The Globe and Mail had a must-read article on the UPX this weekend. Backroom deals, overpaid consultants, and politicians in denial: it’s all there.
The fares – set deliberately high enough to avoid crowding on the train, according to a senior figure in transit planning – appear to be doing that job too well. The train is running at less than 10 per cent capacity…. The train was the brainchild of David Collenette, federal transportation minister…. Mr. Collenette is now an adviser to Mr. Del Duca on a high-speed rail proposal, expected to be paid up to $91,260 for about five months’ work, and reimbursed for expenses related to his role. He refused to answer questions for this story.
The Globe and Mail also has a devastating editorial on the UPX. It is a “world-class,’ gold-plated, half-billion-dollar empty train”. The Globe has really been ripping into the UPX this week.
UPX never made sense as a business model. A product of political imperatives, it was powered by political choices, not a careful analysis of where the greatest number of underserved commuters are, and what would be the most cost-effective way of serving them. Canada’s busiest airport and largest city badly needed a better transit connection, but it should have been neatly integrated into an expanded mass-transit network, not hived off into a boutique line designed to look good in international business brochures and Olympic bids.