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Posts Tagged ‘pearson airport

[URBAN NOTE] Six Toronto links

  • NOW Toronto reports on the long-time independent weekly’s sale to a venture capital firm, here.
  • The Yonge-Eglinton Centre now hosts a venue where people can nap in peace. Toronto Life has photos, here.
  • The family of North York van attack victim Anne-Marie D’Amico hopes to raise one million dollars for a women’s shelter. The National Post reports.
  • Toronto Community Housing, after a terrible accident, has banned its tenants from having window air conditioners. Global News reports.
  • blogTO reports on the ridiculous heights to which surge pricing took ride fares on Uber and Lyft during yesterday morning’s shutdown.
  • blogTO notes that the Ontario government has provided funding to study the idea of extension of the Eglinton Crosstown west to Pearson Airport.

[URBAN NOTE] On the debate over the high ticket prices of the Union-Pearson Express

The anticipated high cost of a ticket on the Union-Pearson Express, a dedicated rail link connecting downtown’s Union Station with Pearson Airport, has been widely discussed. The situation was outlined on the Transit Toronto blog.

A single ride for an adult passenger — someone who is older than 19 years of age and younger than 65 years of age — is $27.50 to travel between Union Station in downtown Toronto and Toronto Pearson International Airport. If you use a PRESTO fare card, your fare for the trip is just $19.

Since passengers with PRESTO cards are, most likely, residents of the Greater Toronto Area or Hamilton and those without are, most likely, visitors to the region, Metrolinx seems to have listened to groups that have urged it to consider a “fair fare” for local passengers by discounting the fare for some local riders. However, at nearly $20 a trip, the price may still be too steep to satisfy Our Union Pearson Coalition and others who don’t want to see an exclusive rail line only for wealthy travelers, while Toronto longs for cheap, frequent rapid transit throughout the city.

Adult passengers riding an UP Express train between Bloor Station and the airport pay $22, or $15.20 with PRESTO. Your fare from Weston Station is $16.50, or $11.40 for PRESTO users.

Metrolinx plans to offer airport area workers a discount to ride the trains of $10 for a one-way fare, or a monthly pass of $300. (If you buy a pass, the average cost per ride on the Union Pearson express for airport employees is $7.50, based on 40 one-way rides per month. That brings the cost closer to the fare to ride a regular GO Transit train between Union and Malton GO Station, the nearest station to the airport, which is $6.80 for an adult.)

blogTO’s item is filled with negative commentary. Livejournaler jsburbidge suggests that, accounting for likely points of departure of travellers and transit packages, the price might end up being significantly lower than suggested.

First, there’s a sizeable Presto discount, and with the TTC shifting to Presto, it won’t be just GO riders who will be likely to have Presto cards. Note that the price of a Presto card is less than the difference for one trip.

Secondly, there’s the fact that for many people in the city (those whose primary immediate subway is the Bloor-Danforth Line), it would make sense from a purely functional point of view to take the express not from Union, but from Bloor (cheek by jowl with Dundas West Station). At that location, it costs $15.20 with Presto.

Finally, there’s a much bigger pricing issue that’s gearing up with regard to Metrolinx and the TTC. The local transit agencies in the 905 and the GO system have discounted fares on transfers between systems (GO to bus is 75 cents in York region, for example). The TTC has no discount or interoperability as far as fares go with Metrolinx. (There’s one tiny exception. If you take the TTC to a GO station, GO to a TTC station, and then the TTC again, it doesn’t count as a new TTC trip and you can use your transfer for the second leg of the TTC trip. The GO cost is still full-fare, though.)

With the introduction of Presto, there’s a great deal of pressure building up to have real fare integration between Metrolinx and the TTC — whether it’s TTC/GO transfers or York Region/TTC transfers (such as the double fares on certain bus routes). This will, at a guess, take the form of discounts rather than full fare integration in many cases, although a single timed trip on routes like the 102D seems like a likely result. This sort of fare integration was a significant part of Tory’s “Smart Track” proposal (and one of the features which distinguished it from the generic RER Metrolinx plans).

I wouldn’t be surprised, after the tussle that’s coming up on fare integration (which is really about who bears the costs, which in turn is tightly coupled to the question of provincial operating subsidies, which is not going away), to see a discount applied to the UPX as part of an integrated trip with Presto. This might (at a wild guess) lower the price by most of the cost of the TTC trip, which might be on the order of a couple of dollars; so that Bloor-transferral trip would then be an incremental thirteen dollars or so, and about sixteen dollars for the entire trip. At that point it becomes competitive with a taxi even for two people. (For that matter, even the Union connection is competitive with a taxi for two people, even if a TTC fare is tacked on, if the Presto fare is used.)

Written by Randy McDonald

December 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm