Sum­mer GO train rid­er­ship jumps by 21 per cent

The Niagara Falls Review - - NEWS - KARENA WAL­TER

GO train sea­sonal ser­vice be­tween Toronto and Ni­a­gara Falls saw a big jump in pas­sen­ger trips this year.

The sea­sonal train that runs from Vic­to­ria Day to Thanks­giv­ing had ap­prox­i­mately 30,300 pas­sen­ger trips — a 21 per cent in­crease over 2016.

“That’s very good per­for­mance,” said Brian Gal­laugher, Metrolinx di­rec­tor of project planning, speak­ing at St. Catharines city coun­cil Mon­day.

“We ex­pect that to con­tinue and we ex­pect that kind of per­for­mance to trans­late to the rail ser­vice that is com­ing to St. Catharines — per­ma­nent, year-round ser­vice.”

Metrolinx was up­dat­ing coun­cil­lors on its plans for GO Train to Grimsby by 2021 and St. Catharines and Ni­a­gara Falls by 2023.

Gal­laugher said the big­gest chal­lenge in the Greater Toronto and Hamil­ton area today is traf­fic con­ges­tion on the QEW, which af­fects every­one in Ni­a­gara.

He said the traf­fic tie-ups are cost­ing be­tween $6 bil­lion and $11 bil­lion a year in lost eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity.

With Ni­a­gara re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion pro­jected to grow by al­most half a mil­lion by 2031, Gal­laugher said Metrolinx be­lieves now is the time to make in­vest­ments to im­prove tran­sit.

“It’s clear to Metrolinx that Ni­a­gara re­gion needs a long-term trans­porta­tion plan that works hand in hand with your plans for the growth of your com­mu­ni­ties.”

Metrolinx’s plan is to have 80 per cent of the peo­ple in Ni­a­gara liv­ing within two kilo­me­tres of a rapid tran­sit point, whether a rapid tran­sit sta­tion or bus sta­tion.

If that can be ac­com­plished, Gal­laugher said they ex­pect to see tran­sit use dou­ble and a re­lief of con­ges­tion on high­ways and roads.

Metrolinx cur­rently runs an hourly GO bus ser­vice be­tween Burling­ton and Ni­a­gara Falls with route stops in St. Catharines, Grimsby and Stoney Creek. In April this year, it added a stop at Ni­a­gara Col­lege’s Ni­a­gara-on-theLake cam­pus by Glen­dale Av­enue which Gal­laugher said has been pop­u­lar.

The sea­sonal train be­tween Toronto and Ni­a­gara Falls has been run­ning for 10 years.

BOB TYMCZYSZYN/POST­MEDIA NEWS

A GO train passes un­der the bridge in Mer­rit­ton as it makes way out of Ni­a­gara.

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