York student picked as GO Transit’s symbolic one millionth rider

York University, together with GO Transit, officially celebrated the one millionth rider on the Hwy. 407 GO Bus service in style on Monday, Oct.25. GO passenger Maria Sysova was chosen as the symbolic millionth rider for 2004. Sysova commutes from Burlington, Ont., to York’s Keele campus where she is in second year psychology in the Faculty of Arts.

From left: Maria Sysova, GO 407’s one millionth rider; Gordon Chong, chairman of Go Transit, York University President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden and Gary McNeil, managing director of GO Transit

Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York Unversity, congratulated Sysova and praised the excellent working relationship the University has developed with GO Transit. Sysova was presented with a one-year free pass on the service and several other gifts by Marsden, Gordon Chong, chairman of GO Transit, and Gary McNeil, managing director of GO Transit.

“York is pleased to be a GO Transit partner and to celebrate the one millionth rider on the Hwy. 407 GO Bus service,” said Marsden. “York has become the largest and busiest transit hub in the region and, in marking this milestone, we also look forward to further developments to improve our transit to our campus.”

Marsden paid special tribute to GO Transit’s improved accessibility service, which makes it possible for students with disabilities to get to York. She highlighted the University’s commitment to improving transit accessibility, explaining that York University create 11 new bus bays this fall for a total of 25 bus bays. “We are working with all levels of government to see the Spadina subway extended through York to the proposed York Region transit gateway on the north side of Steeles Avenue,” added Marsden.

Elizabeth Saati, executive director of York is U student alumni program said, “York University takes care of its students. Now thanks to the GO Bus service, students from the GTA have fast, reliable and affordable transit to York. It is a safer way to get to York. It is fantastic and we love the fact that this University cares about the environment and about having fewer cars come on campus…GO York!”

Right: Maria Sysova cuts a special GO Transit cake for Elizabeth Saati (centre) and Lorna R. Marsden (right)

Chong commented, “This milestone is just another proof that public transit really does work. In just four years, we have gone from 24 buses carrying 700 riders to nearly 350 buses and 10,000 riders on GO’s 407 bus service. There are thousands of fewer cars on the road because of the 407 bus service.”

“I am delighted!” said a jubilant Sysova. “I found out on Friday, which was my birthday. I was surprised. This is terrific because the pass will save me so much.”

Over 1,000 public transit buses serve York University every day, making it the biggest transit hub in the Greater Toronto Area without a subway.