Brampton Terminal

Text by Sean Marshall
Revised by James Bow

When it opened in 1989, Brampton's Downtown Transit Centre became one of the few truly intermodal public transit terminals in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition to serving local Brampton Transit buses, it is an important GO Transit terminal serving local and express buses to North York, Guelph and Orangeville. Greyhound buses also stop at the terminal, serving both Toronto and Owen Sound and, since 2009, it has also been the western terminus of Brampton Transit's first Zum route. The terminal is also adjacent to Brampton's GO/VIA station, including a refurbished historic building located on the north side of the railway tracks, granting Brampton passengers access to GO Trains bound to Union Station and Georgetown (and, after December 2011, Kitchener) as well as VIA Rail trains to points farther afield.

History

The area the Downtown Transit Centre and Brampton GO Station serves has been the site of a railway station for almost 150 years. The first building (a simple brick design) was built in 1865 by the Grand Trunk Railway. This building was replaced in 1907 by a much more elaborate one-and-a-half story design, with a graceful Chateau-style roof. This building remains in place to this day.

Brampton Transit was established in 1976 in the wake of a series of municipal amalgamations that merged the Town of Brampton with much of Chingcousy Township, Toronto Gore Township and part of the Town of Mississauga. The new bus system inherited the services provided by the Town of Brampton's bus system (which had been operated by Travelways), and the former Chingcousy Township's dial-a-bus system. Fixed routes were established in Bramalea, major reroutings of the Town's systems were made and a new downtown terminal was built. The first terminal was between Main and George Streets, north of Wellington Street. A retail unit in a neighbouring retail/apartment building was used for ticket sales and as a waiting room, operated by GO Transit.

The downtown terminal was closed and cleared in 1989 for construction of the new City Hall, and all buses were forced to terminate on George Street. That same year, Brampton city council approved the construction of a new terminal at Main and Nelson Streets. An agreement was made with a developer, and a combination bus terminal/office building began construction on March 2, 1989. A tunnel between the train station and the corner of George and Railroad Streets was begun that year, connecting the two facilities.

This arrangement continued until 2009 when GO Transit built a second platform on the south side of the tracks, including covered platforms, stairs and an accessible elevator. The expansion was required to handle additional service that was going into the Georgetown GO Train route, including an extension to Kitchener which went into place on December 19, 2011. At the time of this writing, GO Transit expects to have trains operating between Mount Pleasant and Union Station at intervals of one hour or better before the decade is out. Also in 2009, the Downtown Transit Centre became the western terminus of Brampton's first Zum route, a limited stop express service along Queen Street and Highway 7 into York Region and York University. This was Brampton's first step towards the launch of a bus rapid transit network through the city.

The Future

Today the bus terminal is very busy, serving Brampton Transit, Zum, GO Transit and Greyhound buses. The facility is especially busy when the GO trains arrive during the afternoon rush period. The Downtown Transit Centre is a very important piece of transportation infrastructure of importance not only to Bramptonians but to passengers throughout the region. It functions extremely well because it is in a prime location, taking advantage of the existing GO Station and a downtown locale.

The terminal's importance will only increase as GO Transit continues to experience high patronage of its rail and bus routes out of Brampton, and as Brampton Transit's ridership continues to grow. If all day rail service is provided to Brampton, the number of buses using the terminal will continue to increase. Before 2009, the bus terminal had more than enough space to fit the buses serving it, but now there are hardly enough bus bays for the rush hour crowds. The transit facility here has truly been a success.


Brampton Terminal Image Archive

Bus Terminal

The bus terminal at Brampton (seen here in this 2001 shot) features a modern terminal facility with two driveways, several bays and an office tower complex above. Many Brampton buses turn here, as do GO Transit buses and Greyhound. This photograph was taken at the northeastern end of the terminal, looking southwest. Photo by Sean Marshall.

Train Station

A passageway running from the north end of the terminal dives beneath the tracks and emerges on the platform for Brampton's GO Train station. The classic station has been retained and is used by GO Transit and VIA.

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On June 1, 2011, the GO bus to Orangeville loads passengers at the Brampton terminal, with the new second platform at Brampton GO Station in behind. Photo by James Bow.

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Brampton Zum buses serving the 501 QUEEN route load passengers and depart at the Downtown Transit Centre on June 1, 2011. Photo by James Bow.

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The new southern entrance of Brampton GO Station on June 1, 2011. This large structure holds up the second platform, and features an elevator for wheelchair access. Photo by James Bow.

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A Georgetown GO train pulls into Brampton station on June 1, 2011. Photo by James Bow.

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A Georgetown GO Train pushed by MP40PH locomotive 607 departs the new platform at Brampton station on June 1, 2011. Photo by James Bow.

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A view from the original platform at Brampton station, looking west towards Georgetown. The new GO platforms can be seen on the left. This photo was taken on June 1, 2011 by James Bow.

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Sarnia-bound VIA Train arrives at Brampton station on June 1, 2011. VIA continues to use the original platform, while GO has moved over to the new platform. Photo by James Bow.

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Kitchener-bound GO train enters ten minutes late to Brampton station on June 13, 2013. The second platform is a recent addition to this station, but is already seeing much use. Photo by James Bow.

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