Connecting You: Taking Service to the Next LevelApril 18, 2018
Whenever Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster is on a train or a bus, he walks up and down the aisle and asks customers what they like and what they don’t like about their GO experience.
“The first response is one of shock,” Verster jokes. “Who’s this madman walking towards me?”
But when people get over that shock, the answers are largely the same.
“It’s always Wi-Fi and it’s always capacity,” Verster says. “What are you going to do so we don’t have to stand on trains in the morning?”
Customers want a better experience on transit. They want to not only be connected to the people, places and things that matter to them the most, but they want the experience on board the buses and the trains to be a good experience.
Metrolinx has that focus, too.
The Wi-Fi passengers want? A trial is underway this Spring, with the goal to roll the service out across the network as soon as possible.
More room on trains and buses? An absolute must as the demand for our service grows. The GO Expansion plan isn’t just coming, it’s already begun. We’ve increased GO train service by more than 70 percent since 2013, adding more than 800 train trips every week. Metrolinx is transforming the existing GO rail system from a commuter-focused service into a two-way, all-day service on core segments of the network.
“It’s happening,” Verster said, adding all the construction you see will take the service to the next level. “We are putting things in the ground now, and it will be transformational.”
And the focus we have is every second is important in your commute. Our plan includes level boarding, not having to step up and down from the platform. That means all our trains will be accessible for all passengers. We will also save time on every stop because it’ll be quicker to get on and off the train, and the train won’t have to stop at an exact point to meet the accessible platform.
Electrification will mean our trains are quieter, better for the environment and can accelerate quicker, and that will improve and speed up your ride, too.
And when you arrive at the station to head home, your groceries can be waiting there at the station for you, thanks to our new partnership with Loblaw to bring you PC Express.
As an added bonus, the recent provincial budget signalled a move to lower GO fares to $3 within the City of Toronto, and for trips less than 10 kms. And we’re moving to a system where fares are integrated as you pass seamlessly over borders.
This is all tied together with PRESTO. With more 1.3 million customers using the PRESTO system every month in the GTHA and Ottawa, customers get the lowest fare, taking advantage of discounts while moving across participating transit systems in the region, including bus, streetcar, train and subway routes.
With the growing ridership, we also know we have a capacity issue at our stations. Our parking lots are very popular. Maybe too popular! We are putting an emphasis on how people access our stations without depending on their cars.
Journeys don’t begin when you first step foot on a bus or train – they begin the moment you leave your home. We are working to provide better options and connections to transit stations in the GTHA.
We are encouraging and enabling easier active and sustainable travel options, like walking, cycling, and carpooling.
On top of this all, as we work on growing our existing bus and rail system through the introduction of projects like GO Expansion, and the Eglinton Crosstown, Hurontario, and Hamilton LRTs, we aim to make the planning and construction work as easy as possible for our customers through our community relations teams. Working to identify and respond to issues, and mitigating against construction impacts for our existing and future customers on these and all of our routes is always top of mind.
In the end, it’s all about making our system the best it can be for our customers – getting you there better, faster, and easier – and creating a transit network that will seamlessly connect the people of this region for generations to come. We are working together with you to create meaningful connections, both in the way we choose to move and the way we plan and build. After all, its people who are at the heart of transit!
Metrolinx has partnered with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce for a series of three guest blogs.