Updated September 24, 2015 at 11:30 am:
Metrolinx has released details of its daily ridership counts.
Although they claim via Twitter that ridership is going up, when the numbers are actually graphed, this is not true.
The chart below shows:
- The projected ridership rising from 3,000 per average weekday to 5,000 over the first year of operation (blue).
- The actual ridership from the Metrolinx stats (green).
- The moving average weekly ridership (red). For the first six days, these are the values for the operation to date.
It is quite clear that the ridership has settled into a regular pattern after a dip in early July. There is little evidence of a Pan Am Games effect on the numbers. As and when Metrolinx releases additional ridership data, I will extend this chart.
What is missing from the Metrolinx data is a statement of the average fare paid and a breakdown by fare type. This would reveal both the nature of ridership and the effect, if any, of promotional fares on demand.
The original article follows below.
The Metrolinx board meeting for September 22 includes an update on the Union Pearson Express (UPX) and the evolution of its ridership.
Union Pearson Express (UPX) Update
Metrolinx continues its rosy reports on the peformance of the link to Pearson Airport from downtown.
Ridership has been growing and management expects it will continue to increase as UP Express builds awareness as a fast and reliable option to travel between downtown Toronto and Toronto Pearson. Ridership increased overall between June and August, despite the slower summer period for business travel, which is consistent with summer travel behaviour. Given that UP Express is a brand new service in the region, we are very pleased with ridership so far. Average daily ridership since launch is approximately 2,500 and is expected to grow until maturity, in the next 3 to 5 years. As we increasingly understand our guests and the market, we anticipate that we will reach our daily ridership target of 5,000 riders by the end of the first full year of operation. [p. 1]
In other words, by next June, UPX expects to be at double its current average daily ridership. That’s a steep growth curve.
Notable by its absence from this statement is any reference to the Pan Am Games. UPX may have carried the Games’ Torch into the city, but the same does not appear to be true of the attendees. If we proved our ability to build a “world class” airport link, we actually demonstrated it to a very small world.
Also missing is a discussion of UPX operating costs, the distribution of fare types among users (and, thereby, the average fare actually paid per trip) and the break-even point based on actual rather than hypothetical numbers.
The history of claims for UPX performance is worth reviewing.
December 11, 2014 Board Meeting
During this meeting, Kathy Haley, President of UP Express, stated during her presentation that UPX would reach break-even on operating costs in 1, 2 or 3 years even though her own slide deck claims that the business plan is based on a 3-5 year break-even period. [See p. 10 of her presentation, and 1:35:25 of the meeting video.] This sentiment was not exactly echoed by CEO Bruce McCuaig who talked of a 3-5 year period to reach break-even [see 1:47:50 in the video].
There was even discussion of whether UPX would be overloaded [1:51 in the video] by airport workers getting on the line with a concession fare. The poor understanding by Board members of the demand situation was quite evident in this debate, along with shortcomings of some of the demand modelling. Of the 40,000 airport employees, only 3,500 live in the UPX catchment area. These were expected to generate 500-800 trips implying that only 250-400 employees would use UPX to reach their workplace. Yes, only 1%, at best.
The discussion continued with talk of the cost for such commuting on a $300/month pass. In a neat bit of gerrymandering, the comparison was made between the after-tax cost of such a UPX pass and the before-tax cost of GO fares over a comparable distance. Moreover the access time and cost to reach a UPX station via the TTC were ignored. Airport workers, unlike the business clientele for UPX, are not generally in walking distance of a station.
Riding was expected to be 5,000 per day which would translate to roughly 1.5-million annually. McCuaig described a growth from 1m rides in the first year’s operation to 2.5m in year 2 and 3m by year 3, the target for a mature state of demand.
In the report on pricing strategy, Metrolinx staff claimed:
Research and experiences in other jurisdictions showed that a new service will take time to build ridership from its initial launch. As is typical with any new start-up project, staff expect 65% of the total mature ridership in the first year of operation. Further, UP Express is projected to reach ridership maturity three years after service launch (by 2018). Three year ramp-up assumptions are a common assumption in transportation modelling given the time it takes for awareness to build and for travellers to shift from their previous modes. However, recent studies have shown that if there is heightened anticipation for this service, the ramp up period may be accelerated and ridership may reach maturity sooner than projected. [p. 5]
Whether there actually was any “heightened anticipation” for the service depends on whether you are a UPX acolyte desperate for the chance to ride a new train to the airport at a considerable cost premium over competing modes.
