Getting on GO Transit could mean digging deeper into your wallet

A woman reads a book as a GO commuter train pulls away from the platform at Toronto's Union Station, March 4, 2008. Friday June 24, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/J.P. Moczulski

GO Transit riders could be forced to dig deeper into their wallets before they get onboard each day as Metrolinx considers more paid parking. 

Metrolinx is currently studying converting more of its free parking spaces into paid spots but because the plan is in the early stages the agency can’t share many details yet.

“GO ridership is increasing. That’s good, very good. But unfortunately, GO parking is at capacity at a quarter of our stations,” Metrolinx spokesperson Anne-Marie Akins told CTV News Toronto on Tuesday. 

At Oakville GO Station on a typical weekday, finding a spot after the morning rush can feel almost impossible – but being able to park for free is important for a lot of riders.

Before John Maur boarded his train to Toronto this morning, he told CTV News, “The only reason why it’s affordable to take the train is the free parking.”

Another customer who didn’t want her name used feels the same way. “I think it’s just not fair for people who go to work that they need to pay for parking.

After a long walk from the parking spot he managed to find, Bruce Wu admitted he would be fine with seeing more spots come with a cost. 

“I think that would be great. I mean, I would like to pay some parking fee monthly or yearly or whatever, so that I can guarantee my parking space,” Wu said.

Wu says he’s applied for a reserved spot in the past but says the waiting list is too long. He’d like to see some of the “reserved” spots converted too.

As Metrolinx looks at the idea, it is keeping several factors in mind. 

“We are exploring a variety of solutions as we know many GO Transit customers have a challenge finding parking in our lots, and building more and more parking is not economical or good for the environment,” Akins said. 

But until the study is finished and a plan is revealed, GO train riders will have to wonder how much more their commute could end up costing if the agency puts a price on parking.