Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

Discussion Topic: Coffee Truck at the Aurora GO Train Station

Posted by auroracitizen on December 10, 2010

I wondered whether anyone else noticed the absence of the coffee truck at the Aurora GO Train station this morning (Wednesday December 8th)? Or perhaps he was parked somewhere else, but I could not find him.

To give a little background, I believe the truck has been coming to the GO station for several years. In my experience, the man who runs it is courteous, friendly and helpful — as was the lady who ran it previously.

I am not a coffee drinker myself, although I know many who find the coffee well worth it. But I do enjoy the tea, and the food I have eaten on occasion has been excellent as well. The truck has many loyal customers, and has been a great option for those who would like a coffee/tea/etc. but don’t have the time or motivation to prepare it in the morning, or don’t want to have to stop on the way to the station.

Yesterday, the man running the truck informed us that GO has asked him to no longer park on GO property. I thought he was going to park in a different spot, but we could not find him this morning, so I don’t know if he will come back at all, even off GO property.

I believe the reason for this is that a new Gateway stand has opened up inside the station, selling hot drinks, muffins, pastries, etc., so the truck is now competition.

I understand that GO is within their rights to do this, however, I can’t help but feel that it is a bit unfair of GO to attempt to corral all the former customers from the truck, leaving people with only the new option. I can see how the other side could be argued in this since it is well within GO’s rights. But I do feel a bit cheated.

Personally, I don’t plan to buy from the Gateway stand for the most part. I do not need the morning tea; I partly bought it to support the truck and for the pleasant morning exchange. I will also miss the option of hot breakfast sandwiches, which I don’t believe the new stand has.

I think that both could have co-existed. There would be people who would not have trekked over to the truck before, but may buy something now while waiting for the train in the climate-controlled house. And there are those like myself, loyal customers of the truck, who prefer the options there.

I am curious to hear other thoughts on this situation, especially from those who take the train (or buses).

Stephanie Allen

15 Responses to “Discussion Topic: Coffee Truck at the Aurora GO Train Station”

  1. JOHN H SARGENT said

    Yes Evelyn you bring up good point, i do assume GO does have the right to control what happens on their property ,just like the Town of Aurora has the right to control what happens on any citizens property within the town like cutting grass ,parking whatever,etc,etc. Sadly to say it based mainly to complaints from other citizens..So just maybe if enough GO riders complain to GO,WHO KNOWS.

  2. Are you serious? said

    I am sure everyone at GO reads this blog Elizabeth…. take a step back and think about what you have said.

    Why doesn’t someone contact GO? I would hazard a guess that they have a tender or bid process for not just the centre of the universe (Aurora) but for all of their stations to provide a service. If I was the company that won the right to service the GO station, you would bet your life that I would ensure that competition from coffee trucks were not allowed within the GO area.

    This is business. Sometimes business is cut-throat. Sorry coffee truck, you’ve been voted off the island.

    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      AYS, no, I don’t actually think that the powers that be at GO read this blog. What I wrote was meant to indicate that some folks from Aurora who do use the GO and would prefer the coffee truck (or some other local business that offers a good quality product) might want to contact GO and could refer to this blog as a place where other Aurorans have expressed an interest in retaining the coffee truck. Presumably, since business is so cut-throat, the GO folks will want to have a service that satisfies more people, rather than fewer. Maybe they’d consider that next time they tender the contract.

      Or people can just put up with what seems to be a poorer quality choice that was made for them by someone else.

    • Anonymous said

      Elizabeth, not sure how you determined that the truck provided better service…thats a bit subjective. RFP process are generally fact based. and the proponents would have to meet minimum service requirements etc.

      In fact, you haven’t seen the RFP to determine what they did and did not consider.

      i use the train station every day and frankly prefer the new spot and coffee… but i’m the first to concede such an opinion is subjective.

      our last council regime that so many of us had concerns with didnt make fact based decisions…let us not stray from such important ideals.

    • Are you serious? said


      Who has said that the truck satisfies more people? I have had coffee from a coffee truck. If freshness is not a concern, perhaps it is okay. But for folks that would rahter have a Timmies or Starbucks, I do not think that there is a comparison.

