Kitchener-Waterloo

Mark your calendars! LRT officially launches June 21, region says

LRT will officially launch on June 21, said regional council Wednesday night. An opening ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m on June 21 at the ION Fairway Station.

11 days of free service for LRT and GRT following official launch date

An LRT vehicle undergoes testing in Kitchener. Regional council announced the LRT will finally be open to the public June 21. (Peggy Lam/CBC)

Transit users in Kitchener-Waterloo will finally be able to ride the LRT as of June 21.

Regional council made the announcement during its meeting Wednesday night.

Applause echoed through the regional chamber after a short video revealed the official launch date.

"There were times I thought this day may not come," said Tom Galloway, a regional councillor and the chair of the planning and works committee.

"It's very, very humbling to me being able to make the announcement of the launch of the ION LRT."

In November 2018, regional staff said they aimed to have the LRT up and running by spring 2019 after several delays due to issues with Bombardier's production and transport of the vehicles.

Galloway said regional staff will be able to meet their spring 2019 deadline as the LRT launches the morning of the last day of spring.

An opening ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on June 21 at the ION Fairway Station.

Following the official launch, the region will allow for 11 days of free transit service for the LRT, Mobility Plus, ION buses and Grand River Transit buses. 

The ceremony will also highlight the ION bus connection from Fairway to the Ainslie terminal in Cambridge as the first step to implement light rail in Cambridge.

Council decided to implement the LRT in two stages across Waterloo region in 2011, six years after extensive research and public consultation on the project.

Galloway said the region has so far secured over $3 billion of residential and business development along the LRT corridor.

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