GO Transit set to change most bus schedules, several routes to see reductions

A new policy governing bicycles and e-bikes on GO Transit trains and buses has come into effect. Nick Westoll has more on the changes and reaction to the new policy.

As GO Transit prepares to beef up train service on multiple routes, nearly all of the agency’s bus routes are set to see schedule changes beginning on Saturday.

Under the new plan, several routes will see reduced frequencies and certain bus trips will be cancelled outright over and above typical seasonal changes.

After the new schedules were posted online, users on Reddit began pouring over the changes. Multiple commenters expressed disappointment over the changes.

“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,” one user who compiled a huge list of changes after reading the schedules wrote.

“Frequencies were already horrible at hourly and now they’re moving some frequencies to bi-hourly … does GO want to kill its bus network?” another user wrote.

Among the examples from the new schedules cited online included:

  • cancellation of connecting bus trips for trains that end at Aldershot (meaning riders on those trains will have to wait for a different train to take them farther along)
  • some early morning and late evening trips on certain routes are being cancelled
  • bi-hourly service overnight on GO Transit buses that run between Hamilton and Richmond Hill with stops at Toronto Pearson International Airport where shift workers are (currently its hourly)
  • bi-hourly service between Highway 407 Bus Terminal and Guelph at certain periods (down from hourly)
  • bi-hourly service at different periods between Pickering GO station and Square One in Mississauga (down from hourly)

GO Transit staff will also suspend service to many post-secondary institutions until the fall semester begins in September.

CityNews contacted Metrolinx, the provincial transportation agency overseeing GO Transit, to ask about the various changes, how those changes could impact passengers and instances where wait times for transfer connections would jump.

A representative wasn’t made available for an on-camera interview, but a spokesperson said in a statement the moves are about utilizing resources better.

“We are making some changes to our GO bus services in response to shifting travel patterns and customer demand,” Metrolinx spokesperson Andrea Erneskas wrote.

“We appreciate that it can take time to adapt to service changes and are encouraging customers to check their schedules before travelling.”

Ernesaks said a large part of the reason for shifting bus resources stems from a need to have shuttle buses on hand for when train line shutdowns need to happen because of expansion-related construction work, adding the buses selected come from “very low ridership timeslots on some routes.”

“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,” she said.

Meanwhile, some of the buses are being shifted to more in-demand routes. An example she cited is more riders taking the 36 Brampton/North York route versus the 32 Brampton Trinity Commons/North York route.

Despite the service reductions, Metrolinx staff noted bus service to popular destinations such as Canada’s Wonderland and Niagara Falls is ramping up.

Also, GO Transit staff are set to change the organization’s 21 Milton route after many riders spoke out. The agency stopped ending the route at Union Station in favour of dropping people off on the Lakeshore West GO train line. Staff cited delays getting to downtown Toronto, but those impacted said it meant much longer travel times for them. Staff are now backtracking on those changes and buses will be returning to Union Station.

Click here for a full list of current and upcoming GO Transit bus and train schedules, and click here for an updated bus network map.

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