Riders flock to first Niagara weekend GO trains

The return of Niagara weekend GO service is being hailed as another example of Ontario recovering from the pandemic – and travelling for fun again. Here’s how well that first weekend went, as customers now plan for weekends to come.

Word travels fast.

Especially if it’s the reintroduction of weekend GO Transit rail service to Niagara Falls.

The return of the service proved to be a hit with transit riders, many taking their bikes on board. The transit agency says the journeys signal a positive sign of recovery, after more than a year of many people staying put.

Riders step aboard a Niagara GO train on the first weekend.
Riders step aboard a Niagara GO train on the first weekend. (Metrolinx photo)

Metrolinx recently announced the return of the popular summer GO train service to Niagara Falls with its bike coaches.

After a long break as riders heeded public health advice and stayed close to home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular weekend GO Transit train service to Niagara Falls started June 26. In spite of its growing popularity over the years, it was difficult to predict how quickly riders would come back after so many people have been away from transit for 15 months.

More than 200 riders, with 20 bikes, caught the first train that arrived in Niagara Falls on June 26 – all welcomed by Metrolinx staff awaiting the return of customers. There were many families out for a first big trip and groups of bike riders on tours. Travellers adhered to the mandatory mask policy and returning customers would have noticed the new protective dividers between seats.

Image shows bikes aboard the train
Plenty of riders took their bikes along. (Metrolinx photo)

After departing Union Station– many customers on their first transit trip since March 2020 – riders continued to board at Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington, Aldershot and St. Catharines stations.

Four trains left Toronto’s Union Station for Niagara last Saturday and Sunday, all making good on-time performance. And four trains returned later in the day from Niagara Falls with some riders staying overnight in the Falls.

Ridership, both inbound and outbound over the course of the weekend, was a little less than an average busy Niagara weekend – average during non-pandemic years, which is a positive sign of recovery.

When the local WEGO service starts up again later in July, tickets will include both the GO train fare and the convenient hop-on, hop-off bus, which reaches Niagara Parks’ Table Rock Centre as well as hotels and other Niagara Falls attractions.

In the meantime, Niagara Region Transit is providing similar bus service that is also included in the ticket price.

Image shows a dog on the train.
It wasn’t just humans who made the trip to Niagara Fall on GO. (Metrolinx photo)

The next Niagara Falls bike train is scheduled on Canada Day, July 1 and again July 3 and July 4 weekend. And remember kids are free and those pandemic puppies who don’t like to be left alone are welcome aboard too.

Missed that first story? Here it is:

Story by Anne Marie Aikins, head of Metrolinx Media and Public Relations