Should GO Transit abandon its York U stop? For 1 student, it would be a 'disaster'
Metrolinx considering plan to bring students to future Downsview Park station to connect with TTC
Sarah Mossop is worried her commute to class will be longer — and more expensive — if GO Trains start bypassing the York University stop.
Currently, Mossop and other students and staff who live north of York's campus, catch the Barrie line train south to the York U stop, then use a free shuttle provided by the university to get to campus. The stop, located in an industrial area that's about a five-minute drive east of the university, isn't perfect, but Mossop said it's far better than the alternative being studied by Metrolinx.
The transit agency wants the Barrie trains to stop at the new Downsview Park Station when the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension starts operating at the end of the year. From there, students will backtrack via the subway to get to York's campus.
"That's going to be a disaster," Mossop told CBC Toronto.
"It's not like GO. It's not rapid, it's not effective, you can't count on it," she said, adding she's concerned about both TTC service disruptions.
While other students might consider driving, Mossop can't, due to severe arthritis.
York University's transportation department is also urging Metrolinx to enhance the York U stop, rather than abandoning it.
Nicole Arsenault, the manager of York transportation services, estimates students and faculty who rely on the stop could see an added 20 minutes worth of travel time tacked on to every trip. She also called the potential move "counterproductive" to the goal of getting people out of their cars.
Arsenault also pointed out that there' is more development expected in the area in the coming years.
"I think we need to look at how can we get more people to the station, rather than closing it," she said.
Metrolinx says no decision has been made
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne-Marie Aikins said nothing has been decided, however the stop is performing poorly at the moment.
Aikins said statistics show just 225 people use the stop daily — a tiny percentage of the some 10,000 people who head south on the Barrie line every morning. (York's Arsenault, meanwhile, disagrees with that figure, saying 500 people use its shuttle service every day, and predicted the line could draw more riders once all-day two-way service is introduced on the line.)
Aikins said if the GO Train does wind up going to Downsview, Metrolinx will do its best to make sure that the transfer process is simple. She suggested fares could be integrated, though negotiations with the TTC are ongoing on that matter, so students like Mossop wouldn't have to pay more for using the two different services.
Mossop said she's hoping Metrolinx makes a decision about its plans soon, so she can start figuring out how she'll deal with the changes.