A pilot project starting Oct. 18 will see GO Train service extend to London, Ont., As well as Stratford and St. Marys.
In the project, Metrolinx will offer everyday travel between London and Toronto with an early morning trip to Union Station and a return trip late in the evening.
Megabus offers routes between London and Toronto from 15 July
“It simply came to our notice then. We look forward to building on the launch of this pilot project, ”Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney told Global News.
“It will be two weekday journeys, one leaving London early in the morning and going to St. Mary’s and Stratford en route along the Kitchener Corridor to Union Station and then an afternoon ride from Union Station and back to London.”
A trip from London to Toronto will take about four hours, while it will take about two hours to walk from London to Kitchener.
Asked what future phases could bring, Mulroney says the Doug Ford government seeks to gather feedback from riders and from its southwestern Ontario Transportation Task Force, led by London Mayor Ed Holder.
“In the past, transportation policy has been established in Queen’s Park, and we will do it differently.”
The pilot project provides another route to Toronto after Greyhound Canada stopped its operations in May. Since then, Megabus has started offering daily trips between London and downtown Toronto.
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London Mayor Ed Holder thanked the province for “making progress in our vision of more transport links” in the region.
“Londoners need and deserve access to increased transport options, and by expanding the GO Railway service to southwestern Ontario, we are keeping our promise to increase economic productivity and business opportunities while supporting healthier, more connected communities.”
Ticket prices have not yet been determined, though Mulroney says there will be three different fares depending on whether a traveler is on their way to St. Louis. Marys, Stratford or Toronto.
“We will get more information about it before the service launches on October 18.”
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Unlike on the VIA Rail, passengers on the GO train do not have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We have implemented health and safety protocols so that all Ontarians who want to use GO can feel safe when they are on it,” Mulroney said.
“Of course, I would encourage anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to go and get vaccinated. It’s the best way to protect yourself and your community. ”
These health and safety protocols include more space between chairs and seats, partitions between the seats and rubbing alcohol on the train.
The province says in a statement that it is working closely with VIA Rail and CN to expand the service and “explore ways to improve the speed and frequency of passenger train services.”
In addition, the province adds that the Southwestern Ontario Transportation Task Force will continue to look for ways to “build an integrated transportation system” across various transportation options, including rail and bus.
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