Low ridership leads to further cuts in GO Transit services

With far fewer customers riding buses and trains, Metrolinx announced that it is making more changes to GO Transit schedules.

“A recent 15 per cent reduction in rail services did not adequately address the impact of the latest wave of the virus, which interrupted what was looking like a slow return to some travel normalcy,” spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said in a media release.

The impact of the weather is also leading into a planned temporary adjustment of GO Transit service. The recent winter storm has seen an impact on many customer trips this week.

Aikins said this is not a unique situation. Metrolinx, like many other transit companies and businesses around the globe, is experiencing significantly reduced ridership, as well as an impact on staffing, due to the Omicron variant.

GO Transit ridership had grown throughout the summer and fall of 2021. However, ridership began to rapidly fall at the end of 2021 through this part of 2022, as illness levels grew, and is currently approximately 10 to 12 per cent of pre-pandemic levels – a very similar level of ridership seen during the early days of the pandemic in 2020.

This additional reduction of rail service is 47 per cent below Metrolinx’s peak service levels in October, stated Aikins.

Although the decrease in customers – as well as the impact of Omicron on transit staff – is temporary, Metrolinx says it is working hard during this challenging time to provide reliable services, and match service levels to passenger levels. 

Customers can stay in the know about schedule changes, cancellations and trip adjustments by signing up for On The GO Alerts or checking their bus or train line’s Twitter handle. Customers should check ahead before leaving home, as trips are routinely adjusted.

The transport agency said it will be closely monitoring ridership, staff availability and public health advice and will make adjustments to service as required. 

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