November 6, 2018 11:00 pm
Updated: November 6, 2018 11:12 pm

GO Transit ending bus service to York University’s Keele campus

A file photo of Highway 407 station.

Nick Westoll / Global News

The organization representing York University students says GO Transit‘s plan to eliminate buses from servicing the institution’s main campus will mean increased costs and travel times for commuters.

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As of Jan. 5, GO Transit buses (routes 25F, 45, 46, 47, 48, 51, 52 and 54) will no longer service stops on Keele Street or at York University’s Keele campus. Instead, those routes will now only service the Highway 407 subway station and bus terminal.

However, the change will mean commuters will have to pay an extra fare to transfer between the TTC and GO. For PRESTO card users, it will mean an extra $1.50 each way between York University and Highway 407 subway stations. The GO Transit fare price remains the same.

READ MORE: GO Transit, TTC users to get co-fare discounts

Jordan Madeira, vice-president of operations for the York Federation of Students (YFS), told Global News on Tuesday evening his organization has been fighting to preserve direct transit services on campus to make it better for students. He said the changes may not seem big, but the costs will add up.

“It’s an affordability issue. We’re talking about students being put in a situation now where they’re going to be paying an additional fee,” Madeira said.

“We’re talking with students already who are having difficulties to afford to pay their regular student fare to get on campus … we’re talking about students that are in precarious work, mature students, part-time students across a range of identities that may not be able to afford a subtle change.”

Madeira also said the other issue is accessibility. He said the extra step of transferring between the bus and subway will be more challenging for those with mobility issues and disabilities.

READ MORE: New Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension officially launches

“Students find it significantly easier for a direct route,” Madeira said.

He said YFS’ YU Ride campaign has seen more than 9,000 students sign a petition calling for a return of YRT/Viva bus services to campus, bus routes that were redirected away from the Keele campus earlier this year. The petition also calls for fare integration between all-area transit service providers and a commitment to keep direct connections on campus.

Anne Marie Aikins, a spokesperson for GO Transit, said the January changes have been planned for a while. She said the transit organization appreciates concerns about change, but the plan remains in place.

READ MORE: Behind-the-scenes look at the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension

“We’re going to continue to work with York University on a strategy, they are one of our partners and we’re working really closely with them on this, but we didn’t have an alternative place at York U. that we felt was accessible and safe,” Aikins said.

“It was always part of our plan to move it to the 407 station when it opened. We delayed that decision by a year to give students time to adapt. They’ve had quite a bit of warning.”

She said by eliminating buses having to get off Highway 407 and travel down Keele Street to York University, it will mean overall improved schedule reliability since travel time will be reduced.

Highway 407 subway station and bus terminal is located right beside the Jane Street off-ramp of the highway.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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