Since its 2016 launch in Toronto and 2016 in Vancouver, GO’s high-speed, express routes have attracted and remain popular travellers, mainly to and from Canada’s two largest cities.
But, for all the hype and announcements, GO doesn’t seem to be doing much to overcome issues that have hampered its service. For one, GO’s new tracks in Toronto’s west-end go straight through midtown, at a cost of $6bn. There is a connection to GO’s older infrastructure, but only outside of the tunnel.
Given Toronto’s dense population, this is an inconvenience to those who live there and, in particular, express riders who may need to access one of the many subway stations near their home. In Vancouver, higher budget streetcars, without even limited overhead wires to take pressure off trains, means riders are able to make a long-distance trip from Vancouver to Toronto without dealing with either the inconvenience of a steep climb or a nine-car long train.
As this map shows, many GO travellers travel from southern Ontario, bypassing rural Ontario. According to GO’s 2016 reports, 62% of passengers who board in southern Ontario make use of the overpass and overpass sections of the new tracks.
Another problem, especially for more frequent travellers between Toronto and Bricánluca, is the extra train time: generally a fairly long wait. GO hasn’t updated the ticket price for the new line, but ticket prices for shorter trips at BC rail locations are generally about $10 more expensive. One of the reasons these express routes are so successful, it seems, is that the cost of transit is comparatively cheap.
Some key findings to note: