Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek announced Monday that the Ford government will be increasing GO train service along the Kitchener line starting in January, but the new changes will actually mean worse service for Brampton commuters.
The changes, which go into effect January 7, will add what the Minister says is a new trip out of Brampton GO and Mount Pleasant GO. But what it actually means is the 5:54 a.m. trip from Bramalea GO will now start from Mount Pleasant GO at 5:38 a.m., making all stops and arriving at Union at its scheduled 6:32 a.m.
A couple of other trains are also getting bumped to different starting locations. The 5:56 a.m. trip from Mount Pleasant GO will now start from Georgetown GO at 5:47 a.m., making all stops and arriving at Union as usual at 6:50 a.m
On top of that, the trip that previously left Georgetown GO at 6:48 a.m. trip will now start from Kitchener GO at 5:40 a.m., with earlier departures along the line, and arriving at Union at 7:43 a.m.
It’s going to mean a higher frequency of trains for Kitchener, Guelph, Acton, and Georgetown, but for Brampton, what it really means is more crowded trains.
Morning trains are already usually pretty full as it is, but now when they arrive in Brampton they will be packed with even more commuters than ever before.
GO Transit also announced on its website that the 5:47 a.m. eastbound trip from Georgetown GO will have 10 coaches instead of 12, decreasing the capacity for riders.
GO is adding a couple of coaches to the 6:48 a.m. trip that will now start at Kitchener GO at 5:40 a.m. which may alleviate some of the stress of the additional commuters that will be on the train when it gets into Brampton from Kitchener and other cities along the way.
Brampton doesn’t get any additional westbound trips but commuters will benefit from the earlier departure time from Union at 4:04 p.m. and a late trip departing at 6:06 p.m.
To top it all off, at the announcement Monday, Yurek also announced the Ford government plans to nix the freight bypass, a project that would have finally brought two-way all-day GO train service to Brampton.
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, based on Yurek’s comments, it appears the province may be abandoning the project altogether and opting instead for a new plan — one for which it hasn’t provided details and timelines.
Until the Ford government provides more information, Brampton’s dreams of two-way, all-day GO will hang in the balance.