Metrolinx reducing GO Transit, UP Express service amid coronavirus pandemic

Mar 14 2020, 7:33 am

Metrolinx will have a “selective reduction” in GO Transit and UP Express services starting next week.

On Friday, the transit agency announced that new changes will take place starting on March 18 “to align service with demand.”

The selective reduction will affect GO train and buses and UP Express, which is also in “continued support of provincial action and to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.”

Metrolinx said the revised schedules are being finalized and will be available by March 15 at noon.

“Our key consideration is ensuring our services can continue and our employees and customers are safe,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster. “We want to ensure there is a reliable and sustainable plan for service to continue over the weeks to come.”

“GO and UP Express are vital to our region,” Verster said. “Every route we serve, we will continue to serve.”

Metrolinx said they are reducing services to be in line with the expected reduction in ridership due to March Break, school closures and the significant shift in many organizations’ work-from-home policy.

On Friday, the City of Toronto announced it would be shutting down major services as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community and recreation centres, public arenas, ski hills, fitness centres, libraries, museums and galleries will be closed.

Some vital services will still be operating in the city like the TTC, police services, fire services and paramedics.

The city’s announcement also said that residents can continue taking the TTC.

“We take the health and safety of our employees and customers very seriously. At this time, Toronto Public Health advises that riding public transit poses low risk for exposure to Covid-19 and no change in travel habits is recommended for healthy individuals,” reads a statement on the TTC’s website.

“While we are expecting reduced ridership given March break and the two-week school shut down, this is a dynamic situation and we will continue to consult with public health officials and advise our customers of any new or changing advice for travel on the TTC.”

Earlier this week, the province announced all schools in Ontario would close for two weeks after the March Break and Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer’s recommendation for “immediate suspension” of all large events and public gatherings of 250 people.