May 17, 2002

GO Transit improvements benefit commuters across York Region


NEWMARKET Projects recently approved by the GO Transit Board will help York Region alleviate gridlock and congestion, says Bill Fisch, Chair and Chief Executive Officer for the Regional Municipality of York.

The projects include a new Smartcard fare collection system pilot project on the Richmond Hill Line, plus new construction and renovation projects in the City of Vaughan and the Town of Aurora.

"York Region is committed to reducing gridlock, and an expanding GO Transit system will benefit our residents and businesses," said Chair Fisch. "Public and rapid transit, in tandem with enhanced Provincial, Regional and municipal roads, are all critical elements in transportation planning."

GO Transit is replacing its current optical fare collection system with a Smartcard-based program. Experience gained from the Richmond Hill Line pilot will be used to deploy the Smartcards across the entire GO Transit system.

Smartcard equipment will be replaced at all four Richmond Hill Stations, at Union Station for Richmond Hill passengers and on 15 GO Buses providing train-bus and feeder service. Fare integration service will also be accomplished by equipping 26 York Region Transit buses with Smartcard readers.

"The Smartcard pilot is an encouraging program," said Richmond Hill Mayor Bill Bell. "I look forward to good results for our riders."

GO Transit has also approved a contract worth more than $1 million to expand the Aurora GO Station parking lot. This will include a platform extension and pedestrian track crossing. With the 450-space parking lot currently operating at 140 per cent capacity, the work will add an additional 180 spaces to the west parking lot.

Construction will begin next month and should be complete by the end of October.

"The improvements at the Aurora GO Station is excellent news for our local commuters," said Town of Aurora Mayor Tim Jones. "The expansion will help alleviate parking congestion."

GO Transit will also construct a new York University Station on the Bradford Line. Located south of Steeles Avenue, the station will benefit many York Region commuters. York University has agreed to provide a shuttle bus from the station to the school campus.

Construction will be completed in time for the World Youth Day event in late July, and help serve people billeted at York University for the event. Final work, including lighting and landscaping, will be complete by September.

In addition, GO Transit also approved the purchase of 11 lift-equipped 45-foot highway buses, worth nearly $6.4 million. Funds have been provided in the 2002 GO Transit capital budget.

On a typical weekday, GO's trains and buses carry more than 160,000 people the equivalent of 133,000 car trips. GO Transit expects to move 46 million passengers this year. For more information on GO Transit, visit their Web site at

For more information on the Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit our Web site at

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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