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GO Transit: Construction Projects (Metrolinx, various)

I am not sure if this is the right thread for discussing the so called "garage mahals" that Metrolinx has been building but those are construction related so I might as well post here. I never used GO frequently until recently and now I understand why these parking lots are so important for commuters.

I live in the centre of Mississauga and use a bus to connect with GO. If I am using transit, I prefer using it all the way instead of a combination of driving and transit. Of late, buses have been full and drivers don't stop. Yesterday, I had to miss 2 buses because of that and I decided not to wait for the third bus, and I went back home and drove to Cooksville station and still caught my train on time.

On one hand more and more employers are asking people return to office and on the other hand transit agencies have been reducing services. If things continue like that, I may just stop using MiWay and start driving to GO.

For me, driving to GO station already has more benefits:
1. My total trip time is 15 min shorter if I drive to GO vs using bus.
2. My trip time is more reliable because my driving time does not vary by more than 2 minutes but my bus time varies by up to 15 minutes. Milton Line has 30 minute frequency, so it's either 30 min wasted by arriving late, or I have to leave a big margin which means getting 30 min less sleep.
3. Less time spent in cold waiting for buses to go by without stopping.

I live 35 seconds from my bus stop (yes, I timed it) and it can't get better than that. I don't have to change buses to reach GO. If I am feeling that using buses to reach GO is not a smart decision while living in Mississauga and having all those benefits, then how do people living in Aurora or Oshawa or Milton manage to reach their respective GO stations? Mississauga should (and probably does) have the best transit system in all of GTA besides Toronto. It's not only the largest satellite city of Toronto but also the 8th largest city in Canada by itself.

If it's like that living near the centre of Mississauga, can we really blame people for driving to GO station, and can we blame Metrolinx for building gigantic parking lots? How many of those who complain about garage mahals actually live in these areas and use a bus to reach GO? Can you give me one good reason why all those people should not drive to GO? Please don't say climate change or we'll go in a different discussion.
Maybe the GO train should simply go to square one so you don’t need to worry about a bus and you can leave the car at home.
 
If it's like that living near the centre of Mississauga, can we really blame people for driving to GO station, and can we blame Metrolinx for building gigantic parking lots? How many of those who complain about garage mahals actually live in these areas and use a bus to reach GO? Can you give me one good reason why all those people should not drive to GO? Please don't say climate change or we'll go in a different discussion.

You have described an indisputable truth…. driving to GO is so damn convenient, it’s ofter the no-brainer decision. (I do it myself, when I have a reasonable chance of finding parking - which isn’t always).

The other real truth is that surface transit isn’t a picnic. A crowded, lumbering 40-foot low floor transit bus is no paradise, especially if you have to walk the last few hundred meters from the bus stop to your door.

The question is - do you pay a fair amount for what you use, and if you added up the real cost, would you still hand over the dough, or would you say it’s not worth it and choose the less pleasant bus?

For many commuters, whose household own multiple vehicles, their household could eliminate the entire ownership cost of a vehicle if they didn’t drive to GO. That’s a fair chunk of change.

I don’t know why you don’t want to acknowledge climate change - but even setting that aside, gas is expensive, and the infrastructure investment in wider roads, added traffic signals, congestion, etc that is attributable to GO parking lots is also a big ticket item. With everybody so touchy about taxes, if you appreciate how much a parking garage costs, and if you had that cost coming out of the pocket of only those who use the parking…. how would you feel?

Some people say, the car is convenient, and I like it so much I’m happy to pay the taxes to enable it. Even if that’s how you see things…. the roads are full, there is no room to enlarge them, and more and more we have to turn away some drivers because their cars just don’t fit. Again, how much are you willing to pay to occupy that scarce rooad space….. or, what makes your trip so special that you get to use the road and someone else doesn’t? Getting GO riders out of their car and avoiding the parking lot investment creates value ie space on the roads and convenience for others. So far we don’t force people to use transit to reach GO, but why should we spend tax dollars to build big garages when it enables this competition for road space ?

