GO to add additional morning train to Hamilton.
By Stavros Rougas
Published April 30, 2008
What does it mean for Hamilton with the addition of a morning GO train from the Hunter station?
I'm a member of the 7:04 crew (last train in the morning) to Toronto. The 7:04 warriors range from a resident who flies down West 5th on his briefcase bicycle that he folds up to take on the train, to a sleeping beauty in the upper level of the car closest to James (I don't think I have ever seen him with his eyes open).As for me I walk - door to train in five minutes.
An additional train at 7:30 am would give a GTA resident the true means to live in Hamilton and work in downtown Toronto. It offers the flexibility to take a job that starts at 9:00 AM (would arrive around 8:40 AM at Union Station) and increased confidence that if one changes jobs to an 8:00 AM start they will still have GO service match.
But the ideal time of 7:30 AM is not confirmed. Should the train run earlier than 7:04 AM, my argument loses some of its thunder.
As good as the GO service is, it's still a long commute. Often the commute is a compromise with another member of the family working locally. This way a family can take advantage of the lower cost of a home in Hamilton.
It's not that commuters are not passionate about Hamilton, but there is limited joy in a 15-hours-plus weekly commute.
The Hamilton GO bus is one of the few GO bus lines to run seven days a week from early morning (5:10 am on weekdays) to the late bus leaving Union at 12:30 am. Not to mention it's an express, meaning one can get to Union Station in 50 minutes without traffic.
So if one takes the bus to Toronto after 9:00 AM or returns after 7:00 PM, it's normally faster than the express train and comparable to driving. Last year I did this type of bus commute for four months.
While Hamilton's GO serve is a hidden treasure few people are willing to commute from Hamilton using only the GO bus and even fewer will relocate to the city based on bus service.
Like in the rapid bus vs. light rail debate, people changes habits to take rail, but few do regardless of how good bus the quality of bus service.
The secret is almost out of the box:
Buy a house in Corktown close to the Hunter station. It's a reasonably priced neighbourhood where the quality of the housing is on the upward swing with the flavour of numerous pubs and access to not only the GO station, but coach buses and most HSR lines.
If the city adds two light rail lines to the equation, one McMaster to Eastgate Square and another LIUNA up Upper James, and those who wait for the floodgates to open will all appear in the GO station area. But our Hunter GO river is not so bad either.
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