go expansion

Toronto area's biggest transit boost in a decade comes with a major downgrade

The new GO expansion bringing more than 300 additional weekly trips around the GTA is an undeniable win for commuters, but while most are celebrating this big step for the region's transit network, others have noticed some drawbacks coming as part of the deal.

Aside from the criticized changes to the UP Express schedule to make some trips direct between Union and Pearson — a move that was immediately reversed after the ensuing backlash — residents are noticing some not-so-desirable amendments to GO bus schedules just as GO train schedules are ramping up.

One rider outlined all of the changes they noticed to bus routes starting later this month when train frequency increases, writing on Reddit that "the GO Transit bus network is getting massive service cuts starting next weekend."

"Alongside the 300 new train trips that are coming on the 27th and 28th, the GO bus network is getting massive service cuts. Excluding bus trips that are catered to post-secondary students, all but 5 routes are losing at least one bus trip in total," they bemoaned in a post on Tuesday.

"Every single route besides those five are losing some service (including the 30 to Kitchener, and the 40 and 94 that run overnight to Pearson Airport). Even on the rail corridors, when trains aren't running such as during late night and in the counter-peak direction on weekdays, there will be less bus service."

The GO Transit bus network is getting massive service cuts starting next weekend
byu/Independent-Rush6105 inontario

Per a detailed breakdown they provided in another post on the platform, some bus lines will be serviced less often, will start service later in the day and/or will end it earlier in the evening. 

The lines impacted include the Lakeshore West line (18), Lakeshore East (90), the Milton line (21), Kitchener (routes 30, 31 and 33), Barrie (routes 63, 65 and 68), Niagara Falls (12) and Hamilton (routes 16 and 17).

"Obviously more train service is good, but I personally think it's not worth it (at least in its current state) considering how detrimental the bus reductions are," the poster wrote after their extensive work looking into the subject.

"Also some of the service levels are just such a far cry from how it used to be pre-pandemic. The 96 Oshawa/Finch Express used to run every 30 minutes on weekdays, but now there's no bus that runs from Oshawa on weekdays at 6 PM."

As many noted in the comments sections of the posts, the cuts are likely to help cover the costs of drastically improving service on local GO Train lines, many of which will directly compensate for the lack of buses.

Though quite a few called the scaling back "disappointing," but  a necessary downside in the face of better service on other lines when there is only so much money, staff and other resources available.

A spokesperson for Metrolinx confirmed that the transit authority is indeed making some changes to GO bus service, which is largely in response to varying travel patterns and lower customer demand.

They added that the company is "sing the resources from very low ridership timeslots on some routes to offer flexible, alternative travel options to customers during upcoming construction projects for GO Expansion."

April 27 and 28 service changes
byu/Independent-Rush6105 ingotransit

They provided the example of routes 32 and 36, which both travel to and from Brampton: "We have seen a number of our customers shift to using route 32 over route 36, and we have increased service along route 32 as a result," they explained.

"As another example, in response to customer feedback, the majority of route 21 trips have been reinstated to once again to serve Union Station Bus Terminal. And on routes where ridership is consistently very low, we are making changes to better align our services to ridership levels... and are also making changes to our services to match changing travel patterns based on seasonality."

They assured riders that "there will be no reductions to routes without alternative travel options available, and customers will not see any first or last trips affected along any of our bus routes."

Lead photo by

Philip Lange/Shutterstock

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