GO Transit is reducing service as ridership falls by 90%
The TTC isn't alone in seeing far fewer passengers than normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic: GO Transit's ridership has fallen off an even steeper cliff, declining some 90 per cent since a state of emergency was declared in Ontario.
Metrolinx, the provincially-owned regional transit agency that operates GO buses in the GTA and beyond, announced in a press release on Monday that it would be further reducing service while much of the local workforce remains housebound.
"Transit ridership is now down by 90% during this unprecedented time as people are heeding public health advice to stay at home. In response, GO Transit is further reducing service to ensure we can continue to safely and sustainably operate during the course of the pandemic," reads the release.
"Service continues on all GO lines and bus routes, and UP Express service continues to operate at a reduced schedule of every 30 minutes."
ICYMI: Further temporary reductions to @GOtransit begin April 8. Requesting our healthcare workers review schedule ASAP & let us know if it doesn’t work for you. We want to ensure we get you to your jobs on the frontlines. https://t.co/kpzWx7wXaM— Anne Marie Aikins (@AMAwithAMA) April 6, 2020
Being that public transit is considered an essential service — and for good reason — Metrolinx says it won't be shutting down any transit lines completely.
"Transit is considered a critical service to ensure essential workers in hospitals, shelters, long-term care facilities, and the food service industry can get to their jobs," states the agency.
"Metrolinx staff on the frontlines, in operations and on the incident command team, are closely monitoring ridership and where and when service is needed the most."
In a blog post on its website, Metrolinx states that GO train lines will operate every 60-90 minutes at times of the day when they normally have service, and that most stations will still be served "just less frequently."
Going to work. 🎤 All by myself... don’t wanna be... all by myself... anymoreee 🎤 #COVID2019 #GOtrain @GOtransitMI (I refrained from singing though. Quiet Zone probably still applies) pic.twitter.com/prkqOr5td7— Sharon Khoo (@ShazKhoo) March 17, 2020
GO staff continue to take extra safety precautionse to protect themselves and passengers as the 2019 novel coronavirus spreads rapidly in Ontario, and the company is now asking riders to help do their part as well.
"We are also actively encouraging customers to space themselves out on trains and buses as well as platforms," reads today's press release.
"Transit riders should remain in their seat and not crowd around the doors as they exit. Stay home if sick and do not ride trains and buses."
The TTC announced a few weeks ago that with ridership down by 70 to 75 per cent, the transit agency is losing as much as $20 million per week to do the COVID-19 pandemic.
Metrolinx did not provide any loss figures, but it stands to reason that, like so many other services and businesses across the world, the agency is missing out on tons of revenue right now.
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