UPX losing $11 per rider

The UPX is losing about $11 per rider, according to Metrolinx. This is a great improvement, though obviously far from ideal.¹ The ill-designed train used to lose $52 per passenger.

An $11 subsidy is large compared to the TTC ($1) and GO ($1.50). In total, the province lost about $30 million running the UPX last year.

The numbers revealed by the Metrolinx board imply that the shrinking deficit is caused primarily by ridership growth, not cutting costs. Two million more people take the train now annually than at its launch.

In 2015–16, the train cost about $63 million to run. The sum of subsidies and fares this year equals $58 million—close enough when considering that Metrolinx has private sponsorships to bring revenues up.

There are, surely, ways to trim expenses on the service, which was bizarrely designed as (and still offers) a premium, business-class experience with in-ride wifi, a magazine (in the age of smartphones), and even a lounge with cheese pairings and live music. In case one needs to unwind after a 25-minute ride, I presume.

¹ It’s also pretty close to what I guessed.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.