MiWay, the new Mississauga transit buses and routes, have been designed and developed to make the commute to and from the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus more comfortable and convenient.
Students travelling to UTM on the 110 University Express (City Centre Transit Terminal – UTM – Clarkson GO) or the 101 Oakville Express (Islington Subway Station – UTM – Oakville Core Terminal) will be able to experience the new blue MiExpress buses starting on October 4. There will be 10 new hybrid-electric buses dedicated to running on these routes regularly.
“Students will enjoy more comfortable seating, reading lights, power outlets for laptops and larger windows,” Patricia Runzer, a marketing representative for the City of Mississauga Transportation and Works Department, told The Varsity.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8, UTM students got a sneak peek of the new fleets before they hit the streets, reported UTM’s campus newspaper, The Medium. The bus was parked outside the Student Centre with Runzer by its side.
“We’re here to show off our new buses and to show students our new name,” she said, adding that students seemed to be most excited about the power outlets.
The modern features offered on the bus may be a plus for students but, also appealing about this new transit system is the reduced wait times between buses during high-traffic periods.
MiWay will be offering two types of service to UTM: MiExpress (blue buses for express travel to UTM via routes 101 and 110) and MiLocal (orange buses for local travel via Routes 1C and 44).
On September 6, just in time for back to school, the MiExpress Route 110 University began departing from the City Centre Transit Terminal every eight minutes during the morning and afternoon rush hours, and every 17 minutes during the midday rush. From the Clarkson GO station, the buses now leave every 15 minutes during the rush hours, and every 34 minutes during the midday. In the evening, buses depart stops every 30 minutes. The MiExpress Route 101 Oakville Express departs from stops every 20 minutes during rush hours only.
Director of Mississauga Transit, Geoff Marinoff, said the 42 new blue express buses will serve passengers traveling on Mississauga’s current network of five express routes that extends across the city and connect to popular destinations “such as the Islington Subway Station, Westwood Mall, Meadowvale Town Centre, City Centre Transit Terminal, Clarkson GO Station, University of Toronto Mississauga campus, and the Airport Corporate Centre.”
These new buses and bus routes are part of Mississauga’s Bus Rapid Transit project in partnership with GO Transit, and will ease commuting throughout the GTA. The $249 million BRT project is currently underway and scheduled to begin operating in 2013. The project is planned to create an 11-mile dedicated east and west corridor running alongside Highway 403, which will allow for faster travel between Oakville, Mississauga, and Toronto.
“This transit project is unprecedented and the largest the city has undertaken in its history,” said Mayor Hazel McCallion in a press release to the City of Mississauga. “It represents the future of Mississauga and our Council’s commitment to develop transit. The BRT will give people more and better transit options and help support continued growth.”
Muhammad Riaz, a first-year commerce student, is one of the students who will benefit from MiWay. Riaz told The Varsity he is looking forward to the reduced wait times and dedicated buses.
“The buses coming more frequently and having set routes to help UTM students will definitely make my commute easier,” said Riaz, who commutes from the Square One area.
As evolutionary as this transit system may be, it does not seem to be convenient for some students or employees commuting to UTM from within Mississauga’s borders.
Zamour Johnson, 18, who works in the food court on campus and is considering attending UTM next year, said MiWay doesn’t make his commute to work easier simply because the route doesn’t pass through his neighbourhood at Mississauga Rd. and the QEW.
“There aren’t any direct routes to UTM on my side of the city which makes it incredibly difficult to get anywhere if I don’t have a ride by car,” explained Johnson.
These new buses also won’t help nor hinder Nicole Ferreira’s commute from Toronto to Mississauga. Ferreira, a second-year student double majoring in geography and geographical systems, takes advantage of the free shuttles offered from the St. George campus to UTM. However, as a vegetarian and self-proclaimed green activist, Ferreira admires the city of Mississauga for its switch to hybrid buses.
“The UTM campus actively promotes the importance of maintaining it’s clean, green environment despite being built in the centre of a forest it holds much of what it took from it,” she said. “I love the campus because of that so adding these routes plus hybrid/electric makes it so such more awesome for me to say ‘I go to UTM.'”
A mobile site which will display the next three departure times or the full schedule for any day of the week for any bus stop in Mississauga will be available for smart phones soon. An Iphone application is also in the works.
For more information on the new buses or routes, visit miway.ca