The Ford government announced in December that some changes would be coming to the Kitchener GO Line, and while the government has been touting a 20 per cent increase in service on the line, it’s actually resulted in worse service for Brampton commuters.
Last month Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek announced that a number of morning trains that usually began their trips to Union Station in Brampton, will, as of January 7, start in Kitchener.
A bunch of trains that normally started the morning at Georgetown GO are now extending their trips and starting at Kitchener GO, stopping in Acton and Guelph before making their way to Brampton.
There was no doubt the changes would impact Brampton commuters. Trains
But Brampton GO riders are seeing the real change on the afternoon commute. The popular 4:50 p.m. train was cancelled in favour of a 4:35 train out of Union Station that will also stop at Bloor, Weston, Etobicoke and Malton GO stations before proceeding to Brampton and on to Georgetown GO.
Across the board commuters headed back to Brampton from Union are reporting more crowded trains on almost all of the afternoon trains, including the 5:02, 5:27 and 6 p.m. trips.
The crowded trains are part of a bigger issue affecting the city’s commuters. In December the Ford government also announced plans to nix the freight bypass, a project that was expected to finally open the door to allow two-way all-day GO train service between Brampton and Union Station.
Two-way, all-day service has been a priority for Brampton, Kitchener and other cities along the line for years. It provides a critical link to Toronto and has been earmarked as a priority project to increase the region’s connectivity and competitiveness.
The bypass was expected to divert freight traffic from existing rail lines to free them up for GO trains and allow for greater frequency. However, the project has proven to be a challenge and last week a Metrolinx report revealed the province isn’t anticipating two-way, all-day GO service until as late as 2030.
Now the province is abandoning the project altogether, and opting instead for a new plan. Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek says they plan to unveil exactly what those plans are sometime in the next 12 to 18 months. In the meantime, Brampton commuters can continue to expect crowded trains.