While the downtown media is hammering on the as-yet-undisclosed UP Express fares, they continue to miss a larger issue.
A union representative for airport workers told The Star that the airport train “isn’t public transit, this is transit for the 1 per cent”. The editorial board wrote “Fares should be priced to encourage people to leave their cars at home and take the train, not discourage them from using something they’ve already paid almost half a billion dollars to build.” An online survey they conducted found that about 75% of respondents thought that fares should be less than $20; half thought $10 was reasonable.
We should be glad that The Star, Spacing, and other media continue to push for more information. It is long overdue. The real news, though, is this: Metrolinx will be running an unaffordable and unprofitable service. Even though we’ve already spend $500 million and fares will be unaffordable, you and I will pay for Metrolinx to shuttle the elite around.
This is madness.
The Liberal government hid Metrolinx’s ‘business case’ from critics before the provincial election. Critics like Rosario Marchese called on them to release the details, but the Liberals filibustered in committee to hide the bad news.
They had good reason to bury the body: the Auditor General of Ontario had already said that there is no business case. “If the goal was for the ARL to break even in its first year… Metrolinx would have to charge about $28” for each trip, according to the AG. But 75% of Torontonians said they wouldn’t take it if it cost more than $22.50. Nor would 60% of visitors.
In other words, it looks like Metrolinx needs to charge more than the market will bear to pay for the service.
The Star has noticed that the UP Express is going to cost riders. They should now notice the cost to taxpayers.