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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

GO Transit doesn't provide a major benefit of transit — taking cars off the road

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.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I live in oshawa and take the bus home. Sometimes drt sometimes go. Either way it's 35 mins from the time the train gets in to when I walk into my house. Driving it would take 7 mins (not including time to actually get out of the parking lot). The walk from the bus to my house is 5 mins...

Anonymous said...

What most people ignore is your key point "not including the time to get out of the go parking lot". Depending on train, I may take 35+ to get to Hwy 115/35. without the parking lot...less than 20!

But bus isn't an option for me. Too far, too long. However I do mitigate by driving to Whitby as opposed to Oshawa to avoid the Shwa lot from hell...

Bob Loblaw said...

I'm glad Metrolinx is taking ownership of the last mile. If they don't - who will? It's no use running speedy trains and then building massive parking lots. The objective needs to be getting as many commuter vehicles off the road as possible, that includes the dinky rides to and from the station. BIXI anyone?

Ashwin said...

I live south of Bloor in Courtice and have no problem with the DRT 922 bus both from the GO station or from home. I don't think it does any loop, at least not at my stop. Just too bad that sometime it leaves right away when the train arrives and you have 30 minutes for the next one if you don't run for it. The parking situation in Oshawa is hell in Oshawa; they should have built a ramp on Thorton so the cars can go directly in and out of the station to the 401 like in Whitby. My wife would come pick me up directly at the station if need be but the 922 is excellent and 411 to the Oshawa Centre is equally great so much that we only have one car for the house.

C.J. Smith said...

The 922 doesn't work because of exactly what you said for me.

In the evening, I need to connect to another bus which does loop, meaning I go far north, then come back south, when really I am only 3 km west from home from where I would exit the 922 and catch the 411.

I've looked at alternative ways home using Durham Transit and each option is over an hour. The 90 from Oshawa GO is the only route that gets me home under 30 minutes.

Ashwin said...

You mean the 922 is an issue because it leaves too early from Oshawa station? I wish it waits at least 7-10 minutes after the train arrives. It seems like it makes a point to leave just as the train arrives and makes people feel angry for missing it. An email to DRT didn't change anything. But it is still better than the long walk to the car and the wait to get out of the parking lot.

C.J. Smith said...

It doesn't connect to the train I take. I'd have to sit at the station for 20 minutes. As well, I have to get off at Townline and Bloor and wait for the 411 (another 10 minutes), then I have to ride the 411 all the way up to Nash Road and back down again to get to the stop near my house. All and all it means an hour and 22 minutes to get home from the time I exit the train compared to 27 minutes if I take the 90 and get picked up from the corner.

Ashwin said...

Oh I see. Yes this area of Courtice is basically on the wrong side of the loop when going back home. Hopefully as more houses are built south-west of Courtice Rd-King St, they will realign the route to remove the loop.