Toronto

Union Pearson Express will cost $27.50 one-way, less with Presto card

The one-way fare for the express train between Pearson Airport and downtown Toronto will be $27.50 cash fare, and $19 with Presto fare card.

Costs in line with rest of world's commuter trains, Metrolinx says

Your first glimpse of the new Union-Pearson Express train, at Pearson airport 0:55

The one-way fare for the express train between Pearson Airport and downtown Toronto will be $27.50 cash fare, and $19 with Presto fare card.

The service, called Union Pearson Express or UP Express, launches in 2015.

Senior, student, family or airport worker discounts will lower the price, as airport employees can buy a $300 monthly pass.

The 23-kilometre line will see 18 trains travel along it per day — one every 15 minutes. Travelling from Union Station to Pearson Airport is estimated to take 25 minutes, with two stops at Weston and Bloor stations.

Premier Kathleen Wynne was on hand for the announcement of the fares at Pearson Airport on Wednesday. "A seamless downtown to airport connection is a competitive advantage for businesses,” she said.

Many critics expected the fares to resemble those of the TTC.

Transit expert Steve Munro said there is no incentive to take the UP Express trains over the TTC. He points out the cash fares broken down are considerably higher than the $3 it takes to ride the subway. The Weston-Pearson trip via UP Express would cost $16.50 cash fare and $11.40 with a Presto card, while the Bloor-Pearson trip would cost $22.00 and $15.20, respectively.

Metrolinx, the transit authority running the UP Express, said the service is modelled after "dedicated links in leading European and Asian cities like Stockholm, London, Oslo and Tokyo." It said the fare structure is based on "market trends and passenger demographics, as well as bench marking against local alternative transportation modes."

For instance, Metrolinx reports fares in other parts of the world are in fact higher, including:

  • London's Heathrow Express at $37.
  • Oslo's Flytoget at $28.
  • Stockholm' SJ Regional at $42.
  • Lyon's Rhonexpress at $22.
  • Tokyo's Narita Express at $29.

Metrolinx is targeting 2.5 million passengers per year to recover operating costs. It expects to do that in three to five years.

Fare structure will be presented to Metrolinx board of directors on Thursday for approval.

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: 

1. UP Express: 25 minutes, $27.50.
2. Limo: 45-60 minutes, approx. $70.
3. Taxi: 45-60 minutes, approx. $60.
4. Go Transit: 45-60 minutes, approx. $8.
5. TTC: 75-90 minutes, approx. $3. 
6. Bus: 45-60 minutes, approx. $28. 

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