Is GO for you?
So apparently the GO bus service between Waterloo and Mississauga has been 4 or 6 or however many years in the making. Here are a few thoughts before you buy your tickets--
- Chairs on GO buses are padded
- There are overhead lights on GO buses, if you want to piss off the person sitting next to you trying to sleep by reading or doing work.
- The windows are reflect the bright light from the screen of the laptop in the lap of the person in front of you really well at night, preventing you from falling asleep on the bus
- GO service between Square One and Waterloo runs daily, and there are connecting routes to many parts of the GTA (e.g. Pearson Airport, Richmond Hill Centre, Union Station)
- Some transit systems provide "Ride to GO" or similar services which allow you to travel by local buses from a stop near your house to a GO station
- If enough people fail to buy tickets in advance, the bus leaves and arrives late
- GO buses can legally hold passengers standing in the aisle, so if you are at the back of the line (or get on in e.g. Kitchener) you might end up standing for the entire ride
- Your seat is not "reserved" -- if there are way too many passengers, you may be waiting for the next bus.
- If you intend on obtaining a GO Student ID, the registrar's office will likely charge you $10 to sign and stamp the form, as they consider it equivalent to a standard "proof of registration" letter. And after all that, you still have to bring it to Union Station in Toronto so that they can make it official and then laminate a portion of the form into your ID. And you have to do it every year.
- Student fares must be bought either in 10-ride bulk tickets (expensive) or monthly passes (more expensive)
- If you're only going one way, a one-way ticket must be used within 4 hours of purchase. Two-ride and 10-ride tickets can be held for longer, but I don't know for sure when and if they expire.
- Ticket prices vary depending on the distance you travel -- stations are grouped into "Fare Zones" and tickets are only valid between a particular pair of fare zones. This limits the flexibility of advance-purchase tickets, but this also means that shorter trips are somewhat cheaper (which can be a good thing).
- Peak travel periods are Friday evening and Sunday evening during the school term, which means the buses are often near capacity when you go home for the weekend. On the flip side, if you're lucky, GO Transit will send an extra bus to handle the increase in demand.
Personally, I think the expense is worth it -- I'll be taking the GO bus home once a month or so for the foreseeable future. But for others, that might not be the case -- make sure you evaluate other options (Greyhound, Feds Bus, Ride from Family) carefully when you decide how you're going to get home for Christmas.