Weekday GO Trains now service Niagara Region
Metrolinx launches regular morning and evening train service to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.
Jan 7, 2019
As Joanne McKee taps her PRESTO card in St. Catharines, $18.07 is deducted from her account. But in her mind, McKee isn`t paying to get to her job in downtown Toronto – she`s actually investing in something much more valuable: time with her family.
McKee is Ryerson University`s Chief Financial Officer and before GO Transit introduced weekday train service into the Niagara Region, she used to say goodbye to her family Sunday night and spend two hours driving to her rental unit in downtown Toronto, where she would spend the week and not see her family again until late Friday evening.
“This is allowing me to spend more time with my family, so this is great,” McKee said as she sat with her friend and fellow commuter, Michelle Kerr, in the accessibility coach of the inaugural Niagara Falls weekday train trip on Monday morning. “I’m seriously considering giving up my rental and commuting in every day.”
Like McKee, Kerr also works in downtown Toronto. She recently accepted a new job in the Pape and Danforth neighbourhood and will be commuting to work for the first time in a decade.
“I did do the commute 10 years ago, but I used to spend at least two hours each way in traffic,” she said. “This is better. I can work on the train and I don’t have to worry about the weather.
“It’s just a lot more relaxing of a commute.”
That sentiment seemed to be shared by nearly all of the customers who boarded the inaugural trip. During the first ride, with the wind-chill pushing the temperature outside to around -12C, inside the train there was a sense of excitement. While early, few found time to sleep.
Tom Wilkinson was one of the first to get on at Niagara Falls GO shortly before 5:19 a.m. “It’s been great. I’ve been able to get caught up on my emails,” he said. “I will use it again for sure. The station is only five minutes from my home.”
The delivery of weekday GO train service to the Niagara Region comes four years earlier than originally promised and is a direct result of a strong working relationship between Metrolinx and CN.
“This is a big day,” said Greg Percy, Metrolinx chief operations officer. “We’ve worked very closely with our partners in Niagara for probably three years now to make sure this could happen – and it’s the collaboration with our partners at CN and the St. Lawrence Seaway that really made this happen now.”
Percy acknowledges the time it takes (more than two and a half hours) to get from Niagara Falls to Union Station is a significant commute, but he says Metrolinx is making improvements to make it a little faster.
What’s great is that you can choose to make it productive time and make it an extension of your office hours,” Percy said.
There are currently plans to open two additional GO stations along the Niagara corridor: construction at Confederation GO in Stoney Creek is already underway and the proposed Grimsby GO station is now part of Metrolinx’s new Transit Oriented Development strategy.
Work in Grimsby will now advance in collaboration with third-party investments and will be delivered in partnership with the local municipalities and property developers.
The investment in additional weekday GO train services to and from the Niagara Region is expected to cost about $1.66 million annually.
When using PRESTO, the train fare between Niagara Falls and Union Station will be $19.80. Without PRESTO, the train fare between Niagara Falls and Union Station will be $22.30.
by Matt Llewellyn Spokesperson