It's still a choice, and not an easy one, in the suburbs of Toronto, to give up a car. It can be even harder to do if the town or municipality you're living in has woefully inadequate transit service. I live in South Courtice, land of three- to four car families. We own one. Local bus service doesn't start until 6:30 am and the Durham Transit bus that winds its way through the subdivisions can result in a long walk for many. And if you live south of Bloor Street, you're facing a 3 to 4 kilometre walk to a GO bus stop if you need transit service before 6:30 am. If you drive, it's 13 minutes to the Oshawa GO station. If you take a bus, it's double that. And that doesn't include your walking commute to the bus stop. I'm lucky. I live north of Bloor.
Transit planning experts call what we do to get home from a GO station "the last mile". Incredulously, the route I take to the GO station in the morning is not the same route I take home. It doesn't exist. The local buses travel only in one direction, which means they "loop". So if I wanted to find my way back to the corner bus stop I left in the morning, I would have to endure a 1 hour and 23 minute long bus ride through most of Oshawa and down from the north end of Courtice. No thanks. So I take a GO bus home from the station and my husband picks me up from Highway 2. My time for the trip home from the GO station clocks in under 27 minutes. If he's unavailable, I walk two kilometers home. Everybody I know, who lives in Courtice and takes the GO train, drives to and from the station. I used to know two other people who chose not to drive but they've both since moved.
The "last mile" (a term), popular among transportation planners, describes the dilemma posed by transit systems that are able to move people over longer trips, but offer few solutions for carrying passengers the relatively short distances between transit hubs and commuters’ homes or destinations.
The Toronto Star has more on this issue.