The UPX would by Metrolinx’ own estimate attract only about 6% of the air passenger market bound for Pearson. One fundamental issue is that a huge proportion of airport users do not come from the line’s catchment area, and so the potential market is a small portion of the total. Some auto trips may be diverted to transit, but at this scale the effect wouldn’t be noticed in the background effects of congestion and latent demand for road capacity.
March 2015 Update
This update contained no refinement of the ridership projections, but concentrated on the pre-launch activities in construction, training and business partnerships.
June 2015 Update
This update, on June 25, reported that the opening week saw average daily ridership of 3,250 “consistent with ridership projections”. The remainder of the report dealt with start-up activities and continued development of partnerships.
A related presentation included a chart of anticipated riding growth for year 1.
We now know that UPX is not achieving even its week 1 target, and it has a long hill to climb up to that week 52 projection of 5k riders, let alone the level needed to break even on operations.
If someone just put together two maps of Toronto this whole thing would have been much clearer.
1) based on location what is faster to get to the airport (ttc, cab, upx) colour coded
2) based on location what is cheaper (upx, ttc, cab) colour coded
In the case of both these maps they are coloured mostly ttc or cab with small circles in the time map for upx around the line itself and a few places south of bloor. There is nobody living in the lake. Which limits the number of users significantly.
Steve: Of course the travel times would have to be honest, unlike the comparisons cited in the UPX presentations which used worst case numbers.
Am I doing something wrong here? If Daily ridership is 2,500 and there is 18 hour service in each direction with 15 minute headway there must be about 150 unique train trips per day. That’s about 16 passengers per train – or about enough to fill a 40 foot motor coach where every passenger has a double seat and there are 6 double seats to spare. This must be great news for the Sheppard Subway – knowing that it is not any longer the subsidy King of Toronto.
However, I am sure it is worth it. Every 7.5 minutes another 16 people know we are “world class”.
Is there any data on line usage by station? I’d love to know if there’s any usage at all at Weston or even Bloor. I’m expecting it would be minimal with the fare structure they have in place.
Steve: No data has been published yet.
Even with these bleak numbers, what’s the end game for the Union Pearson Express? Turn it into local service after a few years of no growth? Do you ever foresee a day where Metrolinx spins this service off to a private company once the numbers look mildly attractive?
Steve: Metrolinx owns the corridor and there’s no way a private company can make money on this operation unless there is a huge subsidy by way of low rental for use of the track and equipment.
Because of those 16 people per train the Kitchener line cannot get two way all day service because while there are three tracks for most of the line there is only one track free for GO and VIA trains; the other two are use by UPX. If you check the schedule you will see that two trains pass between Malton and Bramalea, after the UPX cut off and that the inbound train arrives at Union just after the outbound one leaves. This means it takes 3 trains to operate a service that should be doable with only 2 trains.
Just a couple of months ago Metrolinx was talking about a 90 minute service between Union and Bramalea. This looks like a service that was thrown together at the last minute to make it look like people in Malton and Brampton counted. This is one of the worst allocation of resources just so we can claim we are a “World Class City.” It is more like a world class joke.
Sooner or later Metrolinx will have to cut fares. The UP Express has become a big embarrassment for them. The trains are so empty that they make Target Canada look like a roaring success in comparison. I wouldn’t be surprised if this service gets shut down 2 years from now. Hopefully it will eventually be rebuilt to accommodate regular GO trains at regular fares.
Why no overnight service? I saw this the other day when I walked by the new terminal. I’m all about the 300, but it’s a long ride.
I realize that there was a lot of work done on upgrading CN/CP through west Toronto (I was on the London-via-Kitchener train yesterday). Is that cost part of the UPX program or just the Georgetown line in general?
Steve: Metrolinx accounting is unclear on how the costs of the corridor upgrade are split between UPX and GO.
I can say for certain that while there is always someone at Union waiting for UPexpress there is no wait, minimal demand and it looks dead in and around the station.
If they want this to succeed they need to make it competitive. I am not an expert but if the demand at Union recently is any indication we may have a white elephant on our hands.
Union and Pearson were expected to be the busiest stations which clearly they are not. At this point they could run hourly and not fill the train.
From what I can see, perhaps UPX might have to do something about it’s pricing. there has been some criticism about it’s being pricey so perhaps cutting fares by maybe even half just might boost ridership. Call what I say whatever you like but surely there has to be some way to boost ridership. One thing that can’t possibly be helping right now is the fact that the pedestrian connection to the BD subway isn’t in yet and I would hope that having that would help at least some.