- Paul
 
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Maybe the GO train should simply go to square one so you don’t need to worry about a bus and you can leave the car at home.
I live 2 km north of Square One. Except for people within 1 km of Square One, everyone else will still a bus or a car.
"Garage Mahals" are named that way because theyre just way to big and way too monstrous for simple car parking spaces
One could also say that they were built so large to accommodate future demand. With GO expansion, traffic on GO is expected to rise multifold. But we can't expect multifold improvement in local transit. People will still need to drive their cars and in next 10 years, there will be a lot more of them.

It's still better to have people drive 5 km to GO than having them drive 30 km to their workplace. Downtown is already congested, we don't want to see more cars there.
 
You have described an indisputable truth…. driving to GO is so damn convenient, it’s ofter the no-brainer decision. (I do it myself, when I have a reasonable chance of finding parking - which isn’t always).

The other real truth is that surface transit isn’t a picnic. A crowded, lumbering 40-foot low floor transit bus is no paradise, especially if you have to walk the last few hundred meters from the bus stop to your door.

The question is - do you pay a fair amount for what you use, and if you added up the real cost, would you still hand over the dough, or would you say it’s not worth it and choose the less pleasant bus?

For many commuters, whose household own multiple vehicles, their household could eliminate the entire ownership cost of a vehicle if they didn’t drive to GO. That’s a fair chunk of change.

I don’t know why you don’t want to acknowledge climate change - but even setting that aside, gas is expensive, and the infrastructure investment in wider roads, added traffic signals, congestion, etc that is attributable to GO parking lots is also a big ticket item. With everybody so touchy about taxes, if you appreciate how much a parking garage costs, and if you had that cost coming out of the pocket of only those who use the parking…. how would you feel?

Some people say, the car is convenient, and I like it so much I’m happy to pay the taxes to enable it. Even if that’s how you see things…. the roads are full, there is no room to enlarge them, and more and more we have to turn away some drivers because their cars just don’t fit. Again, how much are you willing to pay to occupy that scarce rooad space….. or, what makes your trip so special that you get to use the road and someone else doesn’t? Getting GO riders out of their car and avoiding the parking lot investment creates value ie space on the roads and convenience for others. So far we don’t force people to use transit to reach GO, but why should we spend tax dollars to build big garages when it enables this competition for road space ?

- Paul
Let me answer your questions point by point.

The question is - do you pay a fair amount for what you use, and if you added up the real cost, would you still hand over the dough, or would you say it’s not worth it and choose the less pleasant bus?

I am open to having more taxes on gas and roads. I am also open to paying a higher fare on transit if that means better services.

I don’t know why you don’t want to acknowledge climate change

You are misinterpreting what I said. I am open to carbon tax and other incentives. But I don't want to be the only one to care for climate and forget about my convenience while everyone else is doing what they like. It is a collective effort and I am willing to make my contribution. Most of the people who own electric cars don't do so for climate change. They do so for cheaper running costs, incentives, higher torque, and cool factor.

if you appreciate how much a parking garage costs, and if you had that cost coming out of the pocket of only those who use the parking…. how would you feel?

GO is already very expensive for a surface level transit. TTC charges $3.20 for underground subway that costs a lot more to build and maintain. If GO fares are expensive even after subsidizing them, then something is wrong somewhere. If you want people not to drive to downtown, you will have to give some incentive. Free parking for example. GO is already slower than 401 in peak hours (I had showed that earlier). GO is infrequent. GO can't offer you personal space that your car can. GO doesn't provide door to door service. For a couple, riding GO is more expensive and driving and parking downtown. As you can see GO is already on a backfoot. Charging for parking means even fewer riders.

