Grand River Transit route 200 'iXpress'
|Operating Division||Strasburg, Conestoga|
|Buses Used||Nova Bus LFS , Orion VII , |
New Flyer D40LF , Orion VI
200 iXpress was a rapid transit bus route operated by Grand River Transit, connecting the cities of Waterloo, Kitchener, and Cambridge via the Central Transit Corridor. In June 2019 with the launch of ION Rapid Transit the route was discontinued and replaced by the ION light rail from Conestoga to Fairway, and ION Bus from Fairway to Ainslie.
This route has some additional features that others do not have. They include transit priority measures along fifteen intersections, which would allow to make red lights shorter and/or green lights longer for buses, allowing for increased speed of travel. The shelters have the distinctive iXpress logo with the stop name, and real-time information on when the next bus shows up. In transit terminals, the real-time information is shown under the distinctive flags that show the iXpress logo. Automated announcements were initially launched only for the iXpress vehicles, but has since spread to all other vehicles under 13 years old.
The Region of Waterloo was selected as one of eight municipalities across the country to receive funds from Transport Canada. The Region is eligible for up to $3 million in funding, one-third the development cost of the iXpress service. The Region submitted the idea of a Central Transit Corridor Express bus service to Transport Canada’s Urban Transportation Showcase Program (UTSP) in Spring 2003. The UTSP was a five-year program created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in Canadian cities.
The iXpress bus service is a key component of the Region of Waterloo’s Growth Management Strategy. Regional Council developed this strategy in 2001 to plan how future residential and employment growth should occur. As one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, the Region of Waterloo plans to develop the community efficiently - in a way that allows community members to travel by public transit, by cycling and by walking.
The iXpress began service in 2005, to address growing demand due to the implementation of the U-Pass for Wilfrid Laurier University students, and general corridor growth throughout the Central Transit Corridor (King Street). It was originally called the CTC Express Bus Service. Service operated during weekdays only, operating every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes midday.
Saturday service was added on June 30, 2007, operating every 30 minutes throughout the whole length. September 4, 2007 showed the implementation of the U-Pass for University of Waterloo students. This, in return, introduced Sunday service and weekday evening service across the whole length, also operating every 30 minutes. 2009 saw service increases to every 15 minutes during weekday middays, and every 15 minutes on Saturdays between Conestoga Mall and Fairview. 2011 saw service increases to every 10 minutes between 7:00am and 7:00pm weekdays, weekend evening service, service increase to every 15 minutes on Saturdays on its whole length, and extra trips from Laurier to Conestoga Mall on Sundays. 2012 saw Saturday service extended to 11:30pm and Sunday service extended to 9:00pm and starting earlier at 8:00am.
Initially this route was simply called the 'iXpress'. However, with the introduction of the 201 iXpress operating along Fischer-Hallman Road in September 2011, it only made sense for this route to be given a number as well in order to distinguish between the rapid transit routes. Since the iXpress was internally known as route 200, it was given that designation.
The route starts at Conestoga Mall Terminal in Waterloo, where it goes north on King Street, west on Northfield Drive, and south on Parkside Drive, serving the McCormick community. It then continues south on Parkside Drive until it enters Wes Graham Way, and the David Johnston Research and Technology Park. Continuing south and west, the route turns south at Hagey Boulevard, serving the R&T Park stop. After serving the stop, the route continues south until it enters the UW campus. It travels along the east side of Ring Road, stopping at the Davis Centre bus stop.
South of UW, the route continues on Ring Road until the exit to University Avenue by the South Gateway. It turns east on University Avenue until King Street, serving Laurier in between. The route turns south on King Street (entering Kitchener), mirroring the local route 7 until Victoria Street (while serving Uptown Waterloo, Grand River Hospital, and King/Victoria). Drivers use Francis Street to access Charles Street and Charles Street Terminal, depending on traffic.
Passing Downtown Kitchener, the route continues east on Charles Street (serving Ottawa) until it meets back with King Street east of Ottawa Street, where it follows the 7A/7F routing around the Highway 7/8 interchange. It continues along Kingsway Drive after the interchange and enters Fairview Park Terminal from the west side. However, trips that short-turn at Fairview go straight down King Street to Highway 8, and continues until the exit at Fairway Road, turning south on Fairway Road and entering Fairview Park Terminal from the east side.
The route enters Highway 8 after serving Fairview by going north on Fairway Road. It goes the entire length down to Highway 401, then continues east on the 401 (entering Cambridge) until the Hespeler Road exit. Exiting the highway, the route goes down an overpass which leads to Smart!Centres Cambridge. It exits the power centre by heading south on Conestoga Boulevard, passing by the garage just before the turn to Dunbar Road (and Cambridge Centre Terminal). The rest of the routing to Ainslie Street Terminal mirrors route 51.
It is designed so it strategically connects with the major nodes in the transit system, which include the two universities (University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University), the three major shopping malls (Conestoga Mall, Fairview Park Mall, and Cambridge Centre), and the two major transit terminals (Charles Street Terminal and Ainslie Street Terminal).
- 200 IXPRESS ~ AINSLIE TERMINAL
- 200 IXPRESS ~ CONESTOGA MALL
- 200 IXPRESS ~ MC CORMICK
- 200 IXPRESS TO UW
Extra service is provided during the Fall and Winter schedules due to increased student loads.
|AM Peak||Midday||PM Peak||Early Evening||Late Evening||Early AM||Day||Evening||Early AM||Day||Evening|
- One extra trip operates weekdays during the Fall and Winter service boards from Charles Street Terminal to UW Davis Centre, departing at 8:43am.
- Two extra trip operates weekdays during the Fall and Winter service boards from UW Davis Centre to Conestoga Mall Terminal, departing at 2:28pm and 4:01pm.