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More GO Train service coming in May

Attention News Editors:

TORONTO, Feb. 11, 2000 /CNW/ - Major improvements to GO Train service, including the extension of all-day weekday Lakeshore trains, will begin on May 1.

Details of the expanded service were approved by GO Transit’s Board at its monthly meeting this morning.

The improvements will reintroduce all-day train service on weekdays along the Lakeshore between Burlington and Oshawa. Other new trains will extend the traditional rush hour to attract customers and give people more travel choices: There will be a new express train to Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, and Hamilton; two new trains between Markham and Toronto; and one new train between Toronto and Richmond Hill. (GO also recently put on two more trains between Bramalea and Toronto.)

All train times are proposed and must still be finalized with the railways, which operate train service for GO Transit. The highlights of May’s expanded service are:

All-day Lakeshore: Hourly GO Trains ran all day on weekdays and weekends between Burlington and Whitby from May 1992 until July 1993, when funding reductions forced GO to cut back and run all-day trains only as far as Oakville and Pickering. GO will now extend all-day weekday train service to Burlington and Oshawa to meet the demand that has grown since 1992 - average weekday ridership in the Lakeshore corridor has increased by 31 percent, or nearly 20,000 passenger trips a day, in the past seven years. Westbound late-night service will also be improved. Weekend train service will continue to be provided between Oakville and Pickering only, with bus connections farther west to Hamilton and east to Newcastle.

Lakeshore West express: A new weekday express train will leave Union Station at 6:35 p.m., running express to Clarkson and then serving all stations on to Hamilton, arriving there at 7:44. This train will give passengers another westbound departure in the early evening, when existing trains are already crowded. It should also appeal to car drivers commuting on the congested Gardiner Expressway and Queen Elizabeth Way.

Markham trains: Two new weekday trains will run on the shoulders of the traditional rush hour on the Stouffville line, serving all stations between Markham and Union Station, with bus connections for Stouffville and Uxbridge. A morning train will leave Markham at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in Union at 9:13, and an early-evening train will leave Union at 6:30 p.m. for arrival in Markham at 7:10. The Stouffville line is the GO Train network’s second-fastest growing corridor with a 32-percent increase in ridership last year.

Richmond Hill train: A new weekday evening train will leave Union Station at 7:40 p.m., serving all stations on the line and arriving in Richmond Hill at 8:21. It will have a bus connection to Oak Ridges, Aurora, and Newmarket.

These improvements will cost an additional $1.6 million a year to operate. GO’s Board has approved a budget for 2000 that allows GO to expand off-peak service without having to buy more trains or build new tracks and stations. The Greater Toronto Services Board, which oversees GO Transit, approved the budget last Friday.

The budget also calls for a fare increase on April 17, the first one since May 1998, to help pay for improvements such as these new services. The price of all tickets and passes will go up based on an increase of 15 cents to every adult one-way ticket. (The fare increase does not apply to the Yonge C and Bayview GO Bus services, which charge special fares under agreement with the municipalities in that area.)

GO Transit recovers around 90 percent of its operating costs from passenger fares, one of the best financial performances for a transit system anywhere.

The demand for GO service continues to grow, as more and more people turn to GO Trains and GO Buses for their commuting. GO Transit carried 38.4 million passengers in 1999, setting a ridership record for the third year in a row. Last year, the number of passenger trips was about 7 percent higher than 1998’s total of 35.9 million.

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For further information: Media enquiries - Edmund Shea, (416) 869-3600 ext. 5328, or Karen Majerly, (416) 869-3600 ext. 5325




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