Six years after the City of Toronto closed Union Station’s Bay Concourse for major rehabilitation and construction, the work is now complete, and the space is has now opened according to Metrolinx.
A Metrolinx blog post reports, “As the busiest transit hub in Canada, Union Station is used to playing host to more than – prior to COVID-19 – 300,000 daily visitors. Serving those travelers is about to get easier, as Bay Concourse is now open, thanks to a project led by the City of Toronto, in partnership with Metrolinx.”
With the reopening of Bay Concourse, GO Transit customers now have about three times the amount of waiting area inside Union Station: from roughly 40,000 sq. ft. – to now more than 123,000 sq. ft when combining the York and Bay Concourses.
According to the Metrolinx blog post, the first customers through the doors were impressed. Arceu Robert Arnuco, a long-time GO customer who recalls the old Bay Concourse said: “I’m excited to have a direct path through Scotiabank Arena and get to the platforms. “Very different from the old one. Easy to see where the platforms are, the old one was definitely a maze, you didn’t know where you were going. That’s why I really like this concourse.”
Metrolinx reports that at track level, it’s easier to get on and off trains since stairwells along the entire length of the platforms are now open to GO customers. There are new stairs and elevators at the east ends of the train platforms to give riders access to the new Bay Concourse. As there are some platforms that only have stair access, Metrolinx recommends customers use the York Concourse for barrier free access.
Customers can now walk indoors directly from the new Bay Concourse to the TTC Subway through the new retail space.
According to Metrolinx, there are also more departure boards, giving customers the ability to spread out – meaning less crowding. There are lots of new PRESTO and ticket vending machines, making it easier for customers to pay fares. Here’s a breakdown of the new features for customers:
- 72 departure screens
- 30 PRESTO devices
- 7 ticket vending machines
- 6 self-service Presto reload machines
“We know our customers have been waiting for this day and we’re extremely excited to announce the re-opening of Union Station’s Bay Concourse,” said Metrolinx President & CEO Phil Verster.
“The revitalized Bay Concourse will provide more connections and waiting space for GO customers, enhancing the experience inside Canada’s largest transit hub while supporting the future needs of our growing region.”
Metrolinx advises that, “Not only is Bay Concourse bigger and more spacious than customers remember it, there will also be new retail options opening in the future.”
The City of Toronto’s Union Station Revitalization Project was one of the most complex construction projects in the country. Wedged into one of the most congested parts of downtown Toronto, all the work needed inside this historic site needed to be done while still maintaining train and bus service to one of the busiest commuter hubs in North America.
According to Metrolinx, while work on the Union Station Revitalization Project is now complete – construction inside this iconic transit hub will continue for years to come as Metrolinx focuses on making train travel even safer, faster, and more reliable for GO customers.
That next phase of work is called the Union Station Enhancement Project. It will be completed in stages and includes work on the, removing heritage steel, installing overhead lighting, a new south concourse, widening platforms, increasing vertical access, and upgrades to passenger communications systems.