Tag Archives: iXpress

Fischer-Hallman Express Stations Uncovered

Waterloo Region’s second iXpress route, along Fischer-Hallman Road, will begin service in September. It will start at 30 minute headways Monday through Sunday, and have 15 minute headways during peaks. We hear that the route branding will be something like “Route 201 iXpress”, though it would be more useful if it were simply iXpress Fischer-Hallman or iXpress [colour].

The stop locations have not been publicized, however it turns out that they appear in a Request for Proposals for transit shelters for the route, from several months back. The full proposal details (PDF) include a list of stations and drawings of exact shelter locations (Appendix 2).

View Fischer-Hallman Express in a larger map

From south to north, the stations are: Forest Glen Plaza, Block Line / Laurentian, Block Line / Westmount, Westmount (on Fischer-Hallman), Activa, Ottawa, McGarry, Highland, Victoria, Stoke / Hazelglen, University, Thorndale, Erb, Keats Way, Columbia, Columbia / Beechlawn, Columbia / Hagey, Columbia / Phillip, University / Phillip (one way), Hazel / University (one way). (Note: the list in the PDF has a mysterious “University / Conestoga College” stop, which all signs point to actually being Hazel / University.)

The list really is pretty boring – the route stops mostly at major intersections, stays on Fischer-Hallman instead of entering the Highland Hills terminal, and keeps a stop distance around the 600-1000m range. It doesn’t stop at Columbia and Westmount, instead stopping at Beechlawn just west of it. That location allows for better access from both sides of Columbia Street but it requires a terrible pedestrian crossing (link to Street View), which is going to be dangerous without at least a pedestrian island.

The main thing the line is missing is an anchor at the south end to help make it a line with demand in both directions all day. Currently the route will mostly serve to connect residential lands in the south with employment and the universities in the north. But it’s a long and quick route on a major corridor, so there will likely be many other kinds of trips as well.

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Untangling the Route 7 Mainline: Understandable Transit

Current monster of a Route 7 schedule, and it's only for weekdays before 7pm. (There's a back.)

Our transit network’s most frequent service should be something we can take pride in. Unfortunately, the “mainline” Route 7 is an absolute mess. It has three branches in the north end, three branches in the south end, a long layover right in the middle, problems with bus bunching, and a schedule that can confound even the seasoned transit user — to say nothing of those who need convincing to take transit. On essentially the same corridor, we also have a rapid service, but which is not as frequent. A rethinking is in order.

We propose that iXpress frequencies be increased, that Route 7 be consolidated into a single trunk route on King Street, and that the north end branches be split off into a local circulator — a University Loop route. This would preserve current utility, while vastly simplifying the GRT network and making it far more appealing to existing and new riders. It’s one of those cases where transferring (at University or Columbia) is good for you and good for your city. According to our back-of-the-envelope calculations on the basis of available schedule information, the redesign could be accomplished through re-allocating existing resources available after this year’s GRT improvements.

More specifically, our proposal would mean: 8 minute headways (time between buses) on the iXpress, 10 minute headways on a consolidated Route 7 on King Street, and 8-10 minute headways on both directions of a University Loop route. Each one of those would be a simple, understandable, frequent-service route. Importantly, the iXpress would take its rightful place as the most frequent service, and thereby start building up the ridership patterns for Rapid Transit service that will replace it.

If you would like to see this happen, make sure to send your comments in to Grand River Transit planners along with your other thoughts on this year’s service changes. Staff have told us that they’ve received few complaints about the complexity of Route 7 — which is the elephant in the room. Let them know what you think.

The rest of this post describes the redesign and why it will work.


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