The final Mississauga Transitway station officially opened on Dec. 18. It’s a large component in a grand plan to get local commuters moving more efficiently in east-west directions.

The new Renforth Station promises to improve passenger links to the TTC and Pearson Airport. It’s located in the east side of the city, near the Eglinton Ave./Renforth Dr. area, close to the border of Mississauga and Etobicoke. The most westerly station is located at Winston Churchill Blvd.

Now complete, the Transitway provides an 18-kilometre stretch of road for buses to travel along the northern edge of Mississauga by shadowing Highway 403, and all without dealing with automobile traffic. With 12 stations in place along the route, officials believe it is a key element to long range travel strategies across the Greater Toronto Area. Specifically for Mississauga, planners hope it will be part of a significant transit hub, joining with the planned Hurontario Light Rapid Transit (LRT) and MiWay buses at Square One.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie says the Transitway is a critical piece to the puzzle that works toward the goal of a regionally integrated, seamless transit system that will get people where they are going, quickly.

“It connects communities, as well as three major business centres from the Meadowvale Business Park, to our City Centre, to the Airport Corporate Centre, that, together, employ over 101,500 people,” she said. “It also connects the wider GTA, including Oakville and Toronto, and, hopefully soon, to Toronto Pearson.”

While city officials say the Transitway makes it quicker for commuters to travel now, the long-term goal is efficiency.

While some have complained the Transitway appears underused, especially to a population used to travelling by car, Mississauga officials have always maintained the project has been undertaken with an eye to the future, but one that comes with immediate practical returns. Combined with the Hurontario LRT, the system prepares for future population increases, and will put many residents within two kilometres of rapid transit.

According to Geoff Wright, city transportation and works commissioner, MiWay ridership has increased since the Transitway opened and will help to transition commuters from individual vehicles to an efficient bus system. The Transitway already saves about 10 minutes in travel time, compared to going the same distance by car.

Several commuters The Review spoke to had common opinions about the new station and the expectations that it holds. Many are taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding if it will be the answer to their travel concerns.

“I haven’t decided if this is the answer,” said George Harris, who was on his way home from work. “I only use it (the Transitway) occasionally and, so far, so good. If it works as well as it did today I will use it more often. I have to try it a few more times.”

The project was jointly funded from all three levels of government and took six years to complete.