Summer GO train ridership jumps by 21 per cent
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.
A GO train passes under the bridge in Merritton as it makes way out of Niagara.