MPPs Michael Harris (Kitchener) and Cheri DiNovo (downtown) have been savaging the failure of the UP Express to find riders.
DiNovo and Harris took Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig to task in a meeting of the Public Accounts committee and again on the floor of the legislature. Harris pointed out that the UPX cost “$450 million” (that’s a low estimate) and is 90% empty.
He also asked whether the forecasting was overly optimistic–McCuaig denied it–and demanded ridership numbers. McCuaig said that about 71,000 people took it in September, and 80,000 users took the train in October. Even if 80,000 is accurate, ridership has not improved; the same number rode it in September.
McCuaig denied that they were going to lower the fares and said, both to DiNovo and Harris, that there had been no discussions with the city about making it part of public transit.
DiNovo asked when the UPX would be electrified. Former Environment Minister Glen Murray had said that it would be done by 2017. McCuaig said that wasn’t going to happen. He even suggested, in wicked bureaucrateze, that it might not be done by 2025. “The end of the 10-year horizon does not mean that that’s when this particular corridor will be electrified”, he managed to speak.