On January 7, a new train was added to the Kitchener-Toronto line of Go Transit. The move was made with a lot of fanfare at a special announcement before the holidays, a modest measure to tide people over until two-way, all-day GO service comes to fruition. It turns out though, adding 25 per cent more trains isn’t as easy as it seems.
The first week of the expanded service seems to have created more problems than it solved. Longer travel times have been an issue, and there’s been a marked increase in crowding, and over-crowding on the trains. Commuters have also reported that the platforms in Union Station have become dangerous due to overcrowding, and because of the pushing and shoving as people try to get a place on the train home.
Commuters to Guelph and Kitchener are also angry because a 4:50 pm express train was cut in the recent schedule shuffle. For many, this was a quick and reliable way home at the end of the day, but now it’s gone.
That statement attached to the tweet above is from Jeff Yurek, the Minister of Transportation.
“The crowding on the trains as a result of our expanded service has proven how much of a demand there is for more service,” he wrote. “My caucus colleagues and commuters have raised their concerns over the crowding and I take their concerns seriously.”
“We anticipated that it would cause some difficulties for some customers,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said more candidly to the CBC. “But I think we didn’t anticipate just how much it would.”
“We know that the schedule isn’t working for people so we are working very, very hard and as fast as we can to put some fixes in place,” she added.
One of the fixes was the addition of a couple of extra cars on the 5:02 pm train to help alleviate the over-crowding issues. Meanwhile, there’s no word on when or if the express train might be reinstated.
At the same time, no one has refuted the minister’s timetable that two-way, all-day GO will become a reality sometime in the next two years.
“We’re looking at between 12 and 18 months when we should be back with something,” Yurek said at December’s announcement. “I’m going to hopefully come back sooner with announcements on improving services, but I’m hoping we’ll have an announcement within 12 to 18 months that will implement two-way, all-day [service].”