Ontario Bringing Back Year-Round Weekend GO Rail Service to Niagara
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
NIAGARA — The Ontario government is bringing back year-round weekend GO rail service between Union Station and Niagara Falls. The service will include two round trips each day, offering travellers a faster, more direct journey between downtown Toronto and Canada’s top tourist destination.
“Niagara Falls is a world class tourist venue and draws millions of visitors each year from all over the globe,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Bringing back GO service 365 days a year will make it easier for everyone to access this incredible destination and will boost local businesses all across this region. Our government is getting it done for transit riders across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”
Beginning this fall, the province will reinstate weekend GO train trips between Toronto’s Union Station and Niagara Falls beyond the previous seasonal end date of October 15, 2022. Originally introduced in 2019, the weekend service was suspended due to unprecedented drops in ridership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As ridership returns to pre-pandemic levels, our government is boosting service to meet demand. GO service to Niagara will unlock access to this key tourist destination and help build Ontario’s economy,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “This service enhancement is another step towards our government’s mandate of fighting gridlock by delivering more frequent GO rail service across the Greater Golden Horseshoe.”
Niagara weekend train trips will be equipped with special bike coaches, enabling passengers to bring along their bicycles to explore the 56-kilometre Niagara River corridor.
“Along with one of the world's greatest natural wonders, Niagara region is home to hundreds of tourist attractions that create local jobs and support the economy, including historic sites, waterparks and live theatre and music,” said Neil Lumsden, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “With more GO rail service from Toronto, visitors and residents can easily plan a Niagara adventure and experience the beauty and excitement of the area – all just a short train ride away.”
Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s premier destinations, attracting more than 12 million visitors every year prior to COVID-19. An economic driver for the province, Niagara’s tourism industry supports close to 23,000 jobs in the region. Reinstating year-round GO rail service to Niagara is an important step to building Ontario’s economy and strengthening Niagara’s $1.8 billion tourism industry.
GO rail will become one of the busiest railways in North America with over 200 million annual riders by 2055 – allowing seamless access to new subways, LRTs and municipal transit systems.
GO Transit also provides weekend hourly bus service from Burlington to Niagara, and one peak rail trip on weekdays from Union to Niagara. This service continues year-round.
GO Transit offers weekend passes to riders looking to explore the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Riders can purchase a $10 weekend pass for unlimited travel on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, or a $15 weekend pass for unlimited travel the full weekend including holidays.
The province continues to work alongside transit partners including VIA Rail for the use of their stations and CN for access to the corridor.
The temporary Ontario Staycation Tax Credit aims to encourage Ontario families to explore the province, while helping the tourism and hospitality sectors recover from the financial impacts of COVID 19. Ontario residents can claim 20 per cent of their eligible 2022 accommodation expenses when filing their personal Income Tax and Benefit Return for 2022. You can claim eligible expenses of up to $1,000 as an individual or $2,000 if you have a spouse, common-law partner or eligible children, to get back up to $200 as an individual or $400 as a family.
"Year-round weekend GO rail service is good news for local residents in Niagara who have been looking forward to expanded transit options. Expanded rail service in our region is key to local economic development and smart regional planning as more and more people call Niagara home. The expanded service also provides more opportunities for visitors from across the province to visit Niagara as a premier tourist destination."
- Sam Oosterhoff MPP for Niagara West
"No one wants to sit in congested highway traffic and getting back on track with more frequent GO Trains allows people to travel seamlessly between Niagara Falls and Toronto. A big thank you to the Province of Ontario for ensuring this remains a priority. We look forward to a regular GO schedule being re-established in the near future, which will change the way that people can live and work between Niagara Falls and the GTA. It will be life changing for people who commute and will go a long way to help revitalize our downtown core and surrounding areas."
- Jim Diodati Mayor of Niagara Falls
"On behalf of the people and businesses of the entire Niagara region, we applaud the provincial government for their commitment to extend weekend GO train service year-round. Expansion of weekend GO service is a welcome announcement for our world-class tourism sector and we look forward to welcoming visitors from the GTA into Niagara all 12 months of the year."
- Jim Bradley Niagara Regional Chair
"GO Transit is connecting Niagara to Toronto, and in doing so, opening up immense opportunities for people living across the network as well as those visiting Ontario throughout the year. We’ve recognized the importance and impact that bringing back this service has on our customers, and we’re thrilled to be able to offer more options to hop on board and move across the Greater Golden Horseshoe."
- Phil Verster President and CEO of Metrolinx