GO Transit

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GO Transit

Image:Go transit.png



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GO Transit
GO Transit
Reporting marks GOT
Locale Greater Toronto Area
Years of operation 1967 – Present
Track gauge 4 ftin (1435 mm)
Headquarters Toronto, Ontario

GO Transit, officially known as the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA), is Canada's first, and Ontario's only, interregional public transit system, established to link Toronto with the surrounding regions of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). GO carries 45 million passengers a year in an extensive network of train and bus services. Since it began regular passenger service in May 1967, more than three-quarters of a billion people have taken GO trains and buses.

GO trains are easily identifiable; they are double-decked, green and white, and the cars are shaped like elongated octagons. These Bombardier BiLevel carriages were originally designed for GO in the 1970s, and are now used by a number of other commuter railways across the continent. GO buses are not double-decked (though the agency is considering buying double-decker buses for use on some high-traffic routes), but they are also characterised by a green and white colour scheme. Most GO buses are inter-city coaches.

Although it owns its own locomotives and carriages, GO contracts out the operation of its trains to the Canadian Pacific Railway on the Milton line, and to CN on all others. As a result, GO service is sometimes disrupted by labour disputes in which it is not a direct participant.


Service area

Image:Go Train 044.jpg
A GO Train locomotive.

GO trains and buses serve a population of five million in an 8,000-square-kilometre area (3,000 square miles) radiating from downtown Toronto to Hamilton and Guelph in the west; Orangeville, Barrie, and Beaverton to the north; and Port Perry, Oshawa, and Newcastle in the east. The buses extend GO's service as far as 100 kilometres (over 60 miles) from downtown Toronto. GO connects with every municipal transit system in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton areas, including the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).

The Greater Toronto Area consists of the City of Toronto and the surrounding Regions of Halton, Peel, York, and Durham. GO Transit also serves the neighbouring City of Hamilton, and reaches into Simcoe, Dufferin, and Wellington Counties.

Image:Go Train 046.jpg
All GO trains are now composed of the agency's distinctive bi-level railway carriages.

There are seven train routes, which all depart from Toronto's Union Station:

Lakeshore West
Lakeshore East
Richmond Hill

At peak rush-hour periods, train service is available at all stations.

In weekday off-peak hours, trains run only on the Lakeshore between Oshawa in the east and Burlington in the west, and on the Georgetown line between Union Station in the east and Bramalea in the west. On weekends, trains run only between Pickering in the east and Oakville in the west. Bus connections extend the Lakeshore service to Newcastle in the east and Hamilton in the west.

Off-peak GO Bus service between Union Station and other railway stations (train-buses) give passengers more choice when travelling to and from downtown Toronto before and after rush hour when the trains aren’t running, even on weekends.



A GO train on the Richmond Hill line at the Don Valley Parkway and Wynford St. onramp.

Many municipal transit systems connect with GO Trains. The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) provides the most connections with GO Trains and convenient connections can be made between the trains and TTC buses, streetcars, and subway trains. Immediately adjacent to the GO concourse at Union Station is the Union station on the TTC's Yonge-University Spadina subway line. Connections at Union Station with the TTC's Harbourfront (509) and Spadina (510) streetcar lines are also possible.

Four stations on the TTC's Bloor-Danforth subway line and one on the Sheppard line are close to GO Train stations;

All GO Train stations within the City of Toronto except GO Exhibition are adjacent to TTC bus routes, and GO Danforth, GO Exhibition, GO Bloor, and GO Long Branch are also on streetcar routes.



GO runs 178 train trips and 1,166 bus trips daily, carrying about 170,000 passengers on a typical weekday — 145,000 on the trains and 25,000 by bus. GO says that their ridership growth has continually exceeded expectations. In the first year of operations, 2.5 million passengers were carried. The combined rail and bus system today handles more than 45 million riders annually.



