Union Station GO Bus Terminal
|Union Station GO Bus Terminal|
|Address||141 Bay St., Toronto, ON|
|Routes||16, 18, 21, 31, 61, 63, 65, 71, 90|
Union Station GO Bus Terminal is a terminal located at 141 Bay St. in Toronto, ON. It is located across Bay St. from Toronto Union Station and the GO Concourse, and is directly connected via a stairway to platform 3. The terminal serves GO's bus routes originating and terminating at Union, as well as limited Can-ar runs. Part of the building beside the Bay East Teamway has a Budget car rental agency.
In GO's early days, intercity bus service was predominately based out of the Toronto Coach Terminal, with select rush hour trips being extended to Union Station. As the number of train services began increasing in the 1980s, most bus service was shifted from the coach terminal to Front Street in front of Union Station, to match the location the trains served. By the late 1990s, rapid growth in bus ridership meant Front Street was experiencing traffic congestion, and an off-street terminal was needed to expand operations.
LEA Consulting was commissioned by GO to design the terminal in August 2000. The terminal was designed by Roger du Toit Architects and du Toit Allssop Hillier did the landscaping. The site of the terminal was previously occupied by the CP Express Building at the east end of Union Station, between Yonge & Bay Streets north of the rail corridor, and south of the Dominion Public Building. The demolition of the existing structures was done in 2001 and construction began in April 2002. The terminal officially opened on March 17, 2003 to a media and customer appreciation event. With the opening of the new terminal, all bus service was removed from the coach terminal to the new terminal.
To prevent illegal jaywalking across busy Bay Street, metre tall metal barriers were installed along Bay Street from the railway overpass to the intersection with Front Street. All connections between Union Station and the bus terminal had to be made via Front Street. A direct connection via platform 1 (now renumbered 3) was opened July 26, 2003, with an elevator following in October.
When first opened, the platforms were numbered 21 to 27; they were renumbered 41 to 47 on October 4, 2008, when the train platforms were renumbered. Platform 41 is typically reserved for unloading by arriving buses, while 42 to 47 are used for departures.
Due to increasing competition and congestion at the Toronto Coach Terminal, Can-Ar moved their line-haul operations from the coach terminal to Union. Two Can-ar routes run out of Union: Toronto-Kincardine-Port Elgin and Toronto-Port Perry-Lindsay-Haliburton. Otherwise, only GO Transit uses the terminal.
Low clearances underneath the two railway overpasses on Bay and Yonge Streets prevent GO's first orders of double deckers from using the Union Station Bus Terminal. With the Enviro500 SuperLo, GO is able to service the terminal with double deckers.
As GO bus services in and out of Union Station have grown, the terminal has become more and more congested. Around 2010, parking spaces south of the Dominion Public Building and along the outside of the terminal (previously used for Budget car rental parking) became layover spots for GO buses and vehicles. Often, due to terminal congestion and the lack of parking spaces, GO buses can be found laying over on side streets near the terminal before their runs (such as Harbour, Lake Shore, and around Queen's Quay).
Because there are only 6 normal departure bays, routes may use different platforms at different times of day depending on their availability.
Heavy traffic on Yonge Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, especially around rush hours, may delay GO buses from reaching the Gardiner Expressway. The terminal's design only permits buses to exit southbound onto Yonge.
A new bus terminal is being built on the other side of the rail corridor at 81 Bay Street. Incorporated into the new CIBC Square south tower, the terminal will have an indoor waiting area with an enclosed walkway to Union Station. It will be twice as big as the current terminal with 14 bus bays. Construction of CIBC Square began in 2017. It is expected to be completed by September 2020.