Reduced GO Transit, UP Express service to combat coronavirus spread begins today

Mar 18 2020, 10:33 am

Metrolinx has a “selective reduction” in GO Transit and UP Express services that kicks off on March 18.

Last week, the transit agency announced that new changes would take place “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.”

The UP Express will temporarily run trains every 30 minutes, starting from Union Station at 4:55 am and from Pearson at 5:27 am. The last trains will depart Pearson at 12:57 am, and Union at 1 am.

Metrolinx said that reducing service allows them to rotate their employees on their vehicles and in stations.

“We know our transit is a lifeline service for many customers during these difficult times and we want to ensure we have a healthy workforce so there is a reliable and sustainable plan for service during the weeks to come.”

“As well, to help further protect Metrolinx front line staff and to encourage social distancing, customers may notice some changes when boarding your GO train, particularly on the accessibility coach,” said Metrolinx on its website.

The changes are as follows:

  • GO Customer Service Ambassadors will be making on-train announcements advising customers that the accessibility coach is intended for people with mobility needs and those that need it most.
  • Metrolinx encourage customers that don’t require the ramp up to the accessibility coach to use other doors as the ramp will only be deployed for those that require assistance getting on board.
  • For transit users that need the accessibility coach, you will notice Velcro straps are setup to create a safe distance between customers and our staff.
  • Seating on board the accessibility coach will be still be available, but to proceed upstairs you’ll need board the accessibility coach at the door opposite of the Customer Service Ambassador.

Additionally, Metrolinx is asking GO bus customers to avoid sitting in the row directly behind the driver to ensure there is adequate distance between everyone on the bus, including staff.

“GO train and UP Express customers are also being encouraged to spread out along the platforms – and not to crowd around one specific door to help keep a safe distance between everyone on board,” they said.

“When on a GO or UP train please practice social distancing and spread yourselves out as much as possible.”

The new temporary GO train times can be found here, and GO bus schedule can be found here.

Last week, Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster said GO and UP Express are vital to our region and “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.