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Metrolinx reducing GO Transit services "due to COVID-19 staff requirements", January 10



As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 spreads into communities, Metrolinx is mitigating temporary labour shortages by reducing GO Transit’s schedule, starting Monday, January 10.

Like many other organizations, GO is experiencing increasing numbers of staff absences due to the Omicron variant. Absenteeism levels vary by department and by the day, but, front-line teams for the transit agency are now averaging 20 to 30 per cent fewer people each day. This means fewer employees are available to operate trains, to drive buses, to maintain and clean the vehicles or to make sure they can adequately protect passengers.

GO explains,

“Our priority is to provide a consistent level of service that customers can depend on. We know [passengers] travelling with us rely on our lifeline service to get where they need to go, safely. To make the best use of our resources, we have strategically decreased service across the network. While these changes are temporary, we do appreciate your understanding and patience during this challenging time. We will continue to closely monitor staffing levels and ridership and will provide as much notice as possible if additional changes to our service are required.”

Since this variant is transmitting rapidly from person to person, Metrolinx expects the absenteeism level to continue to increase over the next few weeks, so, the transit agency says, proactive mitigation measures are necessary to protect critical transit services. Metrolinx is decreasing service across the network by approximately 15 per cent. Whenever possible, it will maintain hourly frequency or better.

According to Metrolinx, its staff are being very strategic to spread out the cancellations across the system and will do their best to protect new services and maintain GO bus routes as much as possible. It’s not changing 30-minute UP Express service.

Unfortunately, it may not always be able to replace the trains that it cancels with buses, because the large number of absentees affects every part of the organization.

However, Metrolinx expects that ridership during this period will remain small as students attend virtual classes and people work from home. It will continue to monitor ridership, staff availability and public health advice and adjust services as necessary.


GO is decreasing service along these train lines: 01 Lakeshore West; 09 Lakeshore East; 21 Milton; 31 Kitchener; 61 Richmond Hill; 65 Barrie; 71 Stouffville.

It’s also decreasing service along these bus routes: 12 Niagara Falls / Burlington; 30 Kitchener / Brampton express; 31 Guelph / Georgetown / Toronto; 33 Guelph / Georgetown / North York; 37 Orangeville / Brampton; 38 Bolton / Mississauga; 70 Uxbridge / Stouffville / Markham; 71 Stouffville / Toronto.

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Trains


65 Barrie
  • Mondays to Fridays during rush hours, trains operate every 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Mondays to Fridays from about 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., trains operate every hour between Aurora GO Station and Union Station.
  • To accommodate these changes, GO is adjusting the schedules, with some trains leaving 15 minutes earlier or later than usually.
  • The last northbound train Mondays to Fridays ends its trip in Bradford GO Station.
  • GO isn’t changing weekend service.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).

31 Kitchener
  • Mondays to Fridays during rush hours, GO is converting express trains to local trains, meaning they drop off or pick up passengers in all stations on the line.
  • Rush-hour trains operate trains every 30 to 45 minutes between Georgetown GO Station and Union Station and about every hour between Kitchener GO Station and Union.
  • The eastbound train that usually starts in London VIA Rail Station at 5:20 a.m. starts, instead, at 5:27 a.m. It drops off or picks up passengers in all stations on the line as much as seven minutes later than usually. It ends its trip in Union at 9:28 a.m.
  • The westbound train that usually leaves Union at 4:19 p.m. leaves, instead, at 4:34 p.m. It drops off or picks up passenger in all stations as much as 15 minutes later than usually. It ends its trip in London at 8:39 p.m.
  • Mondays to Fridays from about 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and after about 7 p.m., trains operate every hour between Union and Mount Pleasant GO Station. GO is adjusting bus service so that passengers can connect with the trains.
  • GO is cancelling the westbound train that usually leaves Union Station at 10:34 p.m. to Guelph Central GO Station. The last westbound train of the evening leaves at 9:34 p.m., dropping off or picking up passengers in all stations to Kitchener.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).

09 Lakeshore East
  • Mondays to Fridays before about 7 p.m., trains continue to operate every 15 to 30 minutes.
  • GO is reducing some Monday-to-Friday evening service, with trains operating every 30 minutes. GO is adjusting schedules to maintain a consistent service.
  • It’s not changing weekend service.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).

