Province announces a program to convince you to take the GO train - while you are actually in your car on the QEW.

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

October 14th, 2016



Not quite sure how to take this announcement from our provincial government – let’s see what you think.

GO train schedules are going to be displayed on highway signs telling commuters when the next train is leaving and how much time you have to get there.

Ontario is introducing a year-long pilot that will use electronic highway signs to show drivers nearby transit information and promote alternative travel options, to help manage congestion and get people where they’re going sooner.


The province appears prepared to go to ridiculous lengths to get you to use the GO trains

On October 17, a sign will be installed on the QEW near Appleby GO station displaying information about upcoming GO train trips departing from that station. The information will factor in the time it takes to drive there, park and catch the next available train. By the end of the year, the pilot will expand to Bronte and Oakville GO stations.

Let me see if I understand this. I am in my car on the QEW, heading east for an appointment or maybe driving to the Rogers Stadium to watch a baseball game. And the sign on the highway is supposed to convince me to hang a right and head for the GO station and take the train instead. Did I get that right?

The media release doesn’t say how much the province is spending on this initiative – nor do they make any mention about how they will measure the success of the idea.

This one has the look and feel of the road diet we put New Street on.

Where do these ideas come from?

Is there something in the water we drink?

Maybe I misunderstood the purpose of this project.


While there may be close to 3000 parking spots – finding an empty one can b a challenge at times.

Reminding me that the GO train is a very good alternative, perhaps even better than driving to get me to the stadium to watch the ball game – and if you know anything about parking prices in Toronto – it is a better alternative.

Telling me that this is a better alternative while I am already in the car. I don’t know about me changing my mind just like that.

The media release did tell me that the Appleby GO station has 2,964 parking spaces. As part of the pilot, technologies will be evaluated that determine real-time parking availability at GO stations. This information could also be displayed on the signs.

The two Jane’s going after the Progressive Conservative nomination to be the candidate for that party are going to have a field day with this one.

Jane McKenna and Jane Micheal have announced they are going after the nomination.getting new - yellow

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12 comments to Province announces a program to convince you to take the GO train – while you are actually in your car on the QEW.

  • astheworldturns

    I would love to see your data vs all the times that I have had a refund for delayed morning and afternoon trips…it is NOT 90% on time!! Your data must be like Trumps polls that don’t count. Also, the delays from the west end have nothing to do with Union Station renovations. Case in point…this morning’s 7:09AM was delayed to 7:19 and considering that GO Transit is very poor at informing its riders as to the reason for delays (plural)..I can’t imagine the highway signage would be any better on providing actual life information…simply because there are two different public authorities which we know …left arm never knows what right arm is doing!

  • Chris Ariens

    FYI…just to be sure about the 90% on-time performance, I searched for data and found this…

  • astheworldturns

    Obviously, you are not a daily GO rider!! If you were you would know that the trains are regularly (almost daily) delayed. You can not count on the schedule. You can not plan meetings or appointments. It has been one of the worst years for delays…it’s public knowledge. So this Government idea is about as pathetic as the New St lanes. Frankly, it’s the other way around…do you know how many times I rush to the station early AM, find a parking spot…just to look at the board and realize that the train is going to be late again. That’s when I think the reverse…should I get back into my car and drive to Toronto. GO has us by the you know what!!

    • Chris Ariens

      @astheworldturns: I am a daily GO rider. I have noticed an increase in delays, and the schedule (particularly home-bound after 5:30) is not as good as it was a couple of years ago. But still at least 90% of the time the trains run on schedule. That’s good enough for me, if I have to be in for a meeting early I leave early.

      Many of the issues are a result of the ongoing construction at Union Station, which is an extremely complex and expensive project, which creates bottlenecks when everyone’s trying to get from the train to the office, and back onto the trains in the evening. It’s a bit of a mess right now, but should improve next year when the bulk of the construction is complete.

      If the QEW provides a better level of service and has fewer delays (which I highly doubt), maybe these signs won’t be as effective at getting cars off the highway. Then again, knowing that the train is delayed from a sign on the QEW would also be of benefit to you as a driver – as you could avoid rushing in when the train is late, and stay in your car the rest of the way. Maybe that’s not the benefit the government intended, but it is something that would have considerable value for a time-starved commuter.

  • Walter

    The picture shown is old as there is another parking lot now to the east of the lot on the northern side.
    This lot has always had parking available whenever I used the Appleby station.

  • Chris Ariens

    Actually this makes a lot of sense. Signs don’t cost a lot of money. The people who drive the QEW every day will see the signs every day telling them that the nearby GO train will get them to their destination faster.

    They won’t all switch, but over time some will. This means more paying customers for GO, and less traffic for those that are unable or unwilling to make the switch. It may have a small impact, but the cost is also small. Might as well give it a try – better than automatically naysaying every attempt to do something about the congestion on the QEW.

  • Citybiker

    Bring your bike on the train. Ride to station. Ride to final destination. Folders required during rush hour.

  • Matthew

    It probably won’t work for the one-off trips that you describe. But if you’re commuting and see it every day, it’ll act as a nudge to get you to at least try transit. And you’ll have some idea of what to expect when you do. It’s an interesting idea and probably doesn’t cost much. Let’s give it a chance.

    Regarding SteveW’s comment – I’m a regular GO commuter too. They had some reliability issues in the early summer right after the new schedule started, but they seem to be back on track now. It’s not like the roads are completely free of delays!

  • penny Hersh

    Government at all levels make foolish decisions……Like the “road diet” in Burlington.

  • SteveW

    I take the Go Train every day and have done since 2003. I previously road the train from 1992-1995. In all those years I have watched it grow tremendously and successfully. Initially I had to transfer to a bus from Oakville to get to Burlington but now … pretty well a train every 15 minutes during rush hour and every 30 minutes thereafter. The service WAS fantastic BUT … has deteriorated significantly in the last year. There is very limited parking now after 9 am at most Go Train stations. The trains have been made shorter by two cars, and some removed completely form the schedule under the premise of the construction at Union. I can understand removing trains but making them shorter is not valid when the platforms are reduced in size. Now each train is standing room only by the time it gets to Oakville and sometimes you can’t get in at all. There are now very frequent delays due to switch problems, operational problems, trespassers, medical issues, police investigations, and door issues. People who may be considering taking the Go Train now for the first time are in for a nasty shock. Can’t wait to retire myself.

  • James

    Yet another Wynne’ing idea by our Provincial Government, constantly on the lookout for new ways to spend maximum money on minimal results. I just have to shake my head. The current Provincial and Federal Governments are an absolute joke. It’s no longer about political parties for me. Liberal, Conservative, NDP… I really don’t care anymore. All I want is for someone in charge to think long and hard before spending my tax dollars, and make sure we’re getting the most bang for the buck. Is that too much to ask? Ideas like this should have been shot down at the very first meeting where they were brought up, with the person that thought of the idea subject to ridicule and scorn by his or her co-workers. Come on already!! Is this the best we can do? I’d appeal to the Federal Government for help, but Mr. Trudeau is probably on his private plane tweeting wide-grinned selfies with Syrian refugees eating a $1,300 per person airplane meal that we paid for. My God, when will this wasteful spending end???

  • Robert Missen

    Hmm. Let me see. I have arrived at those huge Appleby lots only to find them completely full, or having to spend a great deal of time ferreting out a space. The other huge problem for me is getting from Union Station to meetings throughout the city, and having to transfer two, sometimes three times on various TTC vehicles. Then there is the unpredictability of that service…