For at least 15 years, local residents have been lobbying for an extension of the Go Bus/Train service to Port Hope and Cobourg (see links below). In 2015, Mayors from Clarington, Port Hope, Cobourg and others got together to commission a study and subsequently the Province announced that the train would be extended to Bowmanville. But the hope of lobbyists is that the Go Bus service which currently terminates in Newcastle would continue on to Port Hope and Cobourg’s Northumberland Mall. To do this, they must first convince Metrolinx that there is a viable business case. This recently stepped into high gear when Northumberland County added a goal to its current Strategic Plan to “Advocate for extension of GO Transit to Northumberland”. To meet that goal, last summer the County hired AECOM to carry out a business case study.
MPP David Piccini is also supportive of the idea but recent correspondence from his office said that:
Metrolinx expressed to our office 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.
We have followed up to see what metrics they use to determine revenue/cost levels. And what targets we would need to hit to improve our percentage.
Meanwhile, the County says they are “seeking public input to help inform a high-level business case for GO Transit expansion to the community”. This is in the form of a survey open until February 10 and is available online, or in hard copy by visiting local municipal or County offices. Go here for the Survey or simply go to the Northumberland County web site.
Currently, a good number of commuters to Oshawa and Toronto use VIA or drive their cars and many others would like to avoid the 401 on trips during the day. According to the Northumberland News report in 2005:
Between 150 and 175 people board Cobourg’s 7 a.m. VIA train everyday and the 9 a.m. train carries between 80 to 90 passengers
The question is, are there enough potential users to make a viable business case and would these people change their current practice? The good news is that the County and MPP are listening.
- Northumberland News: Port Hope Makes a Push for GO – 21 Oct 2005
- Province Dedicated to GO East expansion – Minister says – 25 Oct 2017
- GO East Clarington