Durham’s Transit System – En route to the right destination
The language used by people who live in the Durham Region for DRT (Durham Region Transit) can best be referred to as ‘colourful’. It was notorious for getting you to your destination late, but now things are changing. DRT is improving and is en route to becoming a great transit system; it just took longer to reach this point than it should have. The reality is that it was very hard for some people to rely on any form of public transport.
It just wasn’t dependable
Unless you were lucky enough to be in an area where buses were plenty, you had to wait a lot. The wait between two buses was a lot and they were often behind the schedule as well. The people hit the worst were students and people with jobs; reaching a place on time when your transport is unreliable is not an easy thing to do. It was clear to see that not a lot of thought was being put into the transit system but thankfully that seems to have changed in the last year. We saw more exciting developments for improving the DRT system in the last year than we have seen in the past decade.
App to the rescue
The biggest and our favorite change that has occurred is how fantastically information technology is being utilized by the Durham Region residents to improve things. The officials responsible for the DRT are helping too, but the residents accomplished a great task all on their own. The 28 million people who use Moovit all over the world to enhance their transit experience will attest to the app being extremely useful; the biggest problem with using the public transport system was that it was hard to make plans because you didn’t know when you will get transport.
The app provides transit mapping, schedules, and even live departure and arrival times. The app wasn’t available in Durham Region due to a lack of transit data, but two residents aimed to use the editor within the app to record the data. They mapped out the whole system and now all of Durham Region’s residents can use the app to plan their day while using the transit lines. This is more empowering than most people realize; it takes the guesswork completely out of the picture. It makes DRT something which one can actually depend on usefully.
The government also undertook measures to make things better. They finally realized that the demographics of Durham Region have changed over the past 2 decades. New routes are being announced connecting areas people frequent, such as the link between Brooklin and University of Ontario Institute of Technology. The busiest routes (such as 416, 915, 950, and 401) which were the most frustrating to ride are also going to see more frequent buses. Pulse will be increasing high-frequency trips between Scarborough and Downtown Oshawa and many other routes as well.
The train system is being improved as well; Oshawa, Whitby, Pickering, and Ajax stops will see GO trains get major improvements that make the rides more comfortable and pleasant. All in all, we wish DRT had been excellent from the start, but it is finally turning into the DRT system the region deserves.