Some people say, the car is convenient, and I like it so much I’m happy to pay the taxes to enable it. Even if that’s how you see things…. the roads are full, there is no room to enlarge them, and more and more we have to turn away some drivers because their cars just don’t fit. Again, how much are you willing to pay to occupy that scarce rooad space

Once again I am willing to pay more taxes if that means better transit. Can I unilaterally make government increase taxes and improve transit? No. Can I find other ways that are more convenient for me like driving to GO? Yes.
 
Let me answer your questions point by point.

The question is - do you pay a fair amount for what you use, and if you added up the real cost, would you still hand over the dough, or would you say it’s not worth it and choose the less pleasant bus?

I am open to having more taxes on gas and roads. I am also open to paying a higher fare on transit if that means better services.

I don’t know why you don’t want to acknowledge climate change

You are misinterpreting what I said. I am open to carbon tax and other incentives. But I don't want to be the only one to care for climate and forget about my convenience while everyone else is doing what they like. It is a collective effort and I am willing to make my contribution. Most of the people who own electric cars don't do so for climate change. They do so for cheaper running costs, incentives, higher torque, and cool factor.

if you appreciate how much a parking garage costs, and if you had that cost coming out of the pocket of only those who use the parking…. how would you feel?

GO is already very expensive for a surface level transit. TTC charges $3.20 for underground subway that costs a lot more to build and maintain. If GO fares are expensive even after subsidizing them, then something is wrong somewhere. If you want people not to drive to downtown, you will have to give some incentive. Free parking for example. GO is already slower than 401 in peak hours (I had showed that earlier). GO is infrequent. GO can't offer you personal space that your car can. GO doesn't provide door to door service. For a couple, riding GO is more expensive and driving and parking downtown. As you can see GO is already on a backfoot. Charging for parking means even fewer riders.

I won’t go down the rabbit hole into fare integration - other than to say, yes I think things are very messed up. And politicised in unhealthy ways.
But on a more basic level - if parking garages are part of transit, and transit fares are struck on the basis of some measure of how much one uses, along with some uniform and fair formula for percent of cost recovery, shouldn’t the person who uses an expensive part of the transit service pay a share of the cost of that part?
GO cost recovery for train and bus is high, but say we lower it to 30% cost recovery, ie the user pays 30% of the cost of their GO train seat. Then if they get on the bus, they should pay 30% of the cost of that seat also. And if they choose to drive instead, then they should pay 30% of the cost of their parking spot.

- Paul
 
Maybe the GO train should simply go to square one so you don’t need to worry about a bus and you can leave the car at home.
With the quality of bus service and no fast connection to GO, ppl will drive to a GO Station. There is very little parking at Square One for GO now and will disappear as the lands get redeveloped that ppl will drive to a GO station with parking or spend long time on buses for travel to/from X.

I don't expect to see much travel change like today when the LRT open in 2024/25 and do see more so if the loop gets built.

With all the development plan at Eglinton, I expected most will drive to Cooksville GO than use the LRT do to the time lost going in and out of the Square One Station compare to bypassing it like the 103 does today. I save 12-15 minutes today on a good day using 103 compared to 2 and 17 I would have to use to bypass CCTT today. If and when the Loop gets built, that travel lost will be higher and more so if they split the line like the 19 was a few years.

The best option today is to run an Tram-Train to Sq One station coming off the Milton Line and connecting to the Hurontario Line regardless as been built or a loop. To do it right, an very expensive tunnel line would be have to be built off the Milton Line not only to Sq One, but to reconnect to the line at Creditview and the 403 to offer service from Milton to Sq One as well. Will take over a decade to build that tunnel.

If ppl think driving is bad today, wait until 2040/50 when there will be another 1.5-2 million more cars on the road. Where do you put them as well how long will your driving time be then???
 
GO seems expensive because driving is both artificially and deceptively cheap.
Once you factor in the cost of parking, yearly cost to own the car and paying the gas price, GO is cheaper. For an non car owner, GO is expensive.

