up express

Toronto transit users outraged over news UP Express trains will now skip stations

In announcing some significant improvements coming to GO Transit service in and around Toronto on Monday, Premier Doug Ford managed to piss a fair share of constituents off with changes his government is making to the UP Express train.

Starting on April 28, riders will benefit from greater frequency on the Lakeshore West and Lakeshore East GO lines — which will see trains every 15 minutes rather than every 30 — as well as on the Kitchener, Milton and Stouffville routes.

But, alongside this positive development is the news that starting on the same date, half of UP Express trains will run non-stop between Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport, skipping the Bloor and Weston stops.

It's something that Ford touted as an enhancement, but which many are seeing as the complete opposite.

Residents are wondering what the benefit of the schedule change is when so many people board or disembark at the two middle stops, which only add a few minutes to the total travel time between the terminus hubs for those taking it the entire way.

Based on conversations online, people are anticipating more confusion and difficulty for passengers than anything else as a result, with the general consensus being that people would rather have more stops and greater connectivity than save a few minutes on what is already a relatively short ride.

"It's objectively a worse decision," one person on Reddit argued. "If they were serious about improving crowding they would increase service by ordering more trains and having them run more frequently. Instead, they've done the opposite and worsened service while trying to say it's a good thing."

Another agreed, writing that "although envisioned and designed as an 'airport only' line, the reality is that [the UP] us a very useful means of getting around otherwise. I would like to see increased service/frequency."

A few, though, surmised that the move is likely a cost-saving measure (perhaps to cut down on the costs of fare evasion and enforcement, as many feel inspectors are most often only at Union and Pearson) and could help with overcrowding and train capacity issues.

As one person explained, "The UP Express are super crowded, especially during rush hour. Replacing half the service at Bloor/Weston with longer GO Trains helps address this. Ideally, they'd run more UP service but they can't do that because we're out of trains and not buying more because they've been plagued with issues."

Others also noted that though the idea seems nonsensical at first, the cuts will be compensated for with the ramped up service on the Kitchener line, which also stops at both Bloor and Weston.

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In total, the amendments to GO Train schedules will add 300 weekly trips to support Metrolinx's and the Province's goal of providing two-way, all-day GO options.

Lead photo by

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