Wynne says GO train trips to Barrie will increase to 200 a week in five years
Published Thursday, April 16, 2015 5:48PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 17, 2015 6:19PM EDT
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced an increase to GO train trips on Friday morning, including all-day two-way service between Barrie and Toronto.
Wynne made the announcement for $13.5 billion regional express rail plan for the GTA at the Barrie South GO station with Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca and Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.
“Our commitment to moving Ontario forward rises from $29 billion to $31.5 billion,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Some of that money will come from the province’s announcement on Thursday to sell off some assets, namely part of Hydro One.
Over the next ten years, $130 billion will be poured into infrastructure projects. One focus is improving Rapid Rail Transit across the province. In Barrie, it could mean two-way hourly service during the day, evening and weekend giving commuters more options.
“People are going to have more time to spend with their families and it’s going to make their life easier,” said Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth.
In Aurora, the plan calls for trains to run every 15 minutes in both directions.
The service upgrades will also mean communities might have to make some changes of their own in order to accommodate the anticipated influx of people taking public transit. More parking will be needed at the Aurora GO Station.
“We have a very active GO station and a very active GO parking lot so we need to. There will be some challenges around that we will have to work through,” said Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe.
In Barrie, the challenge will be more city buses getting people to the trains.
“If we’re going to have three times as many GO trains going from these stations, we need more transit service to these stations and we’re probably going to have to talk to Metrolinx about things like parking and making it easier to walk and bike here,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.
There is a lot construction that has to be done to complete the project. Design work on a second track for the Barrie line has already started. No major disruptions are anticipated when shovels hit the ground in a couple of months but slower commute times may happen in areas where work is being done.
“Sometimes we’ll have a slow order through the diversions so it won’t add significant amounts of time to the travel. But there will be sections rather than going 120 km/h you may be going through at 500 metre stretch at 60 – 70 km/h,” says Metrolinx President & CEO Bruce McCuaig.
Currently there are 70 weekly trips on the Barrie line, but Friday’s announcement would see the number grow to more than 200 over next five years.
There is no firm date when increased service will star but Transportation Minister Del Duca says things should start happening with the year.