go station parking

People are livid that parking may no longer be free at GO stations

Toronto-area commuters who regularly use the GO train may soon find themselves paying a little more to take public transportation to work each day.

Southern Ontario transit agency Metrolinx is currently considering a number of solutions to its parking program — mainly, charging for a larger number of their parking spots at GO train stations around the GTA, more than 90 per cent of which have historically been free.

Metrolinx says that it is exploring "how to better utilize paid reserved parking" in response to the fact that customers often have difficulty finding parking in GO lots in the face of increasing ridership, and adding more parking "is not economical or good for the environment."

This could mean tens of thousands of currently free spaces will be gradually transitioned to paid.

Metrolinx estimates that parking lots are usually at capacity at a quarter of its stations.

Internal documents sourced by the Globe & Mail indicate that up to half of existing GO parking spots — which number around 77,000, according to Metrolinx — could become paid by September 2022, and that the changes could begin "within months." 

The public is outraged at the news, with many saying on social media that they'll be better off fully driving to work.

Some are so angry that they're even planning to boycott Metrolinx altogether, regardless of what the cheaper (or more environmentally-friendly) option is.

Yet others find it "disgusting" that transitgoers expect parking to be free.

More than 59 million residents take the GO train annually between 69 stations, with service and ridership on both the train and bus lines expanding dramatically each year.

Metrolinx says that it will work to encourage customers to use other ways to get to its stations, such as biking, local transit, ride-sharing/carpooling and walking.

Also, that the new parking plan is in its early phases and has yet to be approved. Details are not final and could still change as the team continues researching solutions.

Lead photo by

Jeremy Gilbert


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