GO Transit was created and funded by the provincial government in 1967 as Government of Ontario Transit (hence the acronym 'GO') and was financed entirely by the Province of Ontario until the end of 1997. The Province subsidized any operating costs that were not recovered through revenue, as well as all capital costs. Responsibility for the system was then transferred to the Toronto Area Transportation Operating Authority (TATOA) and later to the Greater Toronto Services Board as part of the province's 'downloading' initiative, before finally returning to province as a Crown Agency under Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA).

GO began as a three-year experiment in May 1967 running single-deck diesel multiple units on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. Lakeshore GO trains carried 2.5 million riders that first year and was considered to be a success. GO Bus service, which started out as an extension of the original Lakeshore train line, has since become a full-fledged network in its own right. It feeds the rail service and serves communities that trains do not reach.

In January 1997, the province announced it would hand over funding responsibility for GO Transit to the Greater Toronto Area municipalities (which consist of the City of Toronto, and the Regions of Halton, Peel, York, and Durham) as well as the neighbouring Region of Hamilton-Wentworth (which became the new City of Hamilton on 1 January 2001). In exchange, the province would assume certain other funding responsibilities from municipal governments.

A year later, on 1 January 1998, the GTA municipalities and Hamilton-Wentworth (now the city of Hamilton) began to fund GO Transit, cost-sharing all of GO's capital expenses and any operating costs that are not recovered through passenger fares and other revenue. On 1 January 1999, a new municipal agency created by the province came into being: the Greater Toronto Services Board (GTSB), composed of regional chairs, municipal mayors, and local councillors from the GTSB's service area. GO Transit transferred over to the municipal sector as an arm of the GTSB on August 7, 1999, thus completing the process that had begun with the funding change of 1998.

On September 27, 2001, Ontario Premier Mike Harris announced that the Provincial government would be taking back responsibility for GO Transit, and putting $3 billion into public transit in Ontario. For the practically impoverished GO, it was a welcome funding commitment.

The GO Transit Act, 2001 was passed by the Ontario Legislature on December 5, 2001. As of January 1, 2002, GO Transit is no longer the responsibility of the municipalities of the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. GO has returned to provincial responsibility as a Crown Corporation, and the Greater Toronto Services Board no longer exists.


Future expansion

GO Transit has a ten-year plan in place, which includes provisions for new train stations, more parking spaces at existing stations, and increasing service on some (or all) existing train lines. While no new train lines are being planned, here are some of the improvements being planned, or in the process of completion:

  • Construction of the Mount Pleasant Station on the Georgetown line (Highway 7 and Creditview Road) continues, but the station is now open for service.
  • Expanding the Highway 407 bus service to York University; other academic institutions served on the 407 routing include: McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, Centennial College and University of Toronto at Scarborough in eastern Toronto, and Durham College and UOIT in Oshawa, Ontario.
  • Increasing available parking spaces at Bradford, Milton and Stouffville stations.
  • Moving the Milliken Station south of Steeles Avenue into Toronto from York Region
  • Construction of a new Kennedy station, which will allow for transfers to/from the TTC (Bloor-Danforth Line, Scarborough RT or connecting TTC bus services) that opened for service on 2 June 2005.
  • Improved overnight train storage facilities at Milton, Richmond Hill and Hamilton; permitting GO Transit to operate longer trains, improve train schedule reliability add new train trips.
  • Installation of railway crossing protection arms at various roads.
  • Improving accessibility to GO Transit's services for the physically challenged.
  • Fleet expansion, including buses and Bombardier Bi-Level Rail Cars, and the replacement of old locomotives with more reliable and powerful models; permitting more train and bus trips, along with longer trainsets.
  • Extending platforms at several Lakeshore and Milton Corridor stations to permit 12-car train sets by 2008.
  • Adding a new station on the Milton Corridor, located near Highway 401 and Winston Churchill Boulevard in Mississauga, named Lisgar, which will open in 2007.

