Province releases business case, qualifications for two-way all-day GO service to Kitchener

The next steps to making two-way all-day GO service on the Kitchener line a reality have been unveiled, but it’s not yet clear when they will happen.

The province and Metrolinx have officially released the preliminary design business case and request for qualifications regarding the expansion project.

Caroline Mulroney, the minister of transportation for Ontario, unveiled the details Friday morning.

“Depending on how discussions go with freight rail partners, future travel times between Kitchener GO station and Union station will take an estimated 90 minutes, down from 111 minutes,” she said.

The long-term plan for the project, outlined by the province, is to allow 10.9 million more trips on the line every year by 2041, and allow service every 15 minutes on core segments.

The province says work is underway on twin rail tunnels under Hwy. 401 and 409, with the request of qualification issued for the next phase of work between Georgetown and Kitchener.

Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster says Kitchener remains one of the gem corridors for GO transit, but that their post-pandemic schedule still remains undetermined.

"Our ridership is down at least 90 per cent," Verster said. "We are seeing a good resurgence in bus ridership, but the conventional commuter and the rail ridership is not coming back yet."

The provincial budget in March outlined investments for the Kitchener GO line, but Verster isn't committing to a date.

"It's all urgency on our side to get it built," he said. "We will declare a date, but we will do so when have a construction program."