This fall could bring some major changes to dozens of bus routes in Waterloo Region, as the Grand River Transit network is realigned to meet the Ion light rail line in many locaitons.

In total, 24 routes would be either created or realigned under the proposal. Big changes include the 201 iXpress being extended in south Kitchener to run down Manitou Drive and Homer Watson Boulevard to Conestoga College, as well as a new 205 iXpress route running along Ottawa Street between Lackner Boulevard and the Sunrise Centre.

Route 7, long separated into three separate routes, wouldl be consolidated into one. The consolidated route would travel along King Street between Conestoga Mall in Waterloo and Dixon Street in Kitchener, then use the Kingsdale neighbourhood to connect with Fairview Park Mall.

In downtown Kitchener, the Charles Street Terminal would be largely abandoned if the changes went ahead, with most downtown bus routes instead using Duke Street between Frederick and Francis streets.

The proposed changes must still be approved by regional councillors. Before they go up for a vote, they will be available for public scrutiny at a series of open houses.

The first open houses take place this week. One runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the regional headquarters on Frederick Street in Kitchener, with the other from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday at The Shops Uptown Waterloo.

Two more drop-in sessions are being held next week – April 10, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Albert McCormick Community Centre in Waterloo, and April 11 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Lions Arena in Kitchener.

An online survey is also available.

Changes to GRT bus routes typically take effect in early September, although no specific timetable for this year’s alterations has been made public.

Also unclear is whether the changes to bus routes will be timed to line up with the start of light rail transit service. An update on the start date for LRT service is expected to be delivered on April 18.

Specific details of proposed changes to GRT routes are available on the GRT website.