GO Transit is getting rid of bottlenecks on the newest platforms at Union Station. Riders using the rail hub’s southernmost tracks have experienced heavy crowding ever since trains began stopping there earlier this year.
It seems GO thought single doors at each stairwell would be sufficient. Instead customers lined up to squeeze through one at a time — often exposed to rain.
Metro readers said security was increased to make sure no one crossed the tracks for other exits. Last week I asked about the status of the doors, and GO spokeperson Vanessa Thomas confirmed the bottlenecks are being fixed.
She tells In Transit, “GO Transit’s decision to install double doors on platforms 26 and 27 will add more width for passengers to access the stairs.” Even before the new doors arrive, the busiest portals are being widened.
GO is also encouraging passengers to try alternate exits along Bay and York Streets — exits that are supposedly less crowded. Some riders may be shunning the Bay and York “Teamways” (named for old freight passageways that have been remodelled) in favour of their usual paths to work.
Union Station is undergoing a massive, multi-year expansion — imagine your house being renovated while you’re living in it. This means GO and TTC staff had better become adept in helping users find new ways through the rail depot.
This applies to the subway and light rail platforms, which will also be rebuilt.
Major changes are coming and we may have to break years-old habits when rushing for trains. Add in extensive track work across the rail network and GO is going to have to answer a lot of complaints — in a full and timely way.
Margaret Fay of Oakville points out how GO can do a better job informing customers during the mega-rebuild. She writes, “The escalator that should service platforms 4 and 5 has been out of service for 20 months now! The first three to four months were for ‘regular maintenance’ and then the notices conveniently disappeared and someone said they were replacing the escalator with a stairway! Well — 20 months down the road —we have neither!”
GO does plan to replace escalators at many stations with stairs, for cost and safety reasons it appears.
Ms. Thomas reports new entrances from Bay Street are opening soon and platforms 4 and 5 should be fully accessible by late fall. She did not explain the two-year wait.