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GO Transit: Construction Projects (Metrolinx, various)

crs1026

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^Well, to be balanced, trains do tend to give a better experience in terms of space, ride stability, amenities, traffic avoidance, shelter.

But I totally agree that we are behaving disfunctionally when we bypass a bus service that we could afford in hopes that one day we will have a rail line that we can't afford.

I would put the blame on our tendency to run buses as a self fulfilling prophecy. There is no reason why a terminal point such as Collingwood or Wasaga Beach would not have an actual bus depot - a fixed structure with a heated, air conditioned waiting area, signage indicating when the next bus will arrive, a clean public washroom, proper physical security. (And a bikeshare rack. You may attract daytrippers, but you can't load 51 daytrippers' bikes on an MCI at Allandale.)

We either run regional buses on a shoestring - stand at the curb on a busy highway, hoping the bus stop sign is factually correct and the bus hasn't broken down - or we let the bus terminal become the scuzziest place in town and wonder why people don't want to ride. Seat pitch?

I have done a lot of European bus travel.... they aren't all that much better in spots. I have stood at a sign in some beautiful places wondering if I'm in the right spot and will the bus fly right by me. But, the European bus networks take one to a whole bunch of such places whereas ours are limited to the automobile. It's a network we should be building, we just need to do it right.

- Paul
 

Richard White

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I have done a lot of European bus travel.... they aren't all that much better in spots. I have stood at a sign in some beautiful places wondering if I'm in the right spot and will the bus fly right by me. But, the European bus networks take one to a whole bunch of such places whereas ours are limited to the automobile. It's a network we should be building, we just need to do it right.

In 2017 I took the Megabus from London UK to Falmouth, UK. London had the coach terminal attached to Victoria Station but in Falmouth it was nothing more than a post in the main square. Cities like Plymouth had proper facilities despite being in the middle of nowhere.

In retrospect I should have taken the train. I have taken buses across Hungary and England along with trains and I found the train more comfortable not to mention faster every time.

To get to Falmouth by bus from London was 8 hours with a stop in every little town and for gas. The train was 4 hours with a transfer and limited stops for the same journey. I was crammed into a seat for 8 hours on a bus with no washroom and could not sleep (it was an overnight train).

In Hungary to get form Budapest to Esztergom by bus is 3 hours, by boat it is 5 hours. The train is 2.5 and there is a washroom onboard plus you can get up to stretch your legs.

My point is, there is far more comfort for long journeys on a train than there is on a bus.
 

MisterF

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Yes. Rebuild it all. Throw a couple of (battery electric if you want) DMUs on some of these lines and have some form of limited service. There's a study out in Waterloo Region of essentially buying some of that UPX DMU stock and running from Cambridge to Guelph via Hespeler as opposed to extending the GO from Milton.

Not just for sprawl reasons, but environmental reasons. Give people the option of living in a small town, but the ability to take a train to a regional centre for services, post-secondary, etc. Electric cars and buses are great, but they still cause congestion. But I agree, don't give it to GO in it's current form, or at least overhaul GO to have different regions...
I've always thought that SW Ontario could support a dense web of passenger rail lines. Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, and Milton are all very close together and have close to 2 million people between them. The highway infrastructure between them is lacking in a lot of cases so trains could gain significant modal share. Between most of those cities there are underutilized rail lines that could be used or rail trails that could have tracks rebuilt. After GO expansion is finished and if HFR happens, those two projects will go a long way to rebuilding train culture in Ontario. Each project builds momentum for the next.
 

Wm Perkins Bull

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As there are a number of replies and exchange on the topic, to spare us a wall of quotes, I'll try to consolidate and address them.

The North American preference for rail over buses is much more of an American thing, stemming from both systemic, and systematic racism, and I do not think Ontario should make decisions incorporating racism into public policy, nor is it relevant to this forum. Canadian municipalities tend to have better transit systems than American municipalities, because open contempt and systematic racism have not played as significant a factor in municipal transportation policy, or intercity transit policy. Canadians when looking at buses are mostly reacting to quality of service, and Greyhound offers poor service.

