Kitchener-Waterloo

Grand River Transit changes mean longer walks, faster rides

Grand River Transit's new fall schedule is the largest overhaul to the system yet. The changes mean many people will walk further to get to a bus stop, but they'll have a quicker ride once they get on board.

New transit routes aim to connect bus routes with Ion stops

Major changes to the Grand River Transit bus schedule include the introduction of a new iXpress bus and old routes recombined to create new routes 1, 2 and 20. (Grand River Transit)

Grand River Transit's new fall schedule is the biggest change the system has ever seen. And those changes mean many people will have to walk further to get to bus stop, but will have a quicker ride once they get on board. 

The new schedule eliminates five routes — the 15, 17, 19, 24 and 25 — and incorporates those areas into the existing routes 1, 2 and 20. 

It also includes a new iXpress route, the 204, that runs along Victoria Street and Highland Road and creates a new east-west corridor, said John Cicuttin manager of transit development with Grand River Transit. 

The new routes mean faster trips to major destinations on primary corridors, but longer walks, Cicuttin said. 

"We're deviating less onto local streets," he said. 

"For some folks that deviation that we used to do meant they would have a closer walk, but it made travel for everybody else along the route much longer. So we've really been encouraging people to walk a litter further in some cases but to a more frequent, more reliable, more fuller bus service route."

Cicuttin said the changes were met with mixed reviews at public consultations. 

"We've heard from some folks that the additional 400, 500 meters would be a hardship, particularly for those who are less mobile; elderly and maybe have mobility issues. But we also heard from people that they really like what we're proposing because it's much more direct."

Despite cuts to some routes, 10 busses were added to the GRT service during peak periods, and the changes mean a five per cent increase in service overall when compared to the Fall 2014 schedule. 

It also paves the way for links with the new ION light rail with bus routes connecting to LRT transfers at the King and Victoria and King and Charles or King and Frederick stations in Kitchener. 

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