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Ontario reverses UP Express service changes following public outcry

Just a day after announcing adjustments to its UP Express service at two busy stations, the province is rolling back those changes in response to widespread criticism from residents.

Ontario Transportation Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said in a statement on X Tuesday evening that he has instructed Metrolinx “not to proceed” with the planned changes that would have reduced train frequency at two key transit stations,  Bloor Station at Dundas Street West and Weston Station — two stops relied upon by commuters and airport travellers.

“While the intention was to provide a faster option for people travelling between Union and Pearson, I’ve heard riders’ concerns about servicing Weston and Bloor stations along the UP Express line,” Sarkaria said in the post.

However, transit riders swiftly expressed their discontent with the changes, notably through an online petition demanding a reversal of the decision, which would significantly impact commute times for many city transit users.

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On Tuesday evening, more than 5,600 people expressed their dissatisfaction with the proposed changes, urging a reversal of the decision.

The petition, which was addressed to Sarkaria and Premier Doug Ford, was posted on Monday after Metrolinx announced a series of GO Train and UP Express service changes that were slated to take effect on April 28.

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On Monday, the provincial transit agency announced 300 new trips on its main train lines in and out of Toronto, a service increase of roughly 15 per cent. At the same time, it said airport service from downtown would run without stopping more often.

“As part of our work to get it done on the largest public transit expansion in North America, our government is adding hundreds of additional GO train trips each week for communities across the GTA,” Premier Ford said Monday.

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The announcement also included the decision to scale back service at the two heavily trafficked stops, which are crucial for TTC connections, and would result in trains currently running every 15-minutes reduced to every half-hour.

During the announcement, the provincial government said the impact of the service changes would be mitigated by an increase in trains on the Kitchener GO line, which serves the same stations.

The province said service would be enhanced to operate every 30 minutes during midday and evenings between Bramalea GO and Union stations, with certain weekend trips expanded to include 10 cars.

Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether the decision to halt the planned UP Express service changes will affect the promised additional services on the Kitchener line, which are still scheduled to commence on April 28.

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— with files from Isaac Callan

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