A right of way existing is not the same as usable track existing, is not the same as transit stations existing. Rail has high fixed costs due to things like track maintenance, and lower operating cost scaling than buses, this makes rail an excellent choice for high volumes of people, it does however make it harder to start up. Rail also depends on existing rights of way, a procuring new ones can be rather expensive In comparison the equipment costs for GO bus service are lower, the roads are already provide for, and a number of rural urbanized areas (such as Lindsay) do have basic bus transportation with shelters. This means GO bus service can be established comparatively cheaply, and quickly. Because a bus almost anywhere there are paved roads, this means Lindsay could be connected by GO bus to Peterborough, and other trips which do not necessarily have existing intact rail rights of way.

Even if a train is faster (which it isn't necessarily depending on factors like track condition), the bus can still significantly beat it in terms of frequency, which for rural areas can be a huge deal. If the train trip is 20 minutes faster than the bus, but makes one round trip a day compared to buses making three round trips, when considering time waiting for it, is it really faster? For rural areas, a station doesn't need to be lavish, just properly maintained, a temperature controlled building with seating, accessible washrooms, and is properly maintained is likely to be satisfactory, see Collingwood's Transit Terminal that opened in 2018.

How well connected is the SW Greater Golden Horseshoe? Hamilton is connected to Guelph by Highway 6, to KW by Highway 8. Highway 24 connect Brantford to Cambridge. Those places already have transit systems, terminals, and highway connections, so all that is needed is buses, and some operating service, which means a network expansion connecting them could be done in the span of a single Provincial Parliament, instead of lord only knows how many years to acquire locomotives or DMUs, acquire, rebuild, and repair rights of way, and fix or construct new stations. To expand further southwest you'd need to build new maintenance and storage facilities, but GO bus facilities don't need to be very big.

I believe this is a succinct summary of my thoughts on whether GO Transit expansion should focus on construction rail facilities, or bus facilities.
 

sacred

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As there are a number of replies and exchange on the topic, to spare us a wall of quotes, I'll try to consolidate and address them.

The North American preference for rail over buses is much more of an American thing, stemming from both systemic, and systematic racism, and I do not think Ontario should make decisions incorporating racism into public policy, nor is it relevant to this forum. Canadian municipalities tend to have better transit systems than American municipalities, because open contempt and systematic racism have not played as significant a factor in municipal transportation policy, or intercity transit policy. Canadians when looking at buses are mostly reacting to quality of service, and Greyhound offers poor service.

What are you talking about in terms of rail preference in Canada stemming from racism? I prefer rail because after 6 hours on a Montreal-Toronto megabus, my entire body aches but after 5 hours on VIA I feel refreshed
 

Wm Perkins Bull

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What are you talking about in terms of rail preference in Canada stemming from racism? I prefer rail because after 6 hours on a Montreal-Toronto megabus, my entire body aches but after 5 hours on VIA I feel refreshed
In the US it stems from racism, in Canada its because of poor service.

That type of trip is entirely irrelevant to this discussion, because this thread is on GO Transit, which focuses on Regional trips. While in the long term one might be able to travel long distance on the GO network, it'd be through chaining a number of trips, and make far more sense to just take VIA. For mid haul trips the GO bus network would function as last mile, for example Peterborough to Port Hope and from there a longer trip on VIA. Even two hours would be a long time on a bus, unless one is coming from a particularly rural area. The regional bus service would in part function as a means to bring people to regional hubs, where they could then transfer to trains on corridors with higher ridership.
 
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Undead

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What are you talking about in terms of rail preference in Canada stemming from racism? I prefer rail because after 6 hours on a Montreal-Toronto megabus, my entire body aches but after 5 hours on VIA I feel refreshed

It's just the contemporary fad of interpreting racism in everything, but this too shall pass :)
 

Richard White

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The US Supreme Court case that upheld racial segregation Plessy v. Ferguson, was about racially segregated trains. In Morgan v. Virginia, the US Supreme Court held that the state of Virginia enforcing racial segregation on interstate buses was unconstitutional. One of the major parts of the American Civil Rights Movement was the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which was over racial segregation of municipal buses in Montgomery, you may have heard of Rosa Parks. Boynton v. Virginia held that segregation of bus terminals, including facilities such as washrooms and restaurants, was unconstitutional. In 1961 in reaction to the non-enforcement of Supreme Court decisions, groups of white and black people rode intercity buses to challenge local laws, they were called Freedom Riders, and there was violent racial push back, however it was an important PR win for the Civil Rights Movement.

