December brings GO train service to Kitchener
Simultaneous announcements were made in Kitchener and Guelph on Friday morning, revealing that GO trains will start rolling into the area on Dec. 19.
Kitchener Mayor Carl Zehr says "It means more vehicles off the roadway and more convenience for the commuting public."
Trains are scheduled to depart Kitchener weekday mornings, one at 5:52 a.m. and another at 7:10 a.m. They will stop at the Guelph Central GO Station at 6:14 a.m. and 7:32 a.m. respectively.
The two return trains from Toronto will depart Union Station at 4:45 p.m. and 5:45 p.m.
Each trip between Kitchener and Toronto will take about two hours. Travel between Guelph and Toronto will take about one hour and 40 minutes.
Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge says "We hope that in the long term that we're building a foundation here that this is going to build a form of transportation between all the communities along this corridor."
In fact the trains will make a number of stops at GO Stations between Kitchener and Toronto's Union Station including:
- Mount Pleasant
- Etobicoke North
A one-way fare from Kitchener to Toronto will cost $14.60, and riders will be able to use PRESTO transit cards. A one-way fare from Guelph to Toronto will cost $11.70.
GO Transit bus service first came to the region just over two years ago, and GO now averages more than 50 trips to and from the Kitchener-Waterloo area daily, moving more than 700 riders.
With that level of support, GO officials say it made sense to get some of those passengers off the roads and onto the rails.
Bruce McCuaig, Metrolinx president, says "The bus schedule will stay the same initially. We will be watching to see what ridership does and how many people move over to the train system and we will adjust accordingly."
The expansion project has reportedly created 180 jobs, and there is hope the growth will continue.
Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Elizabeth Witmer says "It's a start and hopefully we'll see two-way service, we'll see service that better accommodates the needs of the working population as well as people wanting to use it for attending social events."
But there are issues that stand in the way of further expansion, according to Waterloo Region chair Ken Seiling.
"It's really two issues, one is a financial issue and the other is the capacity of the line and right now I'm told that the capacity is not there to bring all the trains out in the morning."
However, GO Transit President Gary McNeil says "As the ridership grows and as the community supports GO Transit more will come this way."
GO Transit also hasn't ruled out extending service to Stratford and has asked that community for a business plan.