25-30% of drivers chose to not use transit period for various reasons with 15% willing to pay higher cost to keep their car on the road if it can remove more cars and able to get them where they want to go faster.

I stand to be corrected, other than TTC and GO, all other systems have a cost recovery of 50% or less to the point an number have real low recovery rate.

There is a movement worldwide of going free transit to the point there are a few places doing this already. An number of places offer real low monthly fares to use transit. Germany last year offer 9 euro monthly fee for all transit systems in a region other than intercity travel. Could be used in any city in Germany that month and go to use it in 2 different cities at a saving of over 100 euro. Today, Germany is doing 49 euro a months with a few systems being as low as 27 and again, no intercity travel allow on the plan. Other places are offering different things.

I do now for a fact that a number of MTO ministers wanted fare integrations since I meet with them, but the cost and how to do was a stumbling block. One wanted to use a flat fare for 3 hours to travel x to y in the GTA around $5 and could be used on local transit at both ends.

The big issue coming down the road for transit systems is the current funding from the gas tax. As we move to electric vehicles, less fuel will be used and reduce the income from it to the point by 2025-40, where is the current funding going to come from when there is very little funds to do it??

I should note that the recommendation of an number of Roundtable meeting government wise has been on was the removal of GO parking and changing a fare to park period the were supported by the ministers, but rejected by the cabinet.
 
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Once you factor in the cost of parking, yearly cost to own the car and paying the gas price, GO is cheaper. For an non car owner, GO is expensive.

Not to mention the societal cost of cars that car drivers ultimately pay for with taxes but don't realize like infrastructure repair and mitigating the effects of climate change. A single occupancy vehicle on the highway is doing much more infrastructure damage then somebody on a reasonably full train. On the carbon emissions side even a big (Tier 4) diesel train is more efficient per person then then that one person in their car. Electric trains will be even better of course. People who don't drive or drive rarely subsidize drivers because they also pay taxes but don't use any of the inefficient infrastructure drivers use, and don't pollute the atmosphere as much.
 
I don't see many outer suburbs getting robust local bus service, good enough to replace cars. Not in this century at least.

Brampton is closing in on that, and if they delivered on past service plan promises, kept up w/demand growth, and extended Zum to a couple more routes, along with delivering the Queen BRT and Hurontario LRT, I think they'd be there, maybe in only a decade.

Admittedly, others are further behind, some, by quite a bit. But surely, I would nope, not a century.....we can bring them all up to snuff by 2050!
 
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Brampton is closing in on that, and if they delivered on past service plan promises, kept up w/demand growth, and extended Zum to a couple more routes, along with delivering the Queen BRT and Hurontario LRT, I think they'd be there, maybe in a only a decade.

Admittedly, others are further behind, some, by quite a bit. But surely, I would nope, not a century.....we can bring them all up to snuff by 2050!
Giving where Brampton used to be for bus service and where ii is today, it running circles around Mississauga starting with the transit director who was 2nd in command at Mississauga transit. She who knew more the the GM did given he was a bean counter in the first place. Where Brampton is today and trying to see 70 years out, Brampton does stand a better chance of getting ppl out of the cars than the other cities in the 905. Mississauga has already miss the boat doing so a decade ago. 2050 will be a telling point when Brampton will hit the mark as too much can happen between now and 2050 let alone 2100..

At least Brampton has over a 20% model ratio for Transit compare to Mississauga 15% that has change 2% in the last 18 years so far. I have no comparisons to ridership for Brampton and Mississauga to say who using go more using GO, but wouldn't surprise me if Brampton is ahead on this considering they have less stations than Mississauga.

Good quality of service is based on densities and having it in only certain areas is not going to do much city wide for it, along with a road systems.
 
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^Those rolls of geotextile have been sitting in that location at the north end of the platform since the completion of the GTS work in 2014-2015.

The stuff doesn't rot, so I guess that's as good a place as any to store it.

One project's castoffs are the next project's strategically staged materials inventory, I guess.

- Paul
 

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