The sad thing is that this is less than 2 full sized GO trains per direction per day on the Kitchener line? I am with Robert in that this seems a terrible waste of track – compared with the alternative of say 15 minute all day GO service, with a proper airport link to Malton GO (or a new station/Mobility Hub to make better use of the spur line into the airport).
The use of a GO train would permit people from the west to access the airport as well, a airport link to a substantial station /mobility hub would provide a point for TTC, MiWay and ZUM as well as GO to link to the airport. It might actually have an impact on traffic, and access to the airport area and airport – whereas even if the service reaches 5k – this would still mean the average trip was what 35 passengers, and capacity in theory at rush of what 720/per hour? If we really want a premium service – would it not make sense to add a couple of luxury cars to the GO train, and have them stop on a platform area where all the extras could be added – but then still run say 7-10 other relevant cars for the rest of humanity? Having a real gateway link to the airport (or 2) that were properly served by a lot of transit just seems to me to make more sense. The airport link to these hubs could serve the airport employees from Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto, and the hubs serve as a terminus for the Finch West LRT if brought past Humber College, and at the Renforth gateway – link with the Mississauga transitway, and the Crosstown (as it needs to be extended to the Renforth Gateway anyway). Needed the extra tracks to provide the higher quality linkage, now just need to put it to better use!!
@Giancarlo, there are no next to no overnight flights due to the noise restricted hours of 12:30-6:30am.
BTW, on the Pearson website they say UPX operates 19.5 hours a day; “No traffic. No crowds.”
While a lower price might boost ridership, the question possibly should be what price maximizes revenue. Unless the idea is just to shift a couple hundred cars off the 401, it’s not going to have a major impact on traffic volumes, so pricing high might depress ridership over revenue numbers. To make this viable, they need to integrate the surrounding catchment areas. Kitchener-Pearson Express anyone?
You may have noticed that the UPX trains have recently dropped a car. The train is now 2 cars instead of 3 cars.
I seen the shorter UPX trains at Union Station during weekday afternoons, but I don’t know if longer, 3 car trains run at other times.
This is visible evidence that demand is weak, and therefore cost cutting is in effect.
Bruce McCuaig was all happy clappy about the UP prospects on CBC Metro Morning. Apparently all it will take is a little marketing. Air Canada stewardesses already are hawking UP tickets on flights heading for Toronto, just like all those other wonderful things they have for sale. With marketing like this, how can UP lose?
On the other hand, McCuaig totally ducked the question of whether UP fares would be re-evaluated. Every time I see a UP train, I only see one or two lonely souls. Perhaps the rest of the passengers are lying on the floor?
One prediction I can make for the new fare strategy being discussed elsewhere: Pearson will be a “premium service” and getting there on one TTC fare via 192 will be a thing of the past.
you guys just seem to be pushing for it to affordable to all, which I think is a silly idea. If you can afford a couple of grand to fly to Alberta to see Aunt Tilly and Uncle Mel, you can afford 30bucks for the train. Business, obviously write it off. Airport limo from my house in beach to airport is 60+bucks, train is way cheaper deal. You should not make the express train so cheap the ‘workers’ can utilize it. That just turns it into a regular TTC route and cheapen the service. 140’s express buses are great. If you have the extra cash, wonderful ride downtown, if you do not have the cash, well, 501 takes longer but it eventually get you there. Seems like a waste to me to land, then drag your bags to a 192, then down to BD subway, climb on the tube with everybody else, climb out and then take a bus home, JUST because it’s only 3bucks. One coffee is 3bucks at Pearson. Advertise the thing more and give it time. WE got plenty of time to make it work, I do not see the hurry.
Steve: You are discussing completely the wrong issue. It is the spending of $456-million capital, plus operating subsidies, and worst of all track space, on a premium service when the funding and infrastructure could be much better used serving local traffic.
The one time I rode it out 2 got on at Bloor and 1 at Weston, also 1 got off. When I rode it back in 1 got on at Weston and all but 1 person in my car got off at Bloor, all 6 of us. If you go by percent then Bloor looks good.
8 am and 830 am Go riders from Weston report full to bursting trains which are almost always 10 mins late as they are forced to hold south of Bloor while empty up trains pass them.
Steve: This begs the intriguing question of whether these late riders qualify for GO’s fare refund for lateness caused by their own operational screw-ups.
