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Inside the Toronto site of the new Union Station Bus Terminal

Construction for the CIBC SQUARE, the future home of the Union Station Bus Terminal, is ramping up.

Mar 27, 2020

Your GO bus won’t change, but where you catch it in downtown Toronto will – and we have a bit of a sneak peek.

The new, state of the art Union Station bus hub is designed to improve customer experience and now, we have a better idea of what that experience will look like.

The construction – which is well underway – is a joint project between Metrolinx and Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines. The project includes two office towers – at 81 and 141 Bay Street – and an overbuild park spanning the GO rail corridor.

a long ramp.

The ramp buses will use to go down onto Lake Shore Blvd. (Nitish Bissonauth photo)

We took a tour at the start of March, and wanted to share those images now.

Located on the east side of Bay Street, the bus hub will be housed inside the South tower of CIBC Square (81 Bay Street), just south of the rail corridor.

The new 10,000-square-metre bus terminal will have two levels in which the buses will enter from Lake Shore Blvd. Each level will have seven bus bays – a total of 14, twice as many as the current station.

Inside a large concrete expanse with construction equipment.

A look at the current state of the Level Two bus bay area. (Nitish Bissonauth photo)

The new bus terminal will eventually include a new signalling system – think of it as traffic lights – that will help guide buses in and out of the terminal all while keeping passengers and staff safe.

There will also be crews to usher the buses into the terminal where they will enter the bus bays. Crews will also help the buses back out by giving signals to the driver, similarly to aircraft Marshalls on an airport runway.

a bus backing up.

This rendering illustrates how crews will help navigate buses from inside the levels of the new Union Station Bus Terminal, a measure to further enhance the safety of customers and staff and better manage moving buses . (IBI Group graphic)

The construction on both levels is progressing and the overall layout resembles the Terminus Centre-Ville in downtown Montreal. The new USBT will have easy connections to GO trains, the TTC, VIA rail and the UP Express.

The new Union Station bus terminal is indoors and the weather-protected space will be connect to the city’s PATH network, allowing GO and UP Express customers to quickly move between bus and rail, as well as around downtown Toronto.

pedestrian bridge.

The exterior of the new a glass pedestrian bridge between Scotiabank Arena and the new Union Station Bus Terminal. (Nitish Bissonauth photo)

A new pedestrian bridge will allow GO Customers to access the PATH network and safely cross to and from Bay Street above traffic and directly access Level Two of the new Union Station Bus Terminal.

This means you can head into the city on a GO bus and never have to step foot outside to catch – after the current pause caused by COVID-19 ends – the Leafs, Raptors or a train.

Looking out windows to the street below.

The view customers will enjoy above Bay Street. (Nitish Bissonauth photo)

It’s an important project when you consider GO Transit currently runs on average 485 bus trips every weekday out of the current Union Station Bus Terminal, transporting around 13,600 daily weekday riders.

escalators looking down to the building entrance.

The escalators are closed off now but once opened and working, they will connect the Scotiabank Arena to the new Union Station Bus Terminal. (Nitish Bissonauth photo)

Bus services at the current Union Station Bus Terminal (141 Bay St.) will continue as is until the new station is ready to move people. In the meantime, the new terminal continues to shape up to be a big deal and a very important transit hub – when the city gets back in full motion – for the future of the city.

by Nitish Bissonauth Metrolinx bilingual editorial content advisor