Airport workers to get a break on UP Express

The Toronto Star says that a new agreement between the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and Metrolinx will allow for an (as yet undisclosed) discount for airport workers using the new train to get to and from work. The GTAA was previously attempting to charge Metrolinx $1.85 for every passenger delivered to the airport in lieu of lost parking revenue. Now it’s beginning to look like a bargaining ploy because the $1.85 is off the table in exchange it seems for the worker discounts.

Incidentally, it’s nice to see MPP Laura Albanese fighting for lower fares for the rest of us. Her timely letter adds to the pressure on Metrolinx to re-think the whole endeavour. It’s hard to imagine the traveller on a business account wandering through Union Station, schlepping their own luggage in and out of a train while they could get door-to-door service with a limo or taxi. Free Wi-Fi means nothing to people with unlimited data accounts.

As pointed out previously in WestonWeb, the capacity of the train is quite limited and while Metrolinx is under increasing pressure to make the fares affordable, they know that if fares are too low, with limited rolling stock, the train will be unable to meet demand.

What you can do about $30 fares

On December 11, Metrolinx will announce the fares for the UP Express.

If they say the fares are more than $10, you lose. Your tax money went to build the train, your community was torn up to build it, and you won’t be able to use it to commute—taking the kids to see the Santa Claus parade downtown would cost $80.

If, on the other hand, Metrolinx does the smart thing (for once) and makes the fares affordable, you’ll get great express public transit to downtown. Your property values will go up¹, Weston will be reinvigorated, it’ll be great. This isn’t impossible or insane: Vancouver has a $7 light-rail train to the airport that they built for the Olympics. It’s fantastic. I took it.

So what can you do?

And, if you’re really devoted, rally: TTCRiders will be having a rally on Thursday, December 11, 9.30am–12.00pm  outside the Metrolinx meeting at 97 Front St West.

 

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¹If you even think of moving, I’ll find you.

Albanese asks for “Fair Fare” (again)

Laura Albanese took the gloves off yesterday and released a letter asking for a “fair fare” for the UP Express. While she had asked for smart pricing of the train in August, this letter comes before the December 11 meeting of Metrolinx, where the fares are likely to be announced.

The letter is pretty scathing. She says “Metrolinx has not engaged in any meaningful and transparent consultation with the public” and that it should consult on “something so important as a fare that affects hundreds of thousands of transit users”. The train, she says, was once designed “exclusively for airport customers with no apparent concern for the communities surrounding it.”

Albanese is in favour of using the UP Express as public transit. She notes that the CEO of Metrolinx has said that there will now be six stops on the line: Union, Bloor, Eglinton, Weston, Woodbine, and Pearson. $30 fares would take the public out of the transit.

The fares should be priced differently for students, seniors, and those not travelling the full distance, she says, and,

To reiterate, the fare should reflect the fact that the UP Express is a publicly owned service, built and paid for with public tax dollars.

 

She closes with “Now is the time to seize the potential of the UP Express to serve multiple transit demands and the greater good.”

The letter is worth reading in its entirety if you have the time.

Leaf collection creates stir

Who knew? Only parts of Toronto get mechanical leaf collection. In fact, only parts of Weston get leaf collection.  Few streets north of Church get it, and no street south of the village does. Now Frances Nunziata is pushing the apparent unfairness of this; she and InsideToronto are saying that the city needs to be more equitable.

From Nunziata's office

Leaf collection in Weston

Nunziata told InsideToronto that “It would make sense that the city should implement it city-wide…. There are some places that you can’t because of on-street parking. But maybe the city should go out and collect the leaves.”

Nonsense. This is great politics, but it’s terrible economics. It would be silly, for instance, to collect leaves on Dundas St W, where I used to live: There are very few trees. It makes much sense to collect them in the Weston where flooding has been a problem (leaves clog catch basins) and there are many trees.

Even my kids know that fairness doesn’t mean treating everyone the same (if it did, we’d have a subway). Fairness means treating people right. It might make perfect economic sense to clear the streets of Weston.

TC3’s Season Debut Concert – November 29.

Toronto Children’s Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company (TC3) is more than a choir. Bringing together young people ages 7 to 18 from across the Greater Toronto area, TC3’s mission is to promote, develop and encourage youth through inspirational song, dance and Afro-Caribbean drumming. The focus is always on establishing excellence, holistic development and first-rate performance.

For TC3’s season debut, there will be two performances at 2:00pm and 6:30pm held at Weston Park Baptist Church at Weston and Lawrence.

Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door.

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