UP Express Fare – Do The Math

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Those of us hoping for an affordable fare on the UP Express are in for a big disappointment and the reason is to be found in simple arithmetic.

Anyone checking the arrivals and departures at Pearson Airport (or living in Weston) knows that a lot of flights come and go daily. Last year Pearson handled 36,000,000 passengers. Let’s generously assume that half of them are in transit. That leaves about 9 million arrivals and 9 million departures. That’s an average of 25,000 daily. In addition, 41,000 employees need to come and go for a total of about 66,000 people daily in each direction.

What is the capacity of the UP Express to move people? Well, it’s nothing like that of a GO Train. UP Express trains will either have two or three cars, each car holding 60 passengers. If all trains could be the maximum 3-car format (they can’t) the hourly one-way passenger potential is 4 x 180 or 720. Again assuming an 18-hour operating schedule and an even flow of people, the maximum number that the train could move (assuming nobody used the Bloor or Weston stations along the way) is just under 13,000. Given the availability of trains with a third car and the other limitations mentioned, that number will be considerably lower.

The danger of pricing fares at an affordable level is that the trains would be wildly popular leading to overcrowding.

Metrolinx will therefore err on the side of high fares and carefully watch passenger numbers with a view to adjusting them later if necessary.

One more thing: many people have already figured out that the extortionate money grab by GTAA of $2.00 from each passenger in lieu of lost parking revenue is bogus. The vast majority of people arriving at the airport do so in taxis, buses and limousines. They would not be contributing to parking revenues anyway.

7 thoughts on “UP Express Fare – Do The Math”

  1. Taxis and limo’s can only pick up fares at the airport if they pay a huge license fee to the GTAA. UP is paying a similar fee per pickup.

  2. Why is everyone surprised by the fee announcements? Its a Liberal project, meaning you are bounded to be screwed.

  3. Totally agree with the article. It doesn’t matter if it was Lib, Con, or NDP we totally screwed with this no matter what.

  4. This was supposed to be a private, for profit, link. When the private sector dropped out, the taxpayer went on the hook. The debate which we never had, was do we want to create with tax dollars, a line which will never pay for itself, will be for business folk only, and which will pollute more than the cars it takes off the road? Metrolinx has understated the cost, by claiming the bulk of the cost is for GO. When we started we had one GO track, which was the obstacle to all day two way service. When it’s finished we will still have one GO track. And two tracks just for the Air Link. So the cost is really $1.4 Billion, not $456 Million that Metrolinx claims.
    Metrolinx also touts that it will carry 5000 passengers each day. At that rate, just to pay the interest on the capital would take a fare of $85 each way.
    ‘Public’ Transit is installed by the taxpayer, without expecting the farebox to repay the capital. Operating expenses too, are often subsidized. Viva in Vaughan has a $4 per passenger subsidy by the province.
    The debate that has begun is whether we, as taxpayers, shouldn’t get the benefit of what we have paid for, by making the service have a fare that is a true public transit fare, having a few more stops to serve the people whose neighbourhoods it cuts through, and by making it electric so we are truly world-class.

  5. A. “The debate which we never had, was do we want to create with tax dollars, a line which will never pay for itself, will be for business folk only, and which will pollute more than the cars it takes off the road?

    B. The debate that has begun is whether we, as taxpayers, shouldn’t get the benefit of what we have paid for, by making the service have a fare that is a true public transit fare, having a few more stops to serve the people whose neighbourhoods it cuts through, and by making it electric so we are truly world-class.

    Mike, is it A, or is it B? had debate “A” happened and this line not been built, there would have been no opportunity to create “B”.

    World Class Cities are also subsidized by their Federal governments; when will the NDP start demanding that Toronto receive some much needed government funds?

    When Metrolinx is morphed into an above ground subway, will it still be “cutting “ through neighbourhoods, or will it then be “serving” them?

  6. Both A and B as they are different. The train is cutting through neighbourhood because of increased traffic above ground and closed crossings.
    Why is this kind of response helpful?

  7. Mike – how do you know what the “true” costs are when the numbers you are putting in your comments as the “true” costs were neither released by Metrolinx/GO or the Ontario government? Where do you get your info from? I would like to see it for myself.
    If you don’t have proof of your claims, then I suggest you use a handle like your besties/staffers Westonian & LOL.
    SOME people who read this blog are university educated and not only require proof but also know the difference between levels of government.
    When was the last time you spoke to a topic that actually relates to your jurisdiction which we as taxpayers are paying you to do?

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