Given the lower ridership, perhaps part of the answer is to save money and improve travel times by removing the stop at Weston. It doesn’t really make any sense, given there’s a direct bus from Weston right to the airport every 7 minutes.
Steve: You should know that the stop at Weston was included due to the political situation in the area. The fact that the fares are outrageous limits its usefulness.
I have never seen a 3 car train except in testing mode. They do not own enough cars to run 3 car trains. With a 25 minute one way time at best it takes 5 trains instead of the planned for 4 to operate service. They own 18 cars, 12 cab cars and 6 intermediate cars with a cab at one end. This allow for 6 three car trains but you need 1 as a hot spare and 1 for servicing so this only leaves 4 trains not 5. If only those damned people at Bloor and in Weston hadn’t demanded stops they could have run with only 4 trains. There is nothing better than a well thought out plan, unfortunately this is not one of them by Metrolinx.
A number of the daily trains to Mount Pleasant have been running late also Mike.
The one time I took it this summer, between the Pan Am and Para Pan Am Games, the number of employees seemed to outnumber the number of riders. There were only 2 of us in one car.
When the riders are not there, one would look for a way to feed traffic to it. There is nothing wrong with a premium service. British Airways operates a JFK-LCY service with all J class seating. It is not all O/D demand, but its partner American Airline feeds it with some traffic.
Here is what Metrolinx should do. They should tag on a GO and VIA ticket with UPX service. For example, Air Canada flies 4 times daily to Kingston (YGK). VIA runs more frequency than that. If a regular VIA ticket cost say $80 to Union Station. Metrolinx should do a revenue sharing agreement with VIA where a $90 ticket will include a UPX leg as well. This would be a better solution as rail is less energy intensive than air. Megabus proves that there are demand from YGK to YYZ as they run a bus shuttle service themselves.
Similarly, there should be a tag on with the rest of the GO system. For example, a GO rider from Oshawa should be able to get a single ticket from Oshawa GO to YYZ. It should be cheaper than buying tickets seperately. This way, it increases the catchment area of the UPX.
Remember, to make YYZ a world class hub, it needs a larger catchment area. Using the GO network and VIA’s Windsor-Quebec City corridor, the UPX can play a major role in this. The only problem now is that it is run as a seperate service. It needs to have integration with VIA and GO. It is a disgrace to see RJs and turboprops fly into YYZ every day. Look a true global hub like NRT, where every plane landing is a wide body. How come prestigeous airlines like OZ, SQ, NH and JL do not fly here?
Yes, it is unfortunate that they let a single community create so much havoc, and delay the project so much. Especially as everyone knows that the UPE station at Weston will be closed and one opened at Mount Dennis when the Eglinton line opens.
Outrageous? The $19 fare from downtown is less than was being discussed over a decade ago when the project was initiated. $11.40 to the airport from Weston doesn’t seem unreasonable – compared to $9 an hour parking. Compare to $44 for the Heathrow Express. Even the slower (and perhaps more comparable) Heathrow Connects service is $21. For a very similar distance.
No, it’s not rapid transit, or a commuter service – but it was never designed to be. A lot of the complaining about the service seems be tinged about bitterness that it’s a premium airport service rather than them doing a much larger project to improve commuter service. Given that it would have cost a lot more, and taken a lot longer, to deliver such a commuter service – and they are working on that now – I just don’t get it. Seems like complaining that the new car doesn’t come with a lot of storage space in the basement. Apples and oranges.
However, what the city needs is commuter service. The track space and money were committed to a service that will have little impact instead of one that will have a substantial impact. Perhaps this amount of money would not have been enough – however it represented a very substantial portion of it, and the actual space to run tracks is extremely limited, and it has been expended on this. So in your apples and oranges – We went to the grocery store and bought apples which is so happens 3/4 of the family is allergic to … Now the budget is blown and 3/4 of the family will have no fruit. (Were the apples really a good idea?)
LikeLiked by 1 person
Did they not plan for the hot spare? A while back I thought the DMUs would struggle to keep their schedule. Not from any rigorous calculation mind you, but rather a hunch. I can think of one MU route that has a similarly aggressive schedule and its electric: SEPTA’s fox chase branch. Longer and less frequent but with many more stops.
Also the low demand begs the question: What about one car trains? They are MUs after all, they should be able to work on their own.
I didn’t realize. Shows you how much I fly … Strictly a land mammal.
I notice that GO Media Relations is tweeting that (contrary to recent media reports) that ridership is rising. And that detailed ridership information has been provided to reporters that have asked.
