After the flurry of activity about rumoured widespread cuts to GO Transit’s bus service, the changes announced for September 3 are all “good news”. Whether there is “another shoe to drop” later in the fall remains to be seen. So far, these are not the moves of an agency about to make widespread route cuts.
Seasonal bus service will end on 12 Niagara Falls. Effective Labour Day weekend, weekday express service will end, and weekend express service will be cut back to every two hours. The weekend express service will end at Thanksgiving.
School trips will be restored on the following routes:
- 15 Brantford/Burlington
- 25 Waterloo/Mississauga
- 29 Guelph/Mississauga
- 45-46-47-48 Highway 407 West
- 51-52-54 Highway 407 East
- 88 Peterborough/Oshawa
- 93 UOIT/Scarborough
The 60 Canada’s Wonderland route will not return, and riders are encouraged to use TTC or GO services to reach York Region Transit Route 20.
In the announcement of restored and extended service on the Stouffville corridor, there is a note:
Evening bus service will continue to help you transition back to the train.
This implies that the bus service will disappear after the transition is complete, but there is no effective date for this.
On the rail network, there are many changes with new trips and hours of service on five corridors.
- Service at West Harbour Station in Hamilton will be doubled to four trips each way from the current two.
- In the morning peak, two trains that now originate at Aldershot will begin at West Harbour departing at 7:09 and 7:49 am. These are added to departures at 6:09 and 6:39 am.
- In the afternoon peak, a new train will leave Union at 4:45 pm, run express to Clarkson and then local to West Harbour arriving at 5:57 pm.
- The 6:30 pm train from Union which now ends at Aldershot will be extended to West Harbour arriving at 7:42 pm.
- The other two PM peak trips to West Harbour leave Union at 4:00 and 5:15 pm.
- Two Oakville trips will be extended to Aldershot leaving Union at 3:13 and 6:15 pm.
- The 8:32 am eastbound train from Oakville will be extended from 10 to 12 cars to add capacity.
In what must be the most over-hyped part of the entire announcement, train service to Niagara Falls will run every day all year. However, weekday service remains one train each way, and otherwise travel between the Falls and Toronto will use buses for the portion of the trip beyond Burlington GO. The weekday trains serve West Harbour Station in Hamilton.
- The morning commuter train leaves Niagara Falls GO (VIA) Station at 5:19 am arriving at Union at 7:50 am.
- The afternoon train leaves Union at 5:15 pm arriving at Niagara Falls at 7:47 pm.
Weekend service that is now seasonal will become permanent. Note that these trains do not serve West Harbour, but run express between St. Catharines and Burlington.
- Trains to Niagara Falls from Union depart at 9:00 am, 4:18 pm and 8:10 pm.
- Trains to Union from Niagara Falls depart at 8:30 am, 11:30 am, 7:20 pm and 11:00 pm.
There are small changes to the Lakeshore East schedule:
- New eastbound trips will leave Union at 2:58 and 3:28 pm running local to Oshawa arriving there at 3:56 and 4:26 pm.
- A new westbound trip will leave Oshawa at 4:48 pm running local to Union arriving there at 5:50 pm.
- The train which now leaves Oshawa westbound at 1:52 pm running express to Union will now depart at 1:53 and will stop at Whitby, Ajax and Pickering, then express to Union.
- The train which formerly started eastbound from Mount Pleasant at 9:00 am will now originate in Kitchener at 7:57 am.
- The 12:53 pm train westbound from Union will now run through to Kitchener arriving at 2:47 pm.
- The train which formerly started eastbound from Mount Pleasant at 3:52 pm will now originate in Kitchener at 2:57 pm.
- The 6:00 pm Kitchener train will now run express to Bramalea then local to Kitchener arriving there at 7:47 pm.
- A new 5:45 pm train from Union will make all local stops to Bramalea.
- From 6:53 pm hourly westbound trains run at least to Mount Pleasant with some continuing to Guelph or Kitchener.
- The 6:53 train will run to Kitchener arriving at 8:47 pm.
- A new train at 9:53 pm will run to Kitchener arriving at 11:47 pm.
- A new train at 10:53 pm will run to Guelph arriving at 12:22 am.
- A new train from Kitchener at 8:57 pm will arrive at Union at 10:51 pm.
Other schedule changes will reflect actual operating conditions and will adjust departure times earlier or later. Consult the schedule for details.
Finally, some train lengths will be adjusted to 6 cars:
- The 9:48 am westbound train from Union
- The 11:00 am eastbound train from Mount Pleasant
- The 2:57 pm eastbound train from Kitchener
As a result of the new schedule, eastbound trains originating at Kitchener will run at:
- 5:20 am, 5:45, 6:10, 6:50, 7:15, 7:57 (new), 2:57 pm (new), 8:57 (new)
Westbound trains running beyond Georgetown will leave Union bound for Kitchener (except as noted) at:
- 12:53 pm (new), 3:35, 4:50, 5:27, 6:00, 6:53, 9:53 (new), 10:53 (Guelph, new)
On the current schedule, train service southbound to Union ends with the 3:31 pm trip from Mount Joy Station. The last northbound trip to Lincolnville leaves Union at 7:10 pm and the last Mount Joy trip leaves at 8:00 pm.
On the new schedule, southbound train service continues to end at 3:31 pm, but it resumes at 9:31 pm for three trips (hourly to 11:31 pm). The last northbound Lincolnville train remains at 7:10 pm, but train service to Mount Joy at 8:15 pm and hourly thereafter. The 11:15 pm train runs through to Lincolnville.
While this is some improvement, it is still a far cry from frequent, bi-directional all day rail service.
Two trains will be changed to six-car consists:
- The 12:15 pm trip northbound from Union
- The 1:31 pm trip southbound from Mount Joy
The schedule for this corridor will not change, but some train lengths will be modified to better match demand.
- The weekday 7:05 pm train from Union will be extended from six to ten cars.
The following trains will only be six cars long:
- 7:40, 8:40, 9:40 and 10:40 pm northbound from Union
- 8:41, 9:41 and 10:41 pm southbound from Aurora
- 11:40 am, 2:00 pm and 6:20 pm northbound from Union
- 3:01 and 7:21 pm southbound from Aurora
- 4:20 pm southbound from Allandale Waterfront
The full set of current and future schedules is available on the GO Transit website.