It's been just a few days now since the closure of the GO Transit Bay Concourse at Union Station over this past weekend, and the big question has been just how things would be at the country's busiest transportation hub with GO Transit passengers having to navigate through other access points to and from their trains. 

Front Street, York Street, Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoHeading for the GO Train in the PM Rush, image by Marc Mitanis

We sent two of our photographers to the station to get shots of the mayhem… except that it turns out that it's not mayhem at all. "Many people have been practising their new routes" is what Anne Marie Aikins, chief spokesperson for Metrolinx told us. "We have been very pleased with how the customer flow has gone so far."

Walking the corridors in the AM Rush, Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoWalking the corridors in the AM Rush, image by Jack Landau

"Like anything new major change like this it will take time and an adjustment period. Our customers are being exceptionally patient though," continued Aikins.

Walking to Front in the AM Rush, Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoHeading for Front Street in the AM Rush, image by Jack Landau

In the AM Rush this morning, we noticed that pedestrian traffic is quite spread out across the numerous access points that allow passengers to descend from the platforms to the West or East York Street Teamways, the York Concourse, the VIA Concourse, or the West or East Bay Street Teamways. Above, GO passengers head for Downtown destinations through the York Street Moat, north of the Teamway, most climbing the stairs to Front Street, some entering the short Northwest PATH tunnel under Front Street.

Bay Concourse in the AM Rush, Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoNavigating in the AM through the not totally closed Bay Concourse, image by Jack Landau

While access to the Bay Concourse is now closed, the Concourse itself is not fully closed yet, and passage through parts of the Concourse between the Union subway station and the rest of Union station is being maintained while work continues on a new passageway via the Front Street Tunnel and Moat to the York Concourse.

Bay Concourse in the PM Rush, Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoNavigating in the PM through the not totally closed Bay Concourse, image by Marc Mitanis

What has closed completely in the Bay Concourse now is the access to the platforms above, the GO Transit ticketing kiosks, and all of the food and retail concessions, and people are now wondering where they can easily get a coffee or a bite to eat. For the time being, people passing through the station have the option of going up to the temporary Front Street Market, but more solutions are coming. Anne Marie Aikins told us "Metrolinx and the City of Toronto are working closely with our retail partner, Union, to get temporary coffee kiosks open in the next few weeks and our vendors [in the York Concourse] opened by end of year." The first three vendors in the York Concourse who are now under construction are McDonald's, Booster Juice, and an INS Market for convenience items.

Closed food concessions in the Bay Concourse, GO Transit, Union Station, TorontoClosed food concessions in the Bay Concourse, image by Marc Mitanis

In regards to helping people navigate through the station, Aikins also told us "We have 100 additional staff for the next few weeks to help people get accustomed to the changes and their new routes. Managers are doing a lot of observing patterns and flows and make any operational or station changes such as additional signage, additional PRESTO machines, et cetera, to keep the flow of traffic moving." 

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoHeading for the York Concourse from the Great Hall, image by Marc Mitanis

In the PM Rush Hour, we saw people accessing the York Concourse through all of the possible passages, including the new entry from Union Station's Great Hall, above.

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoWalking the corridors in the PM Rush, image by Marc Mitanis

Most however, still flow through the corridors one level below, with a steady stream of people entering near Bay Street and heading west.

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoWalking the corridors in the PM Rush, image by Marc Mitanis

At one turn in the pathway, below, a staff person in a green apron is on hand to answer any questions.

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoHelp on hand at a bend in the path, image by Marc Mitanis

When people arrive at the York Concourse, there are crowds similar to those that were seen in the old Bay Concourse waiting for their train platform to be announced on screens.

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoGathering in the York Concourse, image by Marc Mitanis

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoWaiting for a train in the York Concourse, image by Marc Mitanis

Once the Train is announced, passengers ascend to the platforms to find a familiar world again.

Union Station, GO Transit, TorontoPassengers head for a GO Train, image by Craig White

Have you been commuting through Union Station? What's your take on the latest changes? You can find out more about what's coming by visiting UrbanToronto's dataBase file for the project, as linked below. If you want to get in on the conversation, choose the associated Forum thread link, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.