Burlington Transit has been given the green light to implement a five-year plan that will see ridership increase by about half a million per year to 2.904 million rides. To get there the transit management are recommending
• Adding more buses to the fleet
• Children under 12 ride free
• 15 minutes or better service on Plains Road and Fairview Street
• COVID-19 Service Continuity Plan, 2020
• Pilot launch of on-demand transit, 2021
• Launch of transit signal priority, 2021
The staff report recommends moving to a grid-based system where the service would focus on high speed and frequent service particularly along the north-south arterial roads that connect directly to GO trains. The report anticipates that GO will eventually convert to a frequent, electrified (RER) train service running every 15 minutes and that Burlington transit needs to provide connecting service that will get more people using transit to get to GO.
The service is also looking at signal priority to keep the buses moving. They plan a transit signal priority pilot project on the Plains Road / Fairview Street corridor, scheduled to start in 2021. Key data and lessons learned from this pilot project will be helpful in identifying other potential applications of transit signal priority across the transit network. Other priority features, such as dedicated transit lanes, will be considered post-2024.
The report also recommends collaborating with neighbouring Hamilton Street Railway (HSR) and Oakville Transit to identify opportunities to further integrate services through shared and coordinated scheduling and routing.
Down the road Burlington would consider Electric buses such as are being rolled out by Oakville Transit at present. The report notes that electric buses cost approximately double that of a diesel equivalent bus. However, without engines and transmissions, electric buses are expected to have lower lifecycle costs.
If fully approved by council, it’s a $35 Million plan over the next four years, but the largest item on the list is $21 Million to build a new operations and maintenance centre.