Pilot of Bus connection to Go station to end

For about 20 years, residents of Cobourg and nearby have been asking for a Go Bus service to Toronto.  In 2020, Northumberland County decided to advocate for this and hired AECOM to carry out a business case study. At the time, MPP David Piccini lobbied Metrolinx but they said “that given the length of the route and the relatively low densities, none of the options perform well from a Revenue/Cost ratio stand point. They are modelling around 20% revenue coverage of costs, which puts these options in the lowest performing GO bus route revenue categories.” Then in April 2022 the Province and County announced a trial service – the Durham line – connecting Cobourg and Port Hope to Oshawa Go Station four times a day. Another route – the “Northumberland Line” – connected Campbellford, Brighton and Colborne to Cobourg.

The idea was to try out the idea for a one year trial – it started September 2022.

Service to be Discontinued

In an announcement on July 3, the County announced that the service would be discontinued effective August 2, 2024 although it had lasted longer than the one year initial plan.

In December 2023, the Northumberland line was discontinued due to low ridership interest and costs associated with operation. At that time, County Council extended the timelines for evaluation of the Durham Line — the more active line — to determine if a reduced service would be more financially sustainable.

Further, “Council approved an extension of funding until 2026, pending a review of updated trends in June 2024 to confirm financial feasibility. Based on this June review, which noted continued low ridership and a high cost to subsidize the service, it was determined that the operation was no longer sustainable.”

No ridership numbers have been provided but they would likely be very low.

The County’s Dan Borowec says that “Ridership participation has been invaluable in understanding local transportation needs, and we will continue to investigate alternative transportation options in Northumberland County for residents, workers, and employers.”

But I would not expect a replacement service anytime soon.

Resources

Previous Reports on Cobourg Blog

County Links – on County Site

Print Article: 

 

Subscribe
Click to Notify me of
21 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Whatsupdoc
18 days ago

Many years ago a lot of retirees were interested in the GO bus. It took too long for it to become a reality. Those retirees now get around with walkers and don’t go to Toronto to see the shows.

Rob
18 days ago

Drive to the mall to get on a bus, to drive to the GO station to get on a train, to ride a train to Union to walk/subway to the office…what could possibly go wrong with this idea. Politicians left scratching their heads as to why is type of Planes, Trains and Automobile ideas fail. How about highspeed rail from Montreal to Toronto OR making VIA (a taxpayer funded rail system) affordable and scheduled appropriately so that working Canadians have a real option to commute to and from Toronto and elsewhere.

Rational
Reply to  Rob
18 days ago

Agree. Prior to Covid a VIA train, originating in Kingston, left Cobourg at 7:01am stopping at Port Hope and Oshawa – arriving at Union Station at 8:20am. I was one is about 180 that took the train daily (from stops east of Cobourg, Cobourg, Port Hope and Oshawa) returning on VIAs 5:30pm train leaving Union Station. The walk to the office was 10 minutes after stopping for coffee. A great deal of the riders took the opportunity to work on the train as well.

The new morning train announce was just a photo op for the politicians as the train leaves too late in the morning. Mr. Piccini and the Mayors of Cobourg and Port Hope should be directing energy to getting the departure time back to 7:00am.

Last edited 18 days ago by Rational
Lemon Cake
Reply to  Rational
13 days ago

Totally agree – at a time when billions of dollars are being spent to get cars off roads around the world to address climate change, it is still cheaper for me to fill my car with gas in order to DRIVE to Toronto ($70-$80) and park at King and Bay ($40) than it is to book a single train ticket (unless I book days/weeks in advance. It’s ridiculous.

Rational
Reply to  Lemon Cake
13 days ago

So it’s not a matter of the Politicians saying we got the morning train back and then patting themselves on the back.

The train that was discontinued was referred to by the commuters as “The Commuter Train”. I won’t go into a lot of details but Via offered Commuter Passes at 10 round trips per book. Cost was about $330 plus tax – so roughly $35 per day to and from Toronto. This filled up the train on the way into Toronto – a train Via needed to run west of Toronto on its daily run.

So Politicians need to press for more than just a morning train, but for a “Commuter Train” – with pricing that makes it attractive.

Sandpiper
Reply to  Rob
17 days ago

May be think about Bringing Jobs Back to Cobourg and local area
Gone are the day s of General Electric, General Foods ,General Motors , General Wire & Cable
Then commuting would be Local .
Oh Thats what Venture 13 is supposed to be doing ??????????????

JimT
Reply to  Sandpiper
17 days ago

That was then; this is now. Manufacturing is all done where wages are much lower – too low for anyone here to earn a living wage.

Cheap, bulk transportation (container ships) make it financially viable to build your factories on the other side of the world where labour costs are much lower.

Gone are the days of the Generals (General Electric, General Motors, General Foods etc.) operating at a profit in our home towns, indeed.

