JOHN DOWNS

Torontonians are getting a raw deal on Union Pearson Express

Posted By: John Downs · 8/20/2014 4:29:00 PM

The airport link is an express service. So comparisons cannot be made to rail links in Vancouver, Newark and Chicago. Yes, it is far less expensive to travel those routes compared with the expected $22-$32 fare for UPE. But Newark’s line is part of a regional rail network. Vancouver’s is municipal light rail. And Chicago’s connections are also via municipal rail. They're all just stops along the line.

Union-Pearson is something more akin to Heathrow Express. That line runs from Paddington Station to two stops at the airport southwest of London. The least expensive fare for that shuttle runs the equivalent of about $38 Canadian.

Using that figure, our new rail line may sound like a bargain. But it's not.

The simple argument for why UPE needs to be more affordable lies with who paid for it. We did. Heathrow Express ended up being financed by British Rail, which is a private company. UPE is being built ­– and will be operated – by Metrolinx. This, as you probably know, is an agency of the government of Ontario. While Metrolinx has been adamant that the Union Pearson Express should not be considered “public transit,” the service is being built and will be operated by a crown agency that receives its funding FROM THE PUBLIC.

If Metrolinx would like to promote the link as a "premium" form of public transit, many of us might be able to swallow that claim, along with a premium fare that goes with it. But truth be told, this rapid service is not being built for the average resident of the city. It's being built for business travellers who probably don't care if the trip costs $22, $32 or even $52 because they're going to be flipping the bill to their company anyway.

TTC riders shouldn't be expecting this incredibly convenient service to be available to them for three bucks or a wave of their Metropass. But all of us who pay taxes in this province should expect value for money. Paying highly exorbitant fares for a ride we've already funded upfront is simply unfair.

 

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  1. TonyG_8779 posted on 08/31/2014 12:08 PM
    At $30 the only users should only be single business travelers. Two people can get a cab for less than $36.00. Travellers from the GTA have no reason to go to Union Station unless they live within walking distance of the terminal. Enterprising folk can take the TTC to Kipling and transfer to the Airport bus. Less than $7.00 for two. The committee that designed this solution were probably beaurocrats who travel only on expenses.
    1. AbbyW posted on 09/01/2014 10:33 AM
      @TonyG_8779 The committee was made up of Liberals who we know are out of touch with our reality, living in their world of screwing taxpayers and general incompetence.

      Metrolinx is nothing more than a fake arms-length organization; if they do well the Liberals take credit. If they mess up the Liberals can claim it's not them, and this is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

      However, the voters, or should I say the unions. want them running the province so we're stuck for 4 years.
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