VIVA Blue NightIn Toronto, there is demand to run the subway 24 hours per day - that's evident by the frequency of the 300 BLOOR-DANFORTH night and 320 YONGE night buses (every 7 minutes and every 3 minutes, respectively). The need for maintenance is the reason why it cannot be done until a new signaling system allows for the electrical power shutoff zones to be smaller and more targeted. Up in York Region, however, the situation isn't quite the same. YRT recently announced that they will be cutting service on their VIVA Blue bus rapid transit line after midnight due to low ridership. The 99 YONGE SOUTH and 98 YONGE NORTH buses will continue to operate along the same route, with the last northbound trip leaving Finch station at 2:15 am - but this route will make all local stops.
On the one hand, there isn't enough ridership to justify an express branch of a local route at that time of day, and the more frequent stops that the 99 offers what I think is a better quality of service in the context of it being 2 am - I'm not the kind to fear walking around after dark, but that doesn't mean I want to walk fifteen minutes when I can walk five. In addition, the time savings offered by VIVA's express nature aren't really an issue at that time due to fewer stop requests and almost no traffic. But, VIVA is York Region's flagship service and appears to have a better public perception than the regular YRT service. What weight should those facts carry in the decision making process?
Ideally both routes should continue to operate, but due to the odd way in which transit is funded in this province, the money just isn't there. Assuming that YRT local routes can provide a near identical service and if the region can clear up some of the lingering customer confusion over the relationship between YRT and VIVA then was the right decision made?