The anticipation is finally over – GO Transit is coming to the city of Brantford this September. The arrival of the transportation service was announced by Premier Kathleen Wayne in the early summer months of 2016.
For the last few years the absence of a reliable transportation system was sorely noticeable for students. With Greyhound and VIA Rail as the only options to and from Brantford, commuting to Laurier was not feasible for students who did not have access to their own vehicles. This became especially troublesome for students when Mohawk cancelled their bussing service to the Brantford campus a few years ago.
Dean of Students, Adam Lawrence, was quite aware of the issue, “We noticed that once Mohawk cancelled their busses, students were coming in and saying that they needed a way to get to school”. As such, Laurier’s Student Union became actively involved with the city to help make the GO Transit project a reality.
The Mayor’s office also played a significant role in this endeavor. Mayor Chris Friel explains, “We took this project on over the course of six years. We had to pay for a study report to be done through which we were able to prove that we have the in and out traffic that was necessary for the GO service. Having support from Laurier also made a big difference. It meant that we could demonstrate a clear daily and weekend use that would stretch out over a period of time”.
The GO service will start running on Sept. 3. The busses will run from the Brantford Transit Terminal to the Aldershot GO station in Burlington and continue to McMaster University in Hamilton. Stops in Brantford include King Street, Colborne Street and the Wayne Gretzky Parkway.
Despite all the support, getting the transit system up and running in Brantford was not an easy feat. Especially due to the fact that Brantford is located outside of the area covered by the Metrolinx Act. “There is an obvious focus on transit from Kitchener to Waterloo, and while we don’t disagree, we had to really break into that focus and say that we are the leading Western edge of the Toronto congestion. We had to get them to change the Metrolinx Act,” said Mayor Friel.
The addition of GO Transit to Brantford certainly helps the Laurier campus become more attractive to students. “We’re already a great campus. Our excellent programs, our great buildings, and amazing staff and faculty already make Laurier a great option for students. And having GO Transit available definitely makes us more desirable,” stated Adam Lawrence.
Third year Health Admin student Jaden Saunders couldn’t agree more, “It’s huge for Brantford. It makes us more student friendly and encourages more students to come to this campus. It’s transforming our downtown and providing more services and making it more accessible. It has a lot of potential”.
Last few words from Mayor Friel? “It really always comes down to use it or lose it. We have to tell people that we can’t just have GO, it really needs to be used in order to make it worthwhile in our community”.