 bills, and I've never seen any indication of some sort of discount arrangement.

What I heard was that MTO vehicles are exempt from 407 tolls, and GO buses pay a special discounted rate in return for not going to court over whether GO buses count as “MTO vehicles”.

Other transit buses would just pay the regular commercial rate since this doesn’t apply and since they don’t have the volume to justify a bulk discount.
 
What I heard was that MTO vehicles are exempt from 407 tolls, and GO buses pay a special discounted rate in return for not going to court over whether GO buses count as “MTO vehicles”.

Other transit buses would just pay the regular commercial rate since this doesn’t apply and since they don’t have the volume to justify a bulk discount.

What do you mean "what I heard"? Where did you hear it? That's just as unhelpful as "I believe".

No, Metrolinx is definitely paying 407 bills, and I've never seen any indication of some sort of discount arrangement.
You say they're "definitely" paying 407 bills, but based on what evidence?

Guys, we are disagreeing on a point of fact. What we need here is evidence, not speculation.
 
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What do you mean "what I heard"? Where did you hear it? That's just as unhelpful as "I believe".


You say they're "definitely" paying 407 bills, but based on what evidence?

Guys, we are disagreeing on a point of fact. What we need here is evidence, not speculation.

I don't remember, but I also don't claim to be making a statement of fact.

We would probably need someone with insider knowledge to settle this definitively, and they might not at liberty to disclose.
 
I don't remember, but I also don't claim to be making a statement of fact.
Fair enough, I didn't mean to call you out specifically. I was just frustrated that we kept posting messages that didn't get us any closer to answering the question.
We would probably need someone with insider knowledge to settle this definitively, and they might not at liberty to disclose.
I suspect the information is publicly available somewhere (such as in the sale agreement somewhere), but an insider would have a much easier time finding the documentation.
 

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