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More bus-only lanes open

Province announces funding to extend line from Oshawa to Scarborough

durham_region_transitBy Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express

More bus-only lanes have opened for traffic in Durham Region – and thanks to some new funds from the province, there will be more on the way.

The new 900-metre extension, between Liverpool and Glenanna roads on Highway 2 in Pickering, joins the section of bus-only lanes in Ajax, bringing the total to 2.3 kilometres, with plans to grow to four kilometres by March 2018.

The end goal of the project is to have bus-only lanes stretching from downtown Oshawa to Scarborough Town Centre.

Vincent Patterson, the general manager of Durham Region Transit, says that the PULSE line, which operates on the bus-only lanes, has been a huge success for transit users in the region.

“The success in PULSE is really in the numbers. We’re carrying 150 per cent of what we expected in the first couple of years, so clearly people need to go other places than just downtown Toronto via Union Station. There are parallel corridors of travel because they serve destinations. It’s as simple as that,” he says, adding that there needs to be more to east-west travel between Durham Region and Toronto than just the GO Train’s Lakeshore East line.

As part of the opening of the new stretch of bus-only lanes, the province announced that it would be providing approximately $10 million to Metrolinx, the province’s transit authority, to work with the region to help advance the planning, design and engineering work for the extension of these lanes.

Patterson says the eventually completed route, which will stretch over 36 kilometres, will be integral to Durham Region Transit’s future.

“The PULSE route is the backbone of the Durham transit system as a whole,” he says.

“Every improvement to it, in terms of infrastructure and preferential treatment on the road, means that it benefits a whole lot of people riding the system in any corner of the areas we cover.”