      Choices are made for us every day. I have not seen a deluge of complaints that the coffee inside the station is any worse than the truck. Why does everything have to be a local issue? GO is not in the business of making Aurora coffee drinkers happy. They are in the business to make the majority of customers happy. Continuity of service between all stations are a factor I am sure.

      As a member (past member) of the Library Board, who decided who would provide the coffee in the outlet there? What if someone wrote on a blog that they would rather have Zavida coffee because they felt it was better. Who makes those decisions for us?

    • Stephanie Allen said

      Elizabeth, I think you make an excellent point. I am going to get in contact with GO about it. If it doesn’t make a change, it might at least get our feelings known. The new Gateway stand doesn’t really fit into the already crowded station – – at least it is quite crowded during inclement weather, which is most of the winter and rainy days, and also close to the beginning of a month when people are lined up to buy their passes. So if they could have connected with the coffee truck they would have been better off that way as well.

    • someone who loves this town more than politics said

      I think we can safely assume GO does not read this blog, if they did I’m sure they would already be in the process of offering the spot to ON THE BEAN.

      I mean, come on talk about the best of both worlds for Aurorans: You can get your coffee and meet & be shunned by councilors all on your way to and from work.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      I think some people just do not like change. The big old corporation is telling them who’s coffee they will drink. Like Anonymous says, there was probably an RFP process with certain touch points laid out (ie. quality, hours, etc.). There may also be certain health-department requirements that a truck cannot adhere to.

      I have had coffee from a coffee truck, let me tell you it was fresh when the driver mixed it up at 4 in the morning. I can’t imagine anyone preferring coffee truck coffee over a fresh brewed pot.

      However, Stephanie and Elizabeth I wish you luck getting GO to change things back to the way it was.


    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      The “Library Cafe” is one of three cafe/snack bars inside town-owned buildings. The other ones are at SARC and ACC.

      The Library Board didn’t have a formal part in the bid process, but a letter was sent to the Town to describe the kinds of cafe services that worked well for the library users and staff; I am not sure if user groups at the arenas also made comments.

      These cafe/snack bar contractors seem to be a small local business. The staff are friendly and efficient, and sometimes when I’ve been at the rink all day, they’ve given me a treat like a discount on the price of my tea. The coffee and tea service at the library is very nice. They employ some folks I see around town.

    • Bill Engvall said


      Pretend now that GO is the Town and the Aurora Station is the Library. Do you see your hypocracy?

      “Here’s your sign”

  3. JOHN H SARGENT said

    DEAR MS ALLEN…Read your letter on coffee truck at Go STATION.. While i can feel for you, this has been the business practice in this Town for years In small plazas ,if one store sells a certain product others not allowed ((in contract) to get their business..MAGNA does not allow coffee trucks on their property as they have contract with a company in side selling same product..even the TOWN OF AURORA has stipulations at events and in town..It could be that GATEWAY asked for this, which is only fair i guess for them to open up inside..Hope this helps you understand this issue a little more as i not know any other reasoning ,change is hard to cope with at times.. JOHN S

    • Jenny Cockram said

      Dear John:

      While I can understand why this may have been a practice in this Town in the past we the citizens don’t have to agree with it. I think what Stephanie was trying to point out was … the truck was there first (although not contracted by GO perhaps GO could have worked something out with the Truck Owner prior to Gateway opening?) AND there is enough business for both to be there. In this day of downsizing, cutbacks etc, it’s hard enough for small businesses to survive. Too bad we can’t support local small businesses too by letting the customers decide where they want to buy their coffee/tea etc and I think you’d find both would survive.

    • Anonymous said

      there was an RFP process to provide services for the transit users. The truck owner/operator could have bid. as difficult as it is sometimes, its a fair process. something our local government hasn’t been known for in the past few years…

    • Elizabeth Bishenden said

      Actually, on private property, like the GO station, the Town’s rules for its business practices are not likely to make a difference.

      I wonder if GO actually considers local businesses as part of its tendering process.

      I wonder if anyone from GO reads this blog or if any of the GO users brings it to GO’s attention.

    • evelyn.buck said just reminded me of something.
      Coffee trucks are or used to be licensed by the town.The permit allowed the vendor to sell food and beverage within the town.They made the rounds of small business within the town.
      GO obviously can control what happens on their property.

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