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UP Express stops in Toronto reduced as Metrolinx shakes up GO train service

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Metrolinx planning to ban some e-bikes from GO trains in and out of Toronto
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Transit users in west Toronto are recalibrating their commutes after a raft of changes to provincially-run train routes cut local service on the UP Express.

On Monday, provincial transit agency Metrolinx announced 300 new trips on its main train lines in and out of Toronto, a service increase of roughly 15 per cent. At the same time, it said airport service from downtown would run without stopping more often.

As part of the changes, service will increase from every 30 to every 15 minutes on the core part of GO Transit’s Lakeshore East and West lines on weekday afternoons and evenings, Metrolinx announced. Trains on the Bramalea-to-Toronto portion of the Kitchener Line will also now turn every 30 minutes on weekdays.

“As part of our work to get it done on the largest public transit expansion in North America, our government is adding hundreds of additional GO train trips each week for communities across the GTA,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday.

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The more regular trips along the Kitchener Line, however, have also seen a change to how the provincially-run UP Express between Union Station and Toronto Pearson International Airport runs. Trains between the two travel hubs run every 15 minutes, one of the most frequent train services in Ontario.

For years those trains have acted as something of a hybrid commuter and airport service. With stops at Bloor West station near Dundas Street close to Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood and at Weston station, the train is relied upon by commuters as well a airport travellers.

That dual purpose has led to overcrowding on the route and, with the same Toronto stations served by the Kitchener GO train, Metrolinx moved to run more trains directly to the airport.

From the end of the month, when all of Metrolinx’s service changes come into effect, every second UP Express train to the airport will bypass the local Bloor West and Weston stations.

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Opposition politicians are concerned the move will make it harder to get around the city.

“We want more people to be able to get to the airport and to that area because a lot of people work up there as well faster,” Ontario NDP Leader Marit Stiles said Monday.

“I am a bit concerned that people who are travelling from the Bloor Line, or Weston, are going to have to wait a lot longer to be able to get up to the airport.”

Metrolinx and the Ford government say the changes come, in part, because the Kitchener GO trains are significantly larger than the UP Express and designed to handle the volume of rush hour commuters.

They say that for anyone travelling between Union Station and either Bloor West or Weston, service is still available every 15 minutes between the two different lines. Commuters crushing into the UP Express for its convenience were also making the airport service less useful for travellers, Metrolinx contends.

Ontario Liberal MPP John Fraser suggested the province would not prove the move wouldn’t have a negative impact and be ready to pivot if it makes the line less useful.

“It will be up to the government to display why that’s a good thing to do and how many people it’s going to affect,” he said Monday.

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Metrolinx said it will monitor the routes and is open to future changes if they become necessary.

Details of GO Transit service changes

From April 27 and 28:

  • Lakeshore East and West: Weekend train service will increase to every 15 minutes in the afternoon and evening between Oakville GO Station, Union Station and Durham College Oshawa GO Station.
  • Kitchener: Weekday service will run every 30 minutes between midday and evenings from Bramalea to Union Station.
  • Stouffville: Evening train service will run seven days a week.
  • Milton: An additional morning rush hour trip into Union Station and an afternoon rush hour trip from Union Station to Milton GO.
  • UP Express: Every second train (every 30 minutes) will be non-stop between Union Station and Pearson Airport.
  • Niagara Falls: On Saturdays, the last train to and from Niagara Falls on the Lakeshore West line will depart an hour later; the last train to Niagara Falls will depart half an hour earlier.

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