Metrolinx plans on conducting an Environmental Assessment for the potential expansion of rail service on GO Transit’s Stouffville line. This will provide twoway, all-day service between Union (downtown) and Unionville Stations. The GO system primarily transports commuters from surrounding cities into downtown Toronto. There is significant potential for GO Transit to provide greater service within the City of Toronto.
In September of this year, Transport Action Ontario released a report titled, ‘Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area Regional Rapid Rail: A Vision for the Future.’ The report details the potential of GO Transit’s regional rail corridors in providing additional service to commuters in Toronto and its surrounding suburbs. See the report at: http://rrr.transport-action.ca/
The report notes that Milliken, Agincourt and Kennedy GO Stations receive minimal service as GO buses do not stop at these stations. The report proposes running two-way, all-day service on the Stouffville line between Union and Unionville Stations. This service would be beneficial to Scarborough residents traveling downtown because GO trains are faster than TTC routes. ‘A Vision for the Future’ also proposes the possible addition of new stations along GO Transit’s Stouffville line that would increase GO’s service area in Scarborough, providing better transit for residents and reduce commute times.
Since much of the infrastructure already exists, expanded GO service would improve transit service in Scarborough more quickly and at a significantly lower cost than subways. That’s why I submitted a motion, M41.15, at City Council directing the Chief Planner to incorporate the report, ‘A Vision for the Future’ into the City’s Official Plan. I asked TTC staff to work with Metrolinx on this.
The report estimates the total cost of improving service on the Stouffville rail corridor between Scarborough and Unionville GO Stations (16 km) is $720 million. By comparison, the cost of building 16 km of new subways would cost over $4 billion.
GO trains are also faster than subways as the 26 km trip from Agincourt to Union GO Stations takes 26 minutes by GO train. The same trip takes over an hour using the TTC.
Currently, the TTC and GO Transit have different fare structures. The TTC has a flat rate fare structure that allows transfers between different modes on a single fare while GO Transit is a pay-bydistance operator. Fare integration/harmonization is necessary to encourage residents to use GO Transit for long distance trips (see article on Presto for more information on fare integration).