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DRT committee to review budget
and proposals to improve service

At a special meeting this Tuesday, February 10, the Durham Region Transit Executive Committee will consider a report outlining the Durham Region Transit business plan and budget for 2009.

The report asks the committee to approve a DRT net expenditure in 2009 of about $33 million. The report recommends that the committee approve buying one bus to expand the current fleet, and 13 more buses to replace older vehicles in the fleet, fund five projects to refurbish older buses or replace their engines and set aside funds for developing bus rapid transit along Kingston Road / Dundas Street / King Street (Regional Highway 2).

It also proposes several changes to services for 2009:

306 Dundas

Starting June 29, increase the hours of service so that buses operate until 9:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. (Note that most DRT information refers to this route as “306 White Oaks - Oshawa Centre.)

401B Simcoe

Starting September 8, introduce a rush-hour short-turn service between Durham College / University of Ontario Institute of Technology and downtown Oshawa. This will increase the frequency of service along the northern part of the route from every 15 minutes to every 7½ minutes during Monday-to-Friday rush hours.

915 Taunton

Starting June 29, reduce the frequency of service for the summer only from every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes at all times, including rush hours.

Starting September 8, resume regular frequency of every 15 minutes during Monday-to-Friday rush hours.

Starting September 8, introduce new express service between Pickering GO Station and Durham College / University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) during Monday-to-Friday morning rush hours.

Starting September 8, extend the Monday-to-Friday afternoon rush hour so that peak service with a frequency of every 15 minutes starts earlier at about 1 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

Starting September 8, operate a later trip along the route, with a westbound bus leaving UOIT at 10:25 p.m. Mondays to Fridays.

950 Uxbridge / Port Perry / UOIT

Starting June 29, revise the schedules to increase the running time (the time for completing an entire trip in both directions along the route) and revise the route to include a stop at the Port Perry WalMart.

Starting September 8, increase the frequency of service from every 120 minutes to every 80 minutes during rush hours.

The report notes that many of these changes result from increased travel to and from high schools, colleges and universities. The number of student riders increased by about 417,000 passengers in 2008 or about 14 percent more than in 2007.

You can read the complete report here.

Durham Region Transit Executive Committee meetings are public meetings. You can attend the meeting, which takes place immediately following the joint meeting of Durham Region’s Finance and Administration and Works Committees in Committee Room LL-C in the Regional Headquarters, 605 Rossland Road East in Whitby.

You can read the agenda for the meeting here.

The committee deferred until its March meeting a report that proposed eliminating DRT’s fare-sharing agreement with GO Transit. Under that agreement, Durham Region residents can ride any GO bus within the region for the same fare as DRT charges. DRT then pays GO the difference in cost for each fare.

Two Durham transit weblogs offer more information on this proposal.

You can read David Harrison’s Durham Transit Review here.

You can read Andy Grant’s Retired Bus Driver of Durham blog here.

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