01 Lakeshore West
  • Mondays to Fridays during rush hours, GO is converting express trains to local trains, meaning they drop off or pick up passengers in all stations on the line.
  • Trains operate every 15 to 30 minutes between Aldershot GO Station and Union Station during rush hours, every 30 minutes from about 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and hourly during all other times.
  • Trains operate hourly between West Harbour GO Station and Union.
  • During rush hours, extra trains operate in the peak direction between Hamilton GO Centre and Union — four eastbound trains during morning rush hours and four westbound afternoons.
  • To accommodate these changes, GO is adjusting some schedules, with some trains leaving stations as much as 42 minutes earlier or 25 minutes later than usually.
  • GO is cancelling weekend train service to and from Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. It’s replacing trains with buses along the 12 Niagara Falls / Burlington route. Buses aboard buses along route 12 can connect with 01 Lakeshore West trains at Burlington GO Station.
  • GO is also operating an extra eastbound bus along the temporary 12E branch of the route to replace the last train of the night Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The bus operates express — without stopping — between Niagara Falls and Burlington GO Station, then drops off or picks up passengers at Oakville and Port Credit GO stations and Union Station Bus Terminal.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).

21 Milton
  • Mondays to Fridays during morning rush hours, eastbound trains operate every 30 to 45 minutes.
  • GO is cancelling the westbound trains that usually leaves Union Station at 6:25 p.m.
  • Westbound trains operate every 45 minutes for most of the afternoon rush hour. Since GO is cancelling the 6:25 p.m. train to Milton GO, a gap of one hour and 15 minutes occurs between the last two trains of the evening.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).

61 Richmond Hill
  • Mondays to Fridays during rush hours, trains operate every hour between Bloomington GO Station and Union Station.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).

71 Stouffville trains
  • Mondays to Fridays during rush hours, trains operate every 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Mondays to Fridays from about 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. and after 7 p.m., trains operate every hour between Mount Joy GO Station and Union Station.
  • GO is replacing the last northbound train that usually leaves Union at 12:14 a.m. to Old Elm GO Station with bus service. The last northbound train leaves Union Station at 11:14 p.m.
  • GO is adjusting bus service so that passengers can connect with the trains.
  • It’s not changing weekend service.

You can view the new schedules for the line here (.pdf).


Buses


38 Bolton / Mississauga
  • GO is adjusting the schedules so that passengers can connect with GO trains along the 31 Kitchener line at Malton GO Station.

You can view the new schedules for the route here (.pdf).

33 Guelph / Georgetown / North York
31 Guelph / Georgetown / Toronto
  • GO is adjusting the schedules so that passengers can connect with GO trains along the 31 Kitchener line at various GO stations.

You can view the new schedules for the routes here (.pdf).

30 Kitchener / Brampton express
  • GO is adjusting the schedules so that passengers can connect with GO trains along the 31 Kitchener line at Bramalea GO Station.

You can view the new schedules for the route here (.pdf).

12 Niagara Falls / Burlington
  • GO is operating an extra eastbound bus along the temporary 12E branch of the route to replace the last train of the night Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. The bus operates express — without stopping — between Niagara Falls and Burlington GO Station, then drops off or picks up passengers at Oakville and Port Credit GO stations and Union Station Bus Terminal.

You can view the new schedules for the route here (.pdf).

37 Orangeville / Brampton
  • GO is adjusting the schedules so that passengers can connect with GO trains along the 31 Kitchener line at Brammpton GO Station.

You can view the new schedules for the route here (.pdf).

70 Uxbridge / Stouffville / Markham
  • GO is extending some buses to operate to and from Mount Joy GO Station to replace train service along the 71 Stouffville line.
  • GO is also adjusting the schedules for some buses so that passengers can connect with the trains.

You can view the new schedules for the route here (.pdf).

71 Stouffville / Toronto
  • GO is operating a new northbound bus along the route to replace the last Monday-to-Friday train along the 71 Stouffville line.
  • The train leaves Union Station Bus Terminal at 12:16 a.m. and ends its trip in Old Elm GO Station at 1:16 a.m.

You can view the new schedules for the route here (.pdf).