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GO Train Stations to reduce number of free parking spaces

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January 14, 2020 – If you weren’t already frustrated enough failing to find a parking spot and then missing the GO train, that consternation may soon become worse as today, GO to have fewer free parking spaces – the Globe and Mail reported that Metrolinx is interested in increasing the number of paid reserved parking spaces, according to a Metrolinx spokesperson.

Go offers less Free Parking
GO to have fewer free parking spaces

A senior Metrolinx official told the Globe, however, that “the specifics laid out in the documents may yet change.” Metrolinx Chief planning officer Mathieu Goetzke said the agency-preferred approach has not been “completely approved” and that there was a continuing dialogue with Metrolinx’s political masters at the Ontario Ministry of Transportation “to make sure that they are comfortable.”

“GO has 70,000 parking spaces, less than 8 per cent of which are reserved for customers, who pay $98 a month. Metrolinx has long hoped to expand paid parking over the next decade, but the current plan is much more aggressive,” says the Globe article.

Meanwhile, the majority of public sentiment on social media seems to be the only reason taking the GO Train is affordable is because there is free parking.

Another interesting stat revealed is that some 13 per cent of riders travel less than one kilometre to a GO rail station, and another 19 per cent come from between one and two kilometres. But just 18 per cent of passengers arrive by foot, transit or bicycle, meaning that a large number of people are making short drives to their station.

GO hopes to come up with a way to encourage more people to travel to the stations by a means other than driving.

By September, 2022, the documents shown to the Globe, illustrate that the agency wants to be charging fees for up to half its parking spots. Prices, which could fluctuate based on time of day or other factors, have not been determined.

According to a Metrolinx memo from December, “the [parking] approach currently being advanced” calls for noticeable changes by April.

As a commuter is is super frustrating to drive around the parking lot looking at a great number of empty paid spots while the unpaid spots are all taken, but the Globe says “In the first stage, the spaces now set aside for customers who pay would, if unoccupied, be offered out for general use after the morning rush hour.”

Now this makes a great deal of sense especially for highly populated areas with very little parking like Port Credit and Long Branch GO stations.

Mr. Goetzke said this is “a bit delayed” as they tried to figure out the best time of day to open up the spots, but should happen in the spring.

According to the Globe, “the Metrolinx memo says that, come September, the agency would start rolling out new ways to book a parking spot including daily reservations, ramp up enforcement and begin what the agency bluntly calls ‘forced conversion’ of unpaid spaces.”

Two years later, by September, 2022, up to half of GO’s parking spots would be available to reserve for a fee.

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