The Region of Waterloo’s goal is to provide a full Light Rail Transit (LRT) system that will move people in and around Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo. ION Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is the first step towards bringing LRT to Cambridge.
ION BRT has launched! Schedules and more information can be found on the Grand River Transit website.
The ION BRT service is a 17 kilometre route designed to build transit ridership along Cambridge’s busiest corridor. Special features such as limited stops, transit signal priority, queue jumps (a right turn and bus only lane that will allow, with the aid of traffic signals, buses to bypass traffic queued at busy intersections) and bus bypass shoulders will allow more convenient access to Cambridge’s shopping, employment and recreational facilities. ION BRT has six stops, including four on Hespeler Road, one at Fairview Park Mall transit terminal and one at Sportsworld.
Why use BRT?
In 2011, Council approved LRT for the region in two stages. This is similar to what other communities have done when building rapid transit systems around the world.
Stage 1 includes LRT from Kitchener to Waterloo and adapted Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Cambridge to Kitchener.
Stage 2 will see BRT converted to LRT, creating a 37 kilometre LRT route across the three urban centres.
The staged approach to light rail transit (LRT) was chosen by Council to build ridership south of the Fairview Park Mall transit terminal in preparation for Stage 2. Only the Kitchener to Waterloo ridership numbers were high enough to secure initial funding for LRT from the provincial and federal governments. This meant that capital costs to build the entire system all at once were too high. Therefore, the staged approach was chosen.
To help build ridership south of the Fairview Park Mall transit terminal and in order to move closer to LRT in Cambridge, Council approved $1 million per year for 10 years.