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Jan 14th, 2022
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  1. I'm going to try and clear up a lot of misinformation that might have been gained from this video.
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  3. 1) Bloomington Station is a MASSIVE outlier on the GO network. Yes most transit enthusiasts within Toronto believe it to be horrible and massively overbuilt, but it is an outlier and the way this video frames the station makes it sound like this is policy going forward and that most new stations from here on out will be like this, and this isn't true.
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  5. The last new station opened before Bloomington was Downsview Park Station, a station that has a direct connection the brand new subway extension, and 0 parking spots. Currently, 8 new GO stations are planned for the system. Out of all of these stations, only 1 is planned to have any form of parking, and its not even a parking garage. Ignoring the under construction garages, GO currently has no plans to heavily increase parking supplies at stations.
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  7. 2) Busses. A lot of what NJB said about station access in this video is misleading particularly in relation to busses. Yes, parking is free, and there aren't any discounts when reaching the station by bike or on foot, however on busses its a completely different story. For every transit agency that connects to GO (except Toronto which is an issue), all of them offer heavy discount to using the bus if you transfer to a GO train within a 2h time frame. Usually this involves setting the bus fair anywhere between 80 cents to a dollar. Furthermore a lot of local transit agencies offer direct bus services to GO stations, and they have a deal with GO where the train departures are timed with the busses. This means that if a direct to GO bus service is delayed, the train will wait for the bus to arrive to make sure everyone can get on and get to work. There is also a lot of things that NJB failed to mention for instance while many of these stations are massive with big parking garages, they also feature large bus terminals right next to the train platform where passengers can get off and have a really quick connection to the train and vice versa. This makes accessing these stations by bus extremely quick and painless which is extremely important in an environment of suburban sprawl.
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  9. 3) Frequencies. GO has 7 lines (8 if you count the Airport Express), and out of these 7, only 2 are rush hours only, which are the Richmond Hill and Milton Lines, and these are rush hour only for their own separate reasons. The Milton Line has to share its corridor with a heavily used freight corridor run by CP rail, and there is currently a ton of work being put in to figure out how to buy more track-space. While one might argue that giving freight priority on tracks is a bad thing, its important to remember that Canada has one of the highest percentages of train use for freight, far higher than most countries in europe, and these freight trains help reduce the amount of trucks on our road networks which are by far the most damaging vehicles and result in the heavies maintenance costs on our highways.
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  11. As for the Richmond Hill Line, its a line whose alignment and geographically makes it very difficult to make it into a proper regional rail line. It runs at the bottom of the valley which is A) Extremely prone to flooding, and B) has the track extremely curvy and thus slow, and this alignment makes it very difficult to have proper connections to subway, bus, and streetcar services throughout Toronto. As such Metrolinx themselves have stated that the line really doesn't have much of a future as a regional line, and will stay as a Rush hour only buffer line to help relieve passengers off the crowded Yonge Subway Line, especially after the planned extension to Richmond Hill Centre, a station Richmond Hill on the Richmond Hill Line. Actually to give a sense of scale as to how slow the alignment is, after the Subway extension opens, the subway that will have 20 more stations than the Richmond Hill Line between Richmond Hill Centre and Downtown, will still get passengers downtown at roughly the same speed.
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  13. As for the remainder of the lines, most of them operate at hourly frequencies which while it isn't great, is actually still extremely useful for those who aren't just commuting. Many stations like Centennial on the Stouffville Line are located near shopping centers and development which means there are a lot of people that use the GO train to go shopping. Plus by having trains run all day, there are many people who use the GO train to get downtown for reasons other than work such as visiting the lakefront or catching a concert or sports match at the Scotiabank Arena. Union Station in general is a station that is actually amazingly situated within the downtown. The station is located at the very heart of the downtown core right next to many major attractions like the CN Tower, and the station itself is directly connected to the Subway System as well the Harbourfront Streetcar which makes accessing destinations north and south of the rail corridor extremely quick and easy.
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  15. 4) GO Busses. The video makes absolutely no mention of GO Busses which is frankly very confusing. The GO busses act as a way to transport people throughout the region and while they don't have the advantages of rail such as dedicated and direct ROWs, are still a very affordable and quick way of reaching from one end of the region to another. GO Busses often interface and interchange at major terminals within population centres and have strong connections to other transit services like GO train and TTC Subway stations, and in some places speed up operations by using dedicated infrastructure. 2 places in particular that are important to highlight is the Mississauga Transitway, which is a dedicated fully grade separated busway within Mississauga that travels between Downtown Mississauga, Pearson Airport, and the future western terminus of the Eglinton Subway line, and Highway 407 which is a privately owned toll highway that GO is given access to (the existence of the highway is extremely controversial, but the important part to highlight here is due to highway's high cost to private vehicles, traffic is basically nonexistent. Where the busses don't use the highways, they often travel in dedicated HOV lanes where busses can easily bypass congestion and as such these busses are extremely reliable even for off peak travel. The only real downside is admittedly there should be more dedicated infrastructure for these busses and many individual routes only run hourly, but on the plus side there are a ton of new pieces of infrastructure planned and under construction for the busses namely the 407 Transitway which is a series of fully grade separated corridors for the busses to travel in that again directly connect to subways, go train, and major bus terminals, and they are planning to increase headways of many bus routes to every 15 minutes. Furthermore, even if many busses are hourly, that only applies to individual routes, and most corridors have multiple bus routes that target the same destination, with the difference being a spur or an alternate route here or there. This means for most GO bus trips, there are multiple routes you can take that generally have the same travel times. Also, these GO bus routes typically run 24/7 and typically run hourly even at 3AM.
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  17. 5) Weekend service. At some point you mentioned how commuter services don't have weekend service, and it made it sound like GO trains don't run weekend service which while in your example this is the case, in general this isn't true.
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  19. All of the aforementioned all day GO lines (except Kitchener, but the UP express which runs along the Kitchener Line still does) operate all day during weekends, with the Lakeshore Lines running every 15 minute between Oakville and Oshawa (every 30 minutes to Burlington and every hour to West Harbour), and the Stouffville and Barrie Lines operate hourly to Aurora and Unionville with a train every 3 hours to Barrie which is meant as a tourist train designed for cyclists and people wanting to go out to the beach. Again while it isn't great its extremely usable and accessible in many use cases, and I personally tend to use the GO train to get to Toronto as its far more convenient than just driving.
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  21. 6) Finally I want to address NJB's point about suburban sprawl. Simply put, yes GO transit is heavily subsidizing suburban communities and neighbourhoods, and yes, its existence is a reflection of the problems with car oriented suburbs, however my next question is what would you rather GO do? These car oriented suburbs exist, people live here and have formed communities in these areas, what are we supposed to do now? The only solution is to provide a service like GO, and regardless of whether or not you like it, what GO provides is a really good escape hatch for what was built, and the only alternative is to bulldoze through all of these suburbs which would displace a ton of people and be hugely expensive in terms of land acquisition by the government, so for what it is GO is absolutely amazing.
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