I don’t know if you’d seen any of this data Steve.
Steve: There was absolutely no mention of this at the Metrolinx Board meeting. Why does it only emerge after the fact? I will publish the data when I receive it.
The thing that is bunk about this is that for an extra few bucks I can take a taxi. I need a taxi anyways to get to the station at Bloor. So why take it? It should be like Vancouver – part of the subway fare or 10$ or something of the sort otherwise it’s just better to take a taxi. Stupid idiots.
The craziness of this service when viewed from the perspective of moving people vs a premium service is clear if you imagine us doing the same things with lanes on the highway. We can create a premium service between downtown and the airport by chargin a 30$ toll and taking a lane each way from the QEW and 427 and making them express service with 4 entrances along the way. But to maintain the premium service only let 100 people in the lane at any one time … and spend 500 million to make the changes.
Steve: Remember also that this was touted as a way to reduce traffic and pollution. Depressing ridership with high fares works contrary to that goal.
The original service was called Blue 22 because it was only going to take 8 minutes [?? I think you mean 22] but the addition of stops at Weston and Bloor increased the running time to 25+ minutes There are also a lot of slow orders still in place for construction and the throat at Union Station is an unmitigated disaster. Every train I have taken in the recently has had to wait about a minute for switches to clear. Add to that the time required to change ends and perform the mandatory brake test and they cannot do one way in under 30 minutes.
In order to save money they only have cabs at one end and by running them in pairs a train with a dead car can still limp clear of the line.
Looking at the data. Wow, hard to see how one would conclude it’s increasing. Seems pretty static to me. The last 4 days seem to be up – other than that, hard to draw any conclusion, other than ridership dropped from the initial surge, and stabilized in early July.
Perhaps the biggest conclusion, is that there is not enough data yet.
I tried plotting, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday data to see if there were any discernible trends. None.
The Weston stop was included 10 years ago after we pointed out that the GO trains already stopped here and that it was a good link off the 2 highways: hop on the train to the airport bypassing the traffic that often gets jammed up between the 400 exit out to the airport. Also it made more sense than the stop at Woodbine Racetrack that had been originally planned. Can we say ‘gambling train’?
The stop at Dundas West was an addition at the behest of former Mayor, David Miller – it also was not there until demanded. The current fares from Weston preclude many from actively using it as it should have been based on distance which would work out to about $9 or $10 before Presto. At almost $17, it is a slap in the face. And if they had electrified before building, many more stops could have been utilized for the many who would like to take the train to the airport and there could have still been an hourly express train for those who don’t want stops.
From what I observed, Weston simply isn’t being used. Perhaps if they were to build a large parking structure so those on the highway could park there, instead of at Pearson.
It looks like the formula for pricing is $16.50 by distance plus $11 fixed. So those going 1/3 way play $5.50 + $11. Those going 2 stops play $11 + $11. And those going all the way pay $16.50 + $11. I suppose one could claim then it is fare by distance and the $11 is equivalent to the parking cost, rather than the travel cost.
I really can’t see that there’s ever going to be that much traffic from Weston to Pearson. Do you see a lot of people with suitcases waiting for the TTC bus that goes directly there? The real key in the long-term is it’s utility for those travelling to Bloor and Union.
Given that there is (and always will be) capacity off-peak, perhaps some discount off-peak (and maybe even reverse peak) fare would be a good idea for those not travelling to Union. Those travelling peak can take the already relatively frequent GO Train. Perhaps that would make the community happier and utilize excess capacity without overfilling trains. At least until they close the station and move it to Mount Dennis. But presumably by then there will be frequent all-day GO service.
@squibbs2014, more stops would counter the “express” in UPX. It’s station dwell time that dominates the number of stations served, not acceleration. Basically, now you only save time based on traffic.
Sheesh. How much more could it have been to order one single type of car? (a middle with two flat face cabs, à la Budd Car). Its not like they were stingy on any of the other features, especially the terminal! I don’t understand why they didn’t expropriate the space where Via boards track 3 now (quite beautiful sans plywood) and move the Ottawa train and Stouffville train that still uses track three to the other wing or another track.
Steve: It’s not a question of expropriation. The entire terminal is jointly owned by the City and Metrolinx. The real issue was to avoid locking up a full-sized platform with a three-car trainset that would require permanent access. Also, if UPX used a track further south, then its passengers would be mixed in with the GO/Via crowd, and we can’t have that for a “first class” service, can we.
