Canada’s Region of Waterloo opens its first LRT

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo, in Ontario, has launched the ION Light Rail Transit (LRT) with a 16-km length served by 19 stations. The line links serve the residents and visitors of Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, as well as surrounding rural municipalities.
“This is one of the largest and fastest-growing urban centres in Ontario. The Waterloo ION LRT project will provide a quick and convenient transportation option to more people between Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge, and mean shorter commute times that leave people more time for what matters most,” Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga said.
14 low-floor light rail vehicles delivered by Bombardier operate the line which is expected to transport 25 000 passengers per day.
As part of the GrandLinq Consortium, Keolis Grand River operates the new line for the next 10 years and is responsible for its maintenance the next 30 years. This is Keolis’ first light rail operation in North America.
ION is being implemented in two stages. Stage 2 will see ION bus converted to light rail, creating a seamless route across the region’s three urban centres.
The network is funded by all three levels of government and fully integrated within the Region of Waterloo’s existing public transport service, Grand River Transit (GRT). The transport options, for which just one fare applies, will be flexible and inclusive as the population grows.
ION LRT is considered a transformative element for the Region of Waterloo, which is the fourth largest community in Ontario with an existing population of over half a million.
ION will not only provide a frequent and reliable transit, it is also shaping the community by encouraging more residential and commercial development in Waterloo Region’s existing urban areas.

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