GO Transit - RER



Overview

Essentially Go Transit RER is adding increased capacity to the regional transit lines within the GTA.
www.metrolinx.com/en/regionalplanning/rer/rer_work.aspx

My Anecdotal Experience

 I live on the Barrie Go Transit line. I use the Go Train for work and it is very full. The question is always what happens with all day and all weekend service.

Weekdays Off Peak

If I'm staying after work, I tend to take the off-peak bus home. The train doesn't run off-peak hours. The bus normally has a fair number of people on it, no matter what time I've taken it home. Even up to taking the 12:00 AM bus back. At the current time, I don't think this demand will change much for the after-work crowd.

Possible Changes - 2 Way All Day Service

Where you might get some more usage is if 2-way transit starts to become available. As is, if my wife wants to meet me downtown on a weekday evening, there really isn't a way for her to do so by GO transit.  Allowing people on the line to go downtown on weekday off-peak could result in such entertainment or other trips.

Weekend

Weekend service has just been introduced this year and includes several trips. There are definitely people using the train, but it's not full. 

Group Travel

One of the issues is group travel. I went downtown with a group of friends and would have loved to take the Go-Train. But as there were 4 of us, they picked me up and we drove. Had we used the GO trained, it would have cost us almost $30 one way.  Cost was not the only issue. Not everyone had presto and there isn't any way I could see for one of us who had Presto to just pay for the rest. Some kind of group travel using one Presto would have been nice.

Lack of All Day

The other issue is that the service is not two-way all day yet. I would say that availability is more important than frequency on Weekends. Meaning, I'd rather trains going every hour throughout the day and night, then every 15 minutes just during the day. Typically on weekend, you can plan your outing. My friends who love downtown love taking the Go Train to visit me. The problem is the last train going back downtown is at like 9 PM. If the last train would go back around 11 pm or midnight, that would definitely increase usage as well. Or even myself, I've looked at taking the train up to Barrie for the day, but the timing is just not good.

Connections

Connections to other transit is not yet there, but it is planned. The Barrie line is to intersect the TTC subway at Downview stations, the Eglinton Crosstown and possibly the Bloor-Danforth line. But all of this is upcoming. It will be interesting to see the use cases here. As it's not available, I'm not sure how useful it would be. I could possibly use it to visit people on the BD line in reasonable time. As is, I tend to drive to see them as the trip would simply be too long otherwise.

The other thing that would be interesting is cottage/ski country. If the train to Barrie becomes two way all day, one could imagine charter buses connecting it to Horseshoe Valley.

The one connection is that is not planned that would have been nice is a connection with the VIVA Rapidway along 7. The Concord station was not chosen.

Fare integration will also be a key factor a big factor here. Just paying a GO fare and a TTC fare is going to be costly. In my case, about $10 one way.

Major Centers

This is definitely for the future. One of the main benefits of Toronto's union station is that there is so much around that is is walking distance. From Union, it is easy to get to the Rogers Center, Air Canada Center, bars, restaurants...

I'd like to see that kind of development at certain nodes. Barrie's Allandale Waterfront comes to mind. So does the future Niagara Falls Go Train. If these were nicely integrated into the commercial and entertainment facilities, it would really make these trips viable. Right now, people tend to drive.

Subway Extension or RER

It's a bit strange, but 2017, we're supposed to be getting more service on the Barrie Line, as well as getting the Spadina subway extenstion to Highway 7.

In my case, I doubt I'll use the subway if there is a Go Train available. The GO train is just so much faster, and the Go Train is expected to connect with the TTC further down the line at Downsview and other places.

Now this is just my use case. People who live closer to highway 7 might use the subway a lot more as will people who don't want to pay double the fare for GO.

At times I do wonder though if York region's hundreds of millions they put into the TTC Extension to Vaughan would have been better spent coordinating with Metrolinx on better Go Train service. Put in a stop at highway 7 and frequent all-day service.  I certainly don't think the Spadina extension is a bad idea. Toronto was already building it out to York University. York's contribution was just another two stops to bring it line with VIVA and 'Vaughan Downtown'. And all this is looking back, so I'd glad we have both RER and the Spadina Extension.

Hopeful

Overall, I'm very hopeful on the GO Transit RER. I personally don't care all that much about the frequency of service outside of rush hour. I think most people can plan around an hourly train going both ways. I think the key is that it should be all day ( 7 AM until 2 AM) and it should be consistent for easy schedule knowledge. For example, trains will run at Station X every hour on the 10 ( 7:10, 8:10....) or something along those lines.




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