The first bus rolled out of the massive terminal at the CIBC Square (81 Bay St.) office tower, located at the northeast corner of Bay Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West and on the south side of the Union Station rail corridor, at around 5:50 a.m. on Saturday en route for Oshawa.
The previous terminal at 141 Bay St., which opened in 2003 on the north side of the rail corridor between Bay and Yonge streets, closed down for good just over three hours earlier with the final bus heading out to Gormley GO Station as a handful of transit agency staff looked on.
Metrolinx officials estimated more than 100 million customers passed through the old terminal over the 17 years it was in operation.
The new terminal will be accessible through entrances on Bay Street, Lake Shore Boulevard West, and a new above-ground bridge over Bay Street from the south side of Union Station at Scotiabank Arena.
The biggest change for GO Transit travellers, aside from being in a new indoor facility, is the method for boarding buses. For instance, the current terminal typically uses fixed platforms for certain routes. With the new terminal, GO Transit officials said buses will be assigned to one of four zones.
After arriving at the zone, riders will then be directed through electronic screens to whichever platform is open in an effort to “prevent backlogs and minimize delays.”
Commuters will be kept in a separate waiting area and when buses arrive, passengers will then be allowed onto the appropriate platform.
Officials said the new terminal will have no-charge Wi-Fi, charging ports and bicycle parking available for travellers. Customer pickup and dropoff zones have been designated on the P1 level.
Construction on the development project began in 2017. The 141 Bay St. property will be replaced with a new office tower.
It’s anticipated a new elevated park connecting both towers will be built above the Union Station rail corridor by 2023.
Eventually, CIBC will be moving all of its employees to the location once it is completed.