Well blow me down! Who would have ever thought that the fancy, new $456 million dollar rail link between Union Station and Pearson International Airport in Toronto would be operating at ninety percent empty! (I’m allowed an exclamation mark here) or in other words, just ten percent of capacity? After all, look at its genius state-of-the-art diesel operating system; its elite-class fare structure of a mere $27.50 for a one-way ticket; its stand-alone functionality. And unless you enjoy humping your luggage up the various levels of stairs to Front Street and then up University Avenue, York Street or Yonge Street in the rain and snow you have to switch to a cab or subway from Union Station to your hotel, adding to the cost. The thinking behind the scheme is genius. Keep the fares expensive to discourage commuter riff-raff from joy-riding to work on the same train as business-class visitors to our city. Horrors. They do that in Paris, London and dozens of other major cities in the world but we sure don’t want to encourage that kind of intermingling of the classes here. Tax-paying commuters do not deserve a quick, easy and affordable way to get from the northwest end of the city to the core.
It could have been so good. But our brilliant politicians don’t do “good”. They specialize in self-serving, short-sighted and downright stupid schemes that completely ignore the needs and wants of the users in favour of sucking up to some commercial interest that has nothing to do with the big picture. Hence, a diesel train on railroad stock. I guess UP Express website’s prediction of taking 1.2 million cars off the road in its first year of operation was a teeny bit optimistic. In fact I couldn’t even find a route map of the line on their website. Apparently there two stops called Weston and Dundas West but exactly where they are, I have no idea
London, England and Paris, France both offer subway links with cheap fares from the airport that connect directly with other city subway lines downtown. For reasons unknown to the average taxpayer, the different levels of government (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) couldn’t see the logic in this so they developed a hair-brained scheme that excludes the majority of potential users. Between this fiasco, Ontario Hydro (or whatever they call themselves now to avoid our wrath), the gas plant boondoggles, elite tolls on already-built old highways and any number of other tax-payer ripoffs, when are we going to stop being polite Canadians and make our politicians accountable for their stupidity and narrow-mindedness. I’ve been ranting about these issues forever. I’m running out of gas and I may have to take the subway, but it doesn’t run where I want to go.