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Making connections – Durham’s shuttle experience

With the opening of the University of Ontario’s Institute of Technology (UOIT) in north Oshawa in 2003, came the challenge of providing students with viable commuting options. Although the Region of Durham was served by several local transit operators and GO Transit, transit service to UOIT and the existing Durham College campus were not well served. Travel to Durham College/UOIT for many students required multiple transfers, as well as significant cost and time burdens. To mitigate this, the College and University partnered with the Region to develop a shuttle service, providing a convenient and affordable commute alternative for students traveling across the Region.

The shuttle provided transit connections between local transit services and GO Bus service for selected routes at significantly lower cost to students. Central to the plan was a new Student Transit Pass available only to Durham College/UOIT students and sold at the January 2005 Student transit passStudent Centre on campus. The pass offered considerable savings, and allowed unlimited travel not only on the shuttle, but on all local transit services within Durham Region.

The continued interest and growth of this service helped illustrate a need and made this a permanent fixed route with launch of the new Durham Region Transit system in January 2006. It also is an example of how integrated transit solutions can be facilitated through Smart Commute.