Larger-scale infrastructure improvements are also being planned, including:

  • Rail-to-rail grade separations where the Bradford and Stouffville lines cross CN's east-west freight line, to allow for increased service, and at the "West Toronto diamond," to take the CN tracks under the CP tracks so that more trains can run more reliably
  • Increased track capacity on the Georgetown line's busy section between Brampton and northwest Toronto to allow more frequent train movements
  • Track upgrades on the Milton line to run more peak and off-peak trains
  • A third track from Mississauga to Burlington on the Lakeshore West line, and one from downtown Toronto to Scarborough on the Lakeshore East, to facilitate improved schedule reliability and increased service on the Lakeshore and Stouffville corridors
  • Improvements to Union Station to increase passenger access and capacity-handling

Expansions beyond GO's present service area — initatives that are part of the project funding announcements made by the Ontario and the Canadian federal governments, including:

  • Extending the Bradford line train service to the Barrie area, using track corridor owned by the City of Barrie
  • Introducing commuter bus services to Peterborough, to Niagara Region, and to Guelph and Waterloo Region to build the market for train service

GO is also developing a bus rapid transit (BRT) system that will provide extensive east-to-west express service across the GTA, using transit priority measures and park-and-ride stations with links to local transit. GO's already popular Highway 407 Express buses are the BRT's precursor, showing that demand for such service is already there.

The provincial Minister of Transportation has announced plans to introduce the GTA Farecard, an unified smartcard-based payment system for the entire Greater Toronto Area similar to the Octopus Card used in Hong Kong.


Vehicles and Staff

Vehicle: 211 buses, 45 locomotives, 314 coaches (2000) Employees: 1,193 (1991)

Source: Toronto Region, Ontario http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/alltime/toronto-suburbs-on.html


  • General Motors Diesel Division EMD E9A locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division F59PH I locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division F59PH II locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division F59PH III locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division F59PH IV locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division GP40TC locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division GP40-2L locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division F40PHs locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division GP40U locomotive
  • General Motors Diesel Division F59PH locomotive

Multiple units





  • Gray Coach Lines - defunct
  • Travelways
  • Charterways Transportation Limited
  • Penetang-Midland Coach Lines (PMCL)
  • CN engineers and conductors operates GO Trains except Milton line
  • CP engineers and conductors operates GO Trains on Milton line


GO Finch Terminal
  • Brampton Bus Terminal
  • Finch Bus Terminal - former GO York Region Terminal
  • Newmarket Bus Terminal
  • Oshawa Bus Terminal
  • Scarborough Town Centre Bus Terminal
  • Union Station / Bus Terminal
  • Yorkdale Bus Terminal
  • York University GO Station (Bradford Line) - off campus


  • Willowbrook Yard
  • North Bathurst Yard 1987 - formerly of CN
  • Georgetown
  • Guelph Junction (Milton)
  • Steeprock Bus Garage 1979 - stores 100 buses, 50 bus staging areas, 12 bus repair bays
  • CN MacMillan Yard
  • East Region Office - Middlefield Road and McCowan Road.

See also


External links

  • GO Transit
  • FindTheWay.ca
  • History of Regional Transit in Toronto




News RSS feed
  • Grey Island GO Transit contract - Toronto Star
  • Bus rules LA transit - Metro Toronto
  • Grey Island Systems International Inc. - CCNMatthews (press release)
  • Mississauga Transit Hike - 640 Toronto
  • U-pass proposal fine-tuned - Excalibur Online
  • Grey Island Systems To Provide Advanced Fleet Management ... - CCNMatthews (press release)
  • All aboard for giant reno - Toronto Star
  • Outfoxing fraudsters - Toronto Sun
  • Courtesy key to rider accessibility - Metro Toronto
  • Freezing rain warning for GTA - Toronto Star
  • ... more news

Related articles

Related profile RSS feed
Image:Wikipedia-small.png Wikipedia article about GO Transit (search). This article uses material from that article.

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