Toronto

GO Transit to cut 3 bus routes, reduce service on 2 others to save $3.7M yearly

GO Transit says it is cutting three "low-performing" bus routes and reducing service on two others to save $3.7 million annually.

Service cuts to 'some low-performing routes' take effect on June 29, Metrolinx says

GO Transit confirmed on Wednesday it is cutting three bus routes and reducing service on two others. The cancellation of a fourth bus route was announced earlier this year. All of the service changes take effect on June 29. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

GO Transit says it is cutting three "low-performing" bus routes and reducing service on two others to save $3.7 million annually.

The regional public transit service confirmed the cuts to CBC Toronto on Wednesday.

The cuts, which are listed on its website under "Service Updates," are set to take effect on June 29. GO Transit announced in April that it was cutting a fourth GO Transit bus route.

Fannie Sunshine, spokesperson for Metrolinx, the provincial transportation agency, said in a statement on Wednesday that Metrolinx wants to use its resources where they are needed most. GO Transit, a division of Metrolinx, serves the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

"We're discontinuing, reducing and adjusting service on some low-performing routes to find operational savings," Sunshine said.

"We value all of our customers, and we don't make these decisions lightly," she said. 

"In these cases, there is not enough demand to justify running the services. We are always monitoring our services to ensure we are making the best use of our resources."

Cuts to force riders on other crowded buses, NDP says

NDP transit critic Jessica Bell said the service cuts mean commuters in Oakville, Milton, Bolton and North York will have to take other crowded GO buses and will face longer travel times. She said GO Transit made the changes "quietly."

NDP transit critic Jessica Bell says: 'These cuts come as a devastating blow for transit riders who rely on these bus services.' (Linda Ward/CBC)

Bell blamed the Doug Ford government for the service changes, saying in a statement on Wednesday that the province cut funding to Metrolinx by $184 million this fiscal year, according to provincial government budget estimates.

"These cuts come as a devastating blow for transit riders who rely on these bus services," she said. "This is going to make things so much worse for transit riders, who are already dealing with delays and overcrowding, as Doug Ford derails planned improvements."

Bell added that the province should be improving transit, not reducing it.

"Transit riders across the GTHA deserve so much better. We need to be investing in public transit, not making cuts and ripping up plans."

When asked in question period on Wednesday about the service cuts, Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said the ministry looked at ridership on GO Transit bus routes after it examined its own spending line-by-line. 

Ontario Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek said on Wednesday that the cuts are due to ridership levels. (CBC)

"Unfortunately, we've looked at what buses were running in this system that were empty. Barely flowing. We've repositioned some of those bus routes to newer routes that have been brought forward," he told the Legislature.

Buses were not empty, NDP says

Despite the cuts, the ministry is expanding GO Rail in Ontario, Yurek said. It has increased service by 25 per cent to Kitchener, created a new route to Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, and expanded service on GO Transit's Lakeshore East and West lines.

"We are positioning ourselves to continue to grow the GO network across the entire GTHA," he said.

Bell told the minister: "These buses are not empty."

The following GO Transit bus routes will be discontinued as of June 29:

  • Route 20 (Milton/Oakville).
  • Route 24 (Cambridge/Milton).
  • Route 38 and 38A (Bolton/Malton and Bolton/North York).
  • Route 60 (Canada's Wonderland). This cancellation was announced earlier.

The following GO Transit bus routes will see a reduction in service:

  • Route 90 (Lakeshore East).
  • Route 81 (Beaverton/Port Perry/Whitby).

Of the cancelled routes, Sunshine said each Route 20 trip had 12 passengers on average, each Route 24 trip had five passengers on average and each Route 38 trip had 12 passengers on average.

Of the reduced routes, she said each Route 81 trip had 13 passengers on average, while each Route 90 trip had 21 passengers on average.

Each Route 60 trip had 35 passengers on average, she said. Sunshine said the Toronto Transit Commission's Line 1 extension to Vaughan means riders can use York Region Transit buses from Line 1 stations as an alternative to get to Canada's Wonderland. 

 

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