Union Pearson Express to start running June 6

Travellers wanting to get from the airport to downtown can take the new Union Station-to-Pearson International Airport express train starting June 6.

'Today is a milestone,' says premier

The Union Pearson Express is set to enter service soon. The train will take 25 minutes to travel between downtown and the airport, with departures every 15 minutes. (Mike Cole/CBC)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took a 23-minute trip on Wednesday morning on the Union Station-to-Pearson International Airport express train.

Travellers wanting to get from the airport to downtown can do the same starting June 6, the premier announced.

"Today is a milestone," said Wynne after her trip with Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca and Metrolinx president Bruce McCuaig.

She said for decades the province has neglected infrastructure, but that ends with her government.

It marks Wynne's second transit-related announcement in as many days. She said Tuesday that Ontario would spend $1.6 billion to build a new light rail line linking two Toronto-area cities, Brampton and Mississauga.

The new airport trains have been undergoing testing for several months in preparation for a spring launch.

Time and price

Metrolinx says the new train will ferry passengers between downtown Toronto and the airport in 25 minutes and will depart every 15 minutes during airport hours.

The premier's trip took only 23 minutes because it skipped two stops.

A one-way fare will cost $27.50 or $19 with the multi-transit system PRESTO card.

Metrolinx defends the cost and time of the trip by comparing it to other transit options to the airport. 

Metrolinx published some of the market research surrounding UP Express, in which it compared the price/travel time between the rail link and other modes of Toronto airport transportation: 

  • UP Express: 25 minutes, $27.50.
  • Limo: 45-60 minutes, approx. $70.
  • Taxi: 45-60 minutes, approx. $60.
  • GO Transit: 45-60 minutes, approx. $8.
  • TTC: 75-90 minutes, approx. $3. 
  • Bus: 45-60 minutes, approx. $28. 

'We couldn't have got it done'

Other criticisms of the UP Express project is that the train runs on diesel as opposed to a cleaner, electric option.

Wynne called it the cleanest diesel possible, but also said there was no way to get an electric train running for the Pan Am and Parapan Games. The games start July 10.

"We couldn't have got it done," she said. "This timeframe demanded that we do it this way."

With files from the Canadian Press

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