Metrolinx, province working to find solution for overcrowded Brampton GO line
Rachael D'Amore, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, January 10, 2019 11:43AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2019 8:14PM EST
Recent changes to the Kitchener GO line by the Ford government have led to serious overcrowding issues on some trains and platforms.
Back in December, the Progressive Conservatives announced that a number of morning trains to Union Station that usually begin in Brampton would start to serve Kitchener, Guelph and Acton.
The change, which took effect on Monday, was touted by the government as a service expansion.
Despite the new station stops, additional trains were not added to the line.
The result? Packed platforms, over-capacity trains, and an influx of unhappy commuters.
Videos and photos from riders bearing the brunt of the service changes started popping up on social media during the Monday evening commute.
On Twitter, passengers shared videos of platforms brimming with people, many pushed near the edges of the waiting area. Some posts showed the crammed environment inside of the trains, with riders standing on stairs and in corridors.
At least one user claimed passengers were standing in bathrooms due to the crowds.
“Since this whole thing started, it’s kind of funny now because we’ve realized that ‘code 1033’ is – it’s when someone is sick on the train. So every few minutes we hear ‘code 1033,’” GO rider Nancy Dasilva said.
“Besides the fact that the train is completely packed, we have to stop in the middle of the line, because someone has passed out. People are fanning each other people have iPhone fans, people are giving each other batteries to use. It’s been code 1033 all week.”
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins agrees the overcrowding on the line is dangerous. She said that while a long-term solution is in the works, it may not happen as quickly as riders would like.
In the short term, Aikins said as of Monday morning, two more coaches will be added to the 5:02 p.m. train leaving from Union Station, which will increase capacity on the route by 360 seats.
Additional transit safety officers will also be dispatched to busy platforms to help with crowd management.
“Sometimes this happens when you chance services, you change platforms, you change times… It can be chaotic as people adjust to new schedules. But this (overcrowding) was unusual. That’s why we’re working together to find a solution,” she said
“I don’t have specific news right now but we are working on it and we hope to share that as quickly as possible.”
On Wednesday night, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown wrote an open letter to Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek, accusing the ministry of making the service changes “without consulting Brampton passengers.”
He asked the government to reconsider the cancellation of an express train and to add more coaches to meet the demand.
“The fact this was done in the name of improving GO Transit… Listen, you wouldn’t get a thousand people complaining, calling in to every talk radio, writing to every newspaper if this wasn’t a major mess,” Brown told CTV News Toronto.
“I get this is a new government and mistakes happen, but what is key now is that they correct the mistake."
In response on Thursday, Yurek said the province will “find a solution” to the overcrowding. He said the change has in fact resulted in creating hazardous situations at Mount Pleasant, Brampton and Bramalea stations.
“We are going to see what we have to do expand the number of trains in service and if we have to add another train we will do that,” he told CP24.
Yurek said the government will work with Metrolinx to come up with the best solution.
“I expect a solution to this issue in the next few days,” he said. “We’re not going to sit back and let it continue. “
In the meantime, Metrolinx said they will be keeping a close eye on peak hours on the line.
“Unfortunately when you manage hundreds of trains everyday... Sometimes it can be a little bit of time,” Aikins said.
“We will have a fix in place to ensure people can get to and from Union Station safely.”