Waterloo light rail open for service
Published 25 June 2019
Waterloo Region – ION, the Region of Waterloo’s light rail transit system, opened for service on June 21, following an official ceremony at the ION Fairway station.
On hand to open the system were Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga on behalf of the Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, as well as Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman and members of Regional Council.
“I am thrilled to see the completion of the first stage of the ION rapid transit system infrastructure project that will revolutionize the way residents use public transit in their day-to-day lives,” said Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre. “This rapid transit system will build a more sustainable and prosperous future for the residents of Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo and provide a clean, modern, efficient, and expandable transit system that will meet the Region’s needs for decades to come.”
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. Over 50 per cent of new development in the region is now happening within the existing urban areas, with $2.3 billion invested in new construction along the ION route since 2011.
“This is one of the largest and fastest-growing urban centres in Ontario,” said Mike Harris, MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga. “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.”
“This truly is a historic day for Waterloo Region,” said Region of Waterloo Chair Karen Redman. “I am so excited and honoured to see the launch of ION light rail and I have no doubt that this will be a transformational transit system that will continue to shape our community for generations to come. I want to thank all the Regional staff, project partners and community members for all of the effort and support to make this project a reality.”
ION is being implemented in two stages. Stage 1 includes a light rail connection from Conestoga station in Waterloo to Fairway station in Kitchener, as well as an ION bus connection from Fairway station to Ainslie Street transit terminal in Cambridge.
Stage 2 will see ION bus converted to light rail, creating a seamless route across the region’s three urban centres.
To celebrate the opening of ION light rail, 11 days of free service is being provided across the Grand River Transit network, from opening day to Canada Day on July 1st.
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