UP Express Luxury Excess = Unaffordable Fares = Low RidershipPublished on September 23, 2015
QUEEN’S PARK – “Three months after this Premier launched the UP Express luxury ride to Pearson, ridership is going anywhere but ‘up’.”
That from PC Transportation Critic Michael Harris who asked the Premier in the Legislature to respond to growing concerns over shrinking ridership on the UP Express.
“The Premier and her Transportation Minister spent millions of taxpayer dollars on unnecessary boutique terminal facades and retro-uniforms to lure, ‘choice’ customers, then opted for fare pricing out of reach for most to pay for their luxury excess,” Harris said. “Now three months later, we’re seeing trains at 10 per cent capacity, and all the Minster can do is boast about the premium ride that U-P offers. People just want to get from A-to-B and yet the Wynne Liberals spending addiction has put the UP Express trip out of reach for most travelers.”
Harris noted that both Vancouver and Chicago offer similar airport links for under $10 dollars compared to Ontario’s one-way fare of $27.50.
“Even as the Minister crows about discounts that bring the PRESTO customer’s price down to 20 bucks, that’s still double what our friends on the west coast are paying for a comparable ride,” Harris asserted. “How long can they ignore the fact that with every shiny new bell and whistle the Premier forced taxpayers to pay for, they drove the price to ride up and actual ridership down.”
Harris contends that high fares due to the millions spent on creating a vintage-chic terminal-to train experience has meant those seeking the express trip to the airport are looking at other options.
“That’s why we have 14 riders on 173 seat trains – that’s why even Metrolinx admits to ridership well-short of their targets,” Harris added. “When will the Premier apply the brakes before her retro-ride becomes the Pearson Ghost express?”
Watch MPP Harris’ question to the Premier here: