Niagara weekend GO train service extended to year-round – StCatharinesStandard.ca

Niagara weekend GO train service extended to year-round - StCatharinesStandard.ca
Province announces major GO train expansion
Metrolinx has announced that weekend GO train service between Niagara Falls and Toronto will run all year, starting Aug. 31.

The weekend schedules will remain the same as they are today — with four trains leaving Niagara Falls every Saturday and Sunday.

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Metrolinx adding dozens of new GO train trips in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area

The extension of weekend service complements regular weekday train service, which was launched in January, four years earlier than was expected.

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Although there is only one train out and one train in, Monday to Friday, elected officials said it would be a boost for business, especially tourism, and give people access to good-paying Toronto jobs while continuing to live in Niagara.

That includes new late-night weekday service between Kitchener and Torontos Union Station and hourly weekday evening service between Brampton and Union Station.

The expansion of weekend service in Niagara was announced Thursday as part of a larger expansion across the GO train network.

In a statement to The Niagara Falls Review, Metrolinx said it continues to work with its rail partners to find new ways to increase service to Niagara.

Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney says core segments of GOs network will have two-way, all-day rapid transit with service every 15 minutes.

The agency said GO Transit has been running weekend summer service for the past decade, \”so this is a natural progression.\”

Metrolinx president and chief executive Phil Verster says a new express option for Kitchener will save commuters 20 minutes a day.

When it comes to regular weekday service, \”our experience with introducing new services has shown it takes time for ridership to grow, but that ridership does build.\”

There will be 84 new weekly train trips across the Kitchener, Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines starting Aug. 31.

Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff said expanding GO delivers on the provincial governments promise to \”make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.\”

\”More service options for commuters in Niagara will make taking the GO more reliable and give customers more choice when they plan their trips,\” he said.

\”Were building a transportation system that puts people first by offering them transit options that fit their schedule, whether theyre meeting up with family and friends, staying late at the office or wanting to get home early,\” added Kinga Surma, associate minister of transportation.

Niagara Region Chairman Jim Bradley said expanding the popular weekend service was a \”logical step\” for Metrolinx to take.

\”While we recognize the summer months are the months where tourist travellers are more prevalent … I think throughout the year theres an interest in people coming down here and the more they see that they can have access to a GO train, the better its going to be there for them,\” he said.

Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates said Thursdays announcement means \”more trains and convenience\” for Niagara residents, but \”we still have the issue that we need these hours extended to the weekday.\”

\”This is good news for the tourism sector because the trains that come in on the weekends have been full, but were going to keep working with Metrolinx, the Ministry (of Transportation), and our partners to expand the weekday trains to make the schedule easier on commuters,\” he said.

Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati said he is \”thrilled\” with the announcement from Metrolinx, and credited the agency for \”moving the ball forward\” on service in Niagara.

\”Weve come a long way and the most important thing is … were moving the ball forward,\” he said, noting daily GO train service to Niagara wasnt originally expected until 2023.

\”Were way ahead of schedule. Were going in the right direction — the trajectory is important because we can see where this is going and its going to serve residents in Niagara Falls very well.\”

St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik said Thursdays announcement was a \”massive step\” for GO in the region.

\”The mayors have been advocating for a year-round service around the tourism side because we all see the number of people that are coming into Niagara year-round — were not a seasonal destination anymore,\” he said, adding it will continue to \”build the capacity\” for more service in the future.

\”Were hoping by next year … theyll be adding trains to the regular daily commute. The momentum is clearly there. The announcement clearly shows that theres momentum for Metrolinx to see Niagara as a growth opportunity for their business.\”

The province announced on Thursday that Metrolinx will be adding dozens of new trips to their service – opening up more than 77,000 seats.

“More trains offering faster and more frequent service means people can choose the train that fits their schedule instead of planning their schedule around the train,” Ontario transportation minister Caroline Mulroney said.

Eighty-four new weekly train trips will be added across the Kitchener, Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines starting Aug. 31.

That includes new late-night weekday service between Kitchener and Toronto’s Union Station and hourly weekday evening service between Brampton and Union Station.

Mulroney said the core segment of GO’s network will have two-way, all-day rapid transit with service every 15 minutes.

“When fully implemented, the GO rail expansion program will provide faster and more frequent GO rail service to communities from Niagara Falls to Kitchener to Barrie to Oshawa and more.”

According to Metrolinx president Phil Verster, a new express option for Kitchener will save commuters 20 minutes a day.

“The service increases are really exciting parts of how we grow our commitment to our communities to move as many people as possible and bring that economic benefit to the region,” he explained.

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