Could a Night Bus System Work in Halton?

Published January 24, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Transit service stops running at around 1 a.m. and picks up again at around 5 a.m., depending on the municipality.

Transit service stops running at around 1 a.m. and picks up again at around 5 a.m., depending on the municipality.

For shift workers, party people, and others, it might be useful to have public transportation running while everyone else is asleep.

Milton is the fastest-growing municipality in Ontario (sixth overall in Canada), according to Statistics Canada, with 110,128 residents in 2016.

Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) has been working with the Town of Milton and other public and private-sector partners for about 10 years to develop plans for a local university campus.

Currently, the combined 18-to-24-year-old population of Halton/Peel is nearly 200,000 and is anticipated to grow by almost 20 per cent by 2035.

With this huge development on the horizon, perhaps it’s time for transit to step up its game with night service, or “owl service” as its often called.

Basically, night bus service fills in the gap between when regular buses stop running at night and when they start running again in the morning.

Night bus service operates less frequently (typically every half an hour or so depending on the bus) and with less bus routes than regular daytime service.

Several major cities in Canada run night bus systems — Toronto has the Blue Night with a special 300-series of buses, Montreal also has a 300-series of All-night service, even Vancouver has its own N-series of 10 night buses.

In Toronto, buses and streetcars run on most major routes every morning from about 1:30 a.m. until 6 a.m. from Monday through Saturday, and 1:30 a.m. until 8 a.m. on Sundays. Night bus stops are marked with a reflective blue band.

Outside of Canada, night buses also exist in such major cities as Hong Kong and London.

It’s no secret that some areas of Halton are growing more rapidly than others.

Milton is young, educated, diverse, with some serious entreprenurial juice.

We’ve got the MEV Innovation Centre, and we’re essentially developing into a major suburban town of our own right.

Having 24-hour bus service could amplify our position as an urban centre.

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