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GO Transit


GO Train on the Richmond Hill line

GO Transit is Canada's first, and Ontario's only, interregional public transit system, established to link Toronto with the surrounding regions of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). GO carries 44 million passengers a year in an extensive network of train and bus services. Since it began regular passenger service in May 1967, more than three-quarters of a billion people have taken the GO Train or the GO Bus. Officially known as the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA), GO Transit provides safe, convenient, and efficient transportation to the communities of the Toronto area.

GO Trains are unique and easily identifiable; they are double-decked, green and white, and the cars are shaped like elongated hexagons. GO Buses are not double-decked, but they are also characterized by a green and white colour scheme. Most GO Buses are coaches.

Table of contents
1 Service Area
2 Connections
3 History
4 Future Expansion
5 GO Train Station List
6 External Links

Service Area

GO Trains and GO Buses serve a population of five million in an 8,000-square-kilometre area (3,000 square miles) radiating from downtown Toronto to Hamilton and Guelph in the west; Orangeville, Barrie, and Beaverton to the north; and Port Perry, Oshawa, and Newcastle in the east. The buses extend GO's service as far as 100 kilometres (over 60 miles) from downtown Toronto. GO connects with every municipal transit system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, including the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

The Greater Toronto Area consists of the City of Toronto and the surrounding Regions of Halton, Peel, York, and Durham. GO Transit also serves the neighbouring City of Hamilton, and reaches into Simcoe, Dufferin, and Wellington Counties.

There are seven train routes, which all depart from Toronto Union Station:

At peak rush-hour periods, train service is available at all stations.

In weekday off-peak hours, trains run only on the Lakeshore between Oshawa in the east and Burlington in the west, and on the Georgetown line between Union Station in the east and Bramalea in the west. On weekends, trains run only between Pickering in the east and Oakville in the west. Bus connections extend the Lakeshore service to Newcastle in the east and Hamilton in the west.

Off-peak GO Bus service between Union Station and other train stations (train-buses) give passengers more choice when travelling to and from downtown Toronto before and after rush hour when the trains arenít running, even on weekends.

Connections

Many municipal transit systems connect with GO Trains. Indeed, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) provides the most connections with GO Trains and convenient connections can be made between the trains and TTC buses, streetcars, and subways. Immediately adjacent to the GO concourse at Union Station is the Union stop on the TTC's Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. Connections at Union Station with the TTC's Harbourfront (509) and Spadina (510) streetcar lines are also possible.

Three stations on the TTC's Bloor-Danforth subway line are close to GO Train stations. TTC Kipling has a direct connection to GO Kipling (Milton line), TTC Dundas West is near GO Bloor (Georgetown line), and TTC Main Street near GO Danforth (Lakeshore line). All GO Train stations within the City of Toronto (except Exhibition) are adjacent to TTC bus routes, and Danforth, Exhibition, Bloor, and Long Branch are also on streetcar routes.

History

GO Transit (GO being an acronym for Government of Ontario) was created and funded by the provincial government and was financed entirely by the Province of Ontario until the end of 1997. The Province subsidized any operating costs that were not recovered through revenue, as well as all capital costs.

GO began as a three-year experiment in May 1967 as a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. Lakeshore GO Trains carried 2.5 million riders that first year and was considered to be a success. GO Bus service, which started out as an extension of the original Lakeshore train line, has since become a full-fledged network in its own right. It feeds the rail service and serves communities that trains cannot reach.

In January 1997, the province announced it would hand over funding responsibility for GO Transit to the Greater Toronto Area municipalities (which consist of the City of Toronto, and the Regions of Halton, Peel, York, and Durham) as well as the neighbouring Region of Hamilton-Wentworth (which became the new City of Hamilton on January 1, 2001). In exchange, the province would assume certain other funding responsibilities from municipal governments.

A year later, on January 1, 1998, the GTA municipalities and Hamilton-Wentworth (now the city of Hamilton) began to fund GO Transit, cost-sharing all of GO's capital expenses and any operating costs that are not recovered through passenger fares and other revenue. On January 1, 1999, a new municipal agency created by the province came into being: the Greater Toronto Services Board (GTSB), composed of regional chairs, municipal mayors, and local councillors from the GTSB's service area. GO Transit transferred over to the municipal sector as an arm of the GTSB on August 7, 1999, thus completing the process that had begun with the funding change of 1998.

On September 27, 2001, Ontario Premier Mike Harris announced that the Provincial government would be taking back responsibility for GO Transit, and putting $3 billion into public transit in Ontario. For the practically impoverished GO, it was a welcome funding commitment.

The GO Transit Act, 2001 was passed by the Ontario Legislature on December 5, 2001. As of January 1, 2002, GO Transit is no longer the responsibility of the municipalities of the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. GO has returned to Provincial responsibility as a Crown Corporation, and the Greater Toronto Services Board no longer exists.

Future Expansion

GO Transit has a ten-year plan in place, which includes provisions for new train stations, more parking spaces at existing stations, and increasing service on some (or all) existing train lines. While no new train lines are being planned, here are some of the improvements being planned, or in the process of completion: Larger-scale infrastructure improvements are also being planned, including: Expansions beyond GO's present service area--initatives that are part of the project funding announcements made by the Ontario and the Canadian federal governments, including: GO is also developing a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system that will provide extensive east-to-west express service across the GTA, using transit priority measures and park-and-ride stations with links to local transit. GO's already popular Highway 407 Express buses are the BRT's precursor, showing that demand for such service is already there.

GO Train Station List

Lakeshore West

Milton

Georgetown

Bradford

Stouffville

Lakeshore East

External Links