BMO Field and Ontario Place are just steps away from the Exhibition GO Station, making them easy to access by transit. But prior to the pandemic, some fans were concerned about post-game crowding at the station. Now, Metrolinx is making it easier for people to get through the station and catch their trains home.
After a game at BMO Field or a concert at Ontario Place, there has always been one challenge standing between you and a comfortable ride home – the bottleneck at the tunnel under the Exhibition GO Station.
Since April, Metrolinx has been trying out a new plan to get people through more smoothly.
After two years of mid-pandemic games and concerts that were cancelled, postponed or put on with reduced attendance, it is easy to forget about the crowding afterwards when departing fans – headed for GO trains in opposite directions and Liberty Village – moved in one big rush. Before 2020, Metrolinx heard plenty of concerns about this from fans.
The transit agency’s new approach at Exhibition GO before and after big games and concerts involves having more staff on site to ensure a safe flow of passengers to trains and that all fans are travelling with a valid fare. This has been such a success that Metrolinx has a plan to expand efforts to other events.
Separate lines have been established for people crossing under tracks for westbound trains and those walking to Liberty Village, as well as those making the shorter, easier walk to an eastbound train.
Highly visible wayfinding signs and additional staff are there on game and concert nights to make sure customers find the right line.
This approach makes sure people get to their trains in an orderly way. In an additional benefit for fans, crews are waiting until the trains are filled before leaving – so no need to worry about missing trains.
New approach coming to Union Station
Fans are noticing more Metrolinx staff at Exhibition before and after games, as they are being asked to show a ticket or present their PRESTO card as proof of purchase before continuing on to the event or boarding trains. Those who haven’t paid are politely directed by customer protective services staff, back to the station entrance, where they can pay.
Customers approaching Union Station may also see more staff after Blue Jays games and other downtown events, starting this Thursday (June 30).
Staff will be managing crowds, answering questions and confirming payment at Union Station Riders may be asked to show proof of purchase before walking up stairs to the platforms.
Customers who purchase e-tickets for game day (or any day) are reminded to activate them prior to boarding.
In the excitement of a big night out, this is easy to forget, but PRESTO card holders must tap on and off at both ends of their ride.
Before boarding trains, travellers should always check a screen in the teamway or concourse to make sure they are headed for the correct platform.
Finally, when planning a trip, always remember that there are line-ups to get into stadiums and concert venues, so make sure to give yourself extra time.
Story by Mike Winterburn, senior writer, Metrolinx News