The American neglect and disdain of buses has to do with racial discrimination. DKsan said "North Americans prefer rail over buses ", in response, I said it is "much more of an American thing", as the preference is far stronger in the US. sacred appears to have misinterpreted what I had said, thinking that I was saying the preference for rail in Canada has to do with racism, instead, what I had said was "Canadians when looking at buses are mostly reacting to quality of service, and Greyhound offers poor service." Preference for rail over bus because rail tends to be higher quality is much easier to correct than culturally ingrained racist views, it can be corrected by offering good quality bus service. Given the number of rural communities introducing bus service in the past five years, they do not appear to have any inherent disdain for buses. When you offer then GO buses connecting them to other municipalities, the GO bus becomes an agent of empowerment and freedom, it expands what they are able to do.

I'd like to point out that this profile is impersonating someone who died in 1948.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bull-2838

Mods.. is there anything that can be done before this gets into a racially charged debate.
 

Wm Perkins Bull

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I'd like to point out that this profile is impersonating someone who died in 1948.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bull-2838

Mods.. is there anything that can be done before this gets into a racially charged debate.
The man on the Clapham Omnibus could deduce that I am not in fact someone born in 1870, and that I am no more attempting to impersonate Wm Perkins Bull than the poster with the handle Allandale is attempting to impersonate a train station.

My first paragraph in your quoted post consists of me listing a series of events, mostly US Supreme Court cases, demonstrating that transit and segregation having to do with each other in the United States is an objective fact. My next paragraph transitions to explain how a series of quotations led to a misunderstanding, concluding with me transitioning it to being back about, GO Transit, in an attempt to return it the topic of hypothetical GO transit expansions, which had been discussed for the prior several days.



Now, to try to get this thread somewhat back on topic, the municipality of Innisfil is currently proposing an MZO to enable them to have a new GO station constructed, the proposal involves building a new city, does a proposal lend credence to the new Metrolinx idea, courtesy of the Ford government, that development should pay for new GO Stations, or does a proposal like this show that Metrolinx's new approach to GO station construction has some serious flaws?
 

crs1026

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^You don’t win many points by making a provocative statement and then, when others react, try to claim the high ground by declaring that you are returning the discussion to topic. If it walks like a troll, and quacks like a troll, it’s a troll.

The more pressing question is - how did a reasonably well developed network of bus operations which had been built by about 1970, fall apart in Ontario? We once had Gray Coach, Canada Coach, Travelways, Voyageur, Ontario Northland, Greyhound etc..... serving a lot of places that today have no public transit. Even where those routes remain, the passenger counts are way down, And, what are the barriers to restarting or augmenting such services, on the old routes or on new ones?

I’m not sure that a debate on social tensions matters much to that discussion.

- Paul
 

ARG1

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^You don’t win many points by making a provocative statement and then, when others react, try to claim the high ground by declaring that you are returning the discussion to topic. If it walks like a troll, and quacks like a troll, it’s a troll.

The more pressing question is - how did a reasonably well developed network of bus operations which had been built by about 1970, fall apart in Ontario? We once had Gray Coach, Canada Coach, Travelways, Voyageur, Ontario Northland, Greyhound etc..... serving a lot of places that today have no public transit. Even where those routes remain, the passenger counts are way down, And, what are the barriers to restarting or augmenting such services, on the old routes or on new ones?

I’m not sure that a debate on social tensions matters much to that discussion.

- Paul
Money Money Money, du du du du du du...
 

Allandale25

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"GO Heavy Rail" mentioned in this.


Extend authorities under the Transit-Oriented Communities Act, 2020 (TOC Act) to other provincial transit projects, such as GO Heavy Rail and light rail transit which would be specified in regulation.
  • Amend the TOC Act to extend authority to provide exemptions from the Hearings of Necessity provisions in the Expropriations Act to other provincial transit projects for TOC.
  • Amend the TOC Act to provide authority to enter into new types of commercial arrangements for other provincial transit projects for TOC to the Minister of Transportation and provide the Minister of Transportation with the ability to delegate this authority by regulation to Metrolinx or other government agencies.

Anyone have a sense on what this would mean for GO construction? cc @crs1026
 

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