Bramalea GO Transit bus loop on the move again before finding the home it deserves

For a place where buses come to a stop, the boarding loop at Bramalea Station sure does a lot of moving around. Here is how shifting the place where passengers get on and off their GO and Brampton Transit buses is actually designed to save time in construction and help riders down the road. It’s also a bit of interesting project planning.

There are many names for those that move around a lot: vagabond, nomad, transient, or wanderer.  

Whatever moniker you choose, the bus loop at Bramalea GO Station fits the bill of being restless as it shifts homes.

Image shows the bus loop.
To bus loop at Bramalea GO Station is undergoing more changes, to ultimately help GO customers. (Brian Main photo)

Station improvements started at the major station on the Kitchener Line in spring of 2018.

In order to make way for construction of the new station building, and a 2,059 spot parking garage, in 2019 most (10 of 12) bus platforms temporarily moved to the west side of the station next to the passenger pick-up and drop-off area).

This interim home would ultimately become one of two revitalized bus loops at the station. Both GO and Brampton Transit relocated their services to the new loop and articulated – the accordion-style – Züm bus routes continued to be accommodated on the street adjacent to the station.

Read about this first move here.

Following the completion of both the station building and parking garage in September construction continued at the station, including the demolition of the original station building. Once this area was clear, work started on the future permanent location of the new bus bays featuring continuous covered canopies, a bicycle shelter, and vendor space.

Then COVID had an impact.

During this transition, pandemic-related material shortages started to affect the construction schedule and push the project delivery dates back. To help claw back some of this delay, the delivery team worked closely with project partners to develop a unique phasing option that would help to put the schedule back on track.

The team’s proposal was to temporarily move the bus terminal, again, to eliminate an entire phase, save costs, and regain some days in the delivery schedule.

The team would move away from the original plan to complete the continuous bus canopy that will stretch from the station building to the new entrance to the west tunnel, which was originally to be completed in two stages, now to be completed in one.

This allowed the team to immediately start to construct the future surface parking lot. Now complete, the parking lot had some curbs and a few paint lines put in place to create the new temporary home of the Bramalea bus loop and associated boarding platforms.

Up next, another move.

Work continues to prepare the future home of the permanent bus bays on the south side of the station building. This work is expected to be complete late this winter or early spring, and then, once again – for the last time – bus service will move to the permanent bus boarding platforms location.

The current temporary bus loop will be cleared and repainted to become additional surface-level parking. The new and improved set up keeps cars and buses separated on their own roadways within the station, making it safer for everyone.

It’s a bit complicated, but it’ll lead to finding a permanent place where riders can get on and off their buses all while staying covered while connecting to their next destination.

In fact, when the project is complete, two new bus loops with dedicated Züm platforms will serve the station – one on the east and the other on the west side of the new station building.

Improved bus bays will also allow for increased service, and new traffic signals on Steeles Avenue and Bramalea Road will ensure all vehicles can exit the station safely and efficiently.

Who says vagabonds can’t finally find a home to settle down in?

Story by Stacey Kenny, Metrolinx senior advisor, Communications and Stakeholder Relations