Sandpiper
Reply to  JimT
15 days ago

May be but why is that ?
Just out in todays news Canadians are the most indebted population in the world

also our store clerks and staff are lucky to make $18. per hr. yet a general labour person at Tribute homes ets are pulling down $47. per. plus benefits Skilled trades are way more So its choice as to what our younger people see themselves as —- Privileged ?? I have one at Home .

Mrs. Anonymous
Reply to  Sandpiper
15 days ago

Judging from the surprisingly high number of homes in the Tribute subdivision that are up for lease/leased, it would appear that many see themselves as landlords, young and old.

I’m not sure where these people work to be able to afford the $3k monthly rent, but it appears that transit was not on the aspiring landlord/ specuvestor’s radar.

Gerry
Reply to  Sandpiper
14 days ago

Where is your citation to prove your assertion? You say some outlandish things and rarely post your proof. How about it Sandpiper.

David Kuhnke
18 days ago

Don’t hold your breath, but sometime in the future (Metrolinx doesn’t have a date) the GO trains will be extended to Bowmanville. Hopefully, they will have bus service connecting Pt. Hope, Cobourg, etc. to that station.
https://www.durhamregion.com/news/looking-ahead-2024-when-will-bowmanville-get-go/article_914dbfd9-572c-5c6c-8e50-f29184dd7e42.html
If you wish, you can request to be added to the Bowmanville Extension/Lakeshore East newsletter. https://www.metrolinx.com/en/projects-and-programs/lakeshore-east-line-go-expansion/what-were-building/bowmanville-extension

Sandpiper
18 days ago

Working Remotely has a lot to do with this
so you can’t have a Free ride any more
The reduce demand for service by voting to work from home .
Back in the day of 9 to 5 — 5 days or more per wk supported such a service .
Or
We spent 2 1/2 hrs in the car with no or very expensive Cel phone service ,
paid for gas, parking and replaced the car every 3 to 5 yrs
all this kept the economy rolling and we were dedicated to the Job
Not like employees of today

Cobourg taxpayer
19 days ago

Is government finally realizing that there are only so many tax dollars and that they can only be stretched do far? That we need value for how the money is spent? That tax money is not limitless and has to be spent in an economically feasible manner? Wouldn’t that be amazing! On another note revenue/ridership must have been really low for this service to be cancelled.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
18 days ago

The mention of needing 20% cost coverage by riders for a viable service is interesting. Riders pay only about 5% of the costs for the Cobourg bus service! Why is that tiny coverage considered acceptable year after year?

Dave
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
18 days ago

Hopefully the politicians, organizers of transportation will come up with a new plan – as one suggested Metrolinx that would pick up people from a variety of towns and deliver them to the GO Train whether it be Bowmanville or Oshawa. I see a GO bus currently runs through Bowmanville now where it is promised the GO Train will be extended.
Currently VIA Rail is just too expensive. For people without a car they are screwed.

Last edited 18 days ago by Dave
Rob
Reply to  Dave
18 days ago

It is ~$700 for two adults to travel by VIA rail to Montreal and back to Cobourg…For a comparison, two people can fly to Fort Myers, Florida for the same price. I paid $45 euros for a 220km/hr highspeed train, to travel the same distance, last July in Portugal.

You want to get cars off the highway, fix the rail system.

Leslie
19 days ago

Thank you Mr. Draper,

Northumberland County Council has made the decision to conclude the Commuter Connect pilot service, effective August 2, 2024.

I know for the loyal riders who depend on this shuttle bus service this will be disappointing news. The decision to discontinue the Commuter Connect service was not made lightly,” states Warden Brian Ostrander.

“Unfortunately, due to low ridership numbers and the cost to subsidize the rider service, we have determined that the operation will not be sustainable beyond the pilot phase.” Warden Brian Ostrander.

ben
19 days ago

Another myth put to bed – “Get the Go train and all will be well for commuters!”

Ahewson
Reply to  ben
18 days ago

An actual train would do exceptionally well. Get on it once and enjoy a stress-free train ride into the city. The thought of riding in a little van/bus down the chaotic 401 to get to the Oshawa GO station and then having to get off of it and board a train sounds downright dreadful, not to mention the travel time must have been bordering on 2 hrs.

John resident
Reply to  Ahewson
18 days ago

It was about 2 hours plus there was no way to get into Toronto by 9 am as the local bus service didn’t start that early to get a person to the pickup spot by the mall, so a person would either need to drive to the mall or live walking distance. This is why after researching it I didn’t find it useful.

JimT
Reply to  Ahewson
14 days ago

You are so right. I took the little bus to Oshawa and back for a day of shopping on a dreary day in January, and it was an uncomfortable, boring ordeal both ways. I was the only passenger up and back.

Even then, I couldn’t find a suitable ski jacket in the whole Oshawa Shopping Center and came home with an empty shopping bag. A week later I found just what I was looking for right here in downtown Cobourg at Jake’s on King St.