Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Viva Experience

Today, I am about as close to car-free as I've been for years. I dropped my car off yesterday to get fixed, and told them to take as long as they want (maybe that was a mistake, but that's not the subject of this post). I woke up and went through my routine of getting ready for my bike ride, when it started thundering and raining hard. I hope this doesn't disappoint my reader, but thought of public transit, and decided this was a good opportunity to try out York Region's new transit system, Viva. (they have a fancy web site)

Here's how it went:

8:00 - leave my place
8:10 - On the TTC subway (walk to the station, include a stop at the bank)
8:31 - at Finch station (longest subway ride ever. I was watching the holes in the concrete wall slowly creep past the window)
8:34 - arrive at wrong bus platform
8:36 - arrive at right bus platform (there were no signs other than "buses" and "exit". Apparently I should choose "exit")
8:41 - pull away from Finch Station on VIVA "Rapid Transit Vehicle"
9:00 - Arrive at Richmond Hill Station (watched the "purple" eastbound bus pull out of the station as my "blue" bus pulled in). Sign say 16 minutes until the next bus. So much for the 10 minute minimum.
9:16 - VIVA bus arrives and leaves reasonably quickly
9:25 - At my stop (Leslie). Begin walking
9:30 - coworker passes me in his car and gives me a ride the rest of the way to work. He commented that I was walking like I was in the sad musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. I haven't seen this musical, but it sounded accurate. I appreciated the ride.
9:32 - arrive at work

I really wanted this to go well. I think this system is the best thing York Region has done for itself in a long time. And I would like to have a back-up for my bike, other than a car. But I have to say, I'm going to need to wait at least for "stage 2" in October before this is any use to me. Judging by the number of people riding it into the city, it's definitely useful for many others right now.

Conclusion: time to install those fenders and buy myself a raincoat.

Darren J 9/08/2005 11:32:00 a.m.


What's the time comparison - how long does it take you to drive to work? To bike? Its definitely cool they are increasing public transit in Richmond Hill/Markham etc. but of course to be practical for people to use it needs to be efficient. Sounds like pretty dumb timing on the part of the purple and blue buses.
Good point. Here are my other commute times:

- By bike is usually about 50 to 55 minutes
- By car it varies from 25 to 40 minutes most days

To update, on my ride home it took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes which included a 15 minute walk to the VIVA stop from my office. So it has some potential if they can sort out the transitions, keep the buses evenly spaced and add more local shuttles (the one in my office area runs every 30 minutes!).

There's also a TTC bus that comes up here. I should find out if it's faster than VIVA.

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