UP Express train too expensive, growing number of Toronto residents say
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Wednesday, August 5, 2015 6:01AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, August 5, 2015 12:10PM EDT
Nearly 70 per cent of respondents to a new Forum Research poll say the standard one-way fare on the Union Pearson Express train of $27.50 is too expensive.
Sixty-eight per cent of respondents to the poll conducted Aug. 1 and 2 said the train costs too much, compared with 58 per cent of respondents who were asked the same question in a poll conducted in April.
About the same number of respondents agreed with the statement that the train should be incorporated into the TTC, with more stops and a much lower fare.
“It appears Torontonians use and accept the necessity of an airport link, it’s just that they think it should cost half as much and stop more,” Forum Research president Lorne Bozinoff said. “It’s instructive that, after 6 weeks of operation, voters think it’s more expensive than they did initially, and are less likely to use it.”
The poll of 892 randomly selected Toronto residents found nine per cent of respondents have already used the train, and another 16 per cent of respondents have not yet used it but say they are likely to use it in the future.
Only 39 per cent of respondents said they would use the train, down from 46 per cent who said they’d use the train when asked in April. When asked what the appropriate one-way fare should be, an average of all responses was $12.
Riders who hold a Presto electronic travel card can ride the train at a cost of $19 each way.
Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said in a statement that the service has a "very flexible pricing model" with discounts for seniors, families, children, students, groups and those visiting the airport but not flying.
"The Forum poll did not ask people about the lower pricing options--$19 with a PRESTO card; and about $16 from Bloor and $11 from Weston for customers using their PRESTO card, or other discounts. The poll reinforced that we need to continue to educate the public about the flexible pricing options."
Provincial transit agency Metrolinx built the airport to downtown link at a cost of $456 million in 2010 dollars. Shortly after service began June 6, officials from Metrolinx said the service was attracting about 3,250 riders per day.
The poll has a margin of error of +/- three per cent, 19 times out of 20.