I’d say it practically is already. Only VIA eastbound and non-through GO trains leaving eastbound can use it. So the question of where along the track UPX stops is to my mind moot. VIA doesn’t use 3 terribly often. I think they like having more restricted access to their platforms which they can get on tracks 14-21. Although Via is probably easier to share with than GO with shorter trains.
Steve: At the point that UPX was designed, they seemed to want to keep it out of the main part of the station. Times may have changed, but now we have a UPX terminal way over at the west end of the station. It is unlikely to move.
The capacity plan for Union Station is double berthing, as through trains are operationally poor with the configuration of the USRC ladders. As such, when the UPX platform was designed/built it was assumed that Platform 3 would only be accessed from the east.
There are only a few options left for expanded Union capacity (literally everything has been considered for head-to-head comparisons). There are five possible satellite stations, some eastward platform extensions, and the removal of Track 15/CN-CP North Connector Track for a new platform.
I believe Metrolinx’ numbers to be false for the first 3 months. I live right beside the line and saw train after train each day with 2 – 6 people on it, at best. Sometimes they were empty. No way they were carrying 3000 a day. 300 maybe. Now the numbers more accurately reflect what I’m seeing; 10 – 20 passengers on many trips, but sometimes less. I would like to know where MX’s numbers are really coming from. They have a long history of lying to and disrespecting communities along the line. They are tearing the heck out of the railpath with construction. They also leave the station doors open on Bloor street all day every day. It’s not enough to poison us with diesel, now they have to throw our money away air conditioning the west end. Someone tear down and rebuild Metrolinx please!
Steve, why do you post such stuff? My GO Train went past a UPE train last weekend, and I could easily see 20 or so people in it .. and I certainly couldn’t see all the people in the train. And the one time I took it, quite early in the morning, there must have been 15 or so people at least – I wasn’t counting.
To suggest that Metrolinx is falsifying the data is beyond absurd. My gosh, if they were, wouldn’t they be adding 2700 more rather than 2200 more?
Even the infamous and debunked TTCRiders counts were getting more than 6 people per train …
This is clearly trolling.
Steve: I generally post comments unless they are insulting, wildly off topic, or fall into the Steve-is-the-root-of-all-evil category. If someone think Metrolinx’ numbers are off based on personal opinion and observation, they may well be correct, at least for times/directions when they view the trains.
I even post your comments which tend to stray now and then 😉
As for the trolls, most of their stuff never sees the light of day unless I am feeling mischievous and want to let everyone have a go at telling them how full of crap they are.
Any time I’ve seen a UP train go by, possibly crossing Bloor or Eglinton or Lawrence, my count of passengers would be closer to 2-6 than 20. The vast majority of windows don’t have any profiles in them; one or two do. I suppose if I didn’t have anything better to do, I could hang out at Pearson and actually count. Is the UP platform part of the POP zone?
Steve: You only need a valid ticket if you are on a train, so take the TTC up to the airport, and then watch the service for free. Same situation at Union.
Obviously the UP express clearly wasn’t made to provide value or convenience for anyone in Toronto except a few rich business men/women, and the odd downtown vacationer. And the numbers prove it.
Will the Star’s spokesperson councilor Matlow speak up and demand “answers” like he does every month in the rinse and repeat Star article on the SSE? Not likely….
What a waste it will be to build a line which will actually heavily help boxed-in commuters an opportunity to arrive in the City’s job center in a reasonable manner & place the heart of one of Toronto’s most transit neglected regions onto the same transit backbone as the rest of the City.
Steve: Unlike the SSE, the UPX is a provincial project over which the city has no control.
Legally, yes. But if councillors like Matlow start talking publicly about the imbalance between the actual usage and the potential capacity of two rail tracks occupied by UPX, then the province will take notice sooner or later.
I don’t want to reopen the SSE debate here, but would like to mention that re-purposing UPX will be met with much less opposition than changing course on SSE at this point.
Steve: The UPX was not sold to Weston on the basis that they “deserved it”, but rather rammed down their throats as an invasive construction project. The Weston station was a sop to the locals, but it was included in the project before people knew how high and uncompetitive the fare would be. Imagine if the Scarborough subway turns out to be in “zone 2”.
IMO, the main issue here is not whether the UPX trains stop at Weston Stn, but rather that a service with low ridership occupies track space that could be used by larger trains carrying many times more riders if the fare was affordable for the regular commuters.
Btw, the Weston Stn would be fairly well used if the fare was equal to regular TTC, or TTC plus a small premium.