Transit advocacy group, TTCriders has released a video showing how the new UP Express trains put communities in peril, on the day of the official launch of the service.

Sign the petition for clean, affordable trains from Union Station to Pearson Airport.

The 30-second historical-themed video shows local Parkdale-High Park MPP Cheri Di Novo tied on train tracks about to be runover by a UP Express train.  Transit Minister MPP Steven Del Duca and Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig are the bad guys hovering over the quivering Di Novo.

“I once told a community meeting that I would tie myself to the tracks if the government allows the UP Express to barrel through Toronto neighbourhood polluting dirty diesel fumes,” said MPP Cheri Di Novo. “We need clean electric trains that provide transportation for everyone at affordable rates,” she said.

“On June 1 a big group of children visited Queen’s Park to plead to the Ontario government to electrify the train,” she said. “They are the generation that will be burdened with the challenge to fix the mistakes of this generation. Not doing it right the first time is irresponsible,” she said.

“Metrolinx and the Wynnne Government are running roughshod over residents just to provide an expensive train service for the rich,” said TTCriders spokesperson, Jessica Bell.

“The UP Express trains hurt community members, because the trains don’t stop in our neighbourhood, they pollute the air, and they’re too expensive for us to ride,” she said.

Up to 400 diesel trains a day will run from Union Station to Pearson Airport as part of the new Union Pearson Express service.  The trains pass through one of the most heavily populated regions in Canada, close to 76 schools, 96 day care centres, and four long-term care facilitities.  Studies link diesel trains with adverse health effects including premature death, asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

“Kids have a right to breathe clean air, and this colouring competition gives our kids the chance to creatively stand up for clean, affordable trains,” said Arwyn Carpenter, a teacher at Perth Ave Public School, which is located just a football field from the tracks.

Diesel fumes include many toxic chemicals including arsenic, benzene, cadmium, dioxins, lead, and mercury.  Numerous studies link diesel trains with adverse health effects, including premature death, asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer. The coalition is calling on Queen’s Park to lower the fares, build more stops, and run clean electric trains that do not contribute to local air pollution and health problems.

It will cost up to $27.50 to ride the train, 900% higher than the cost of riding the TTC.  The train will only have two stops between the terminals, despite the line traveling through one of the most densely populated areas in Canada.  For comparison, the 26 km Bloor-Danforth TTC line has 31 stops in total.

TTCriders is calling for a true public transit service from Union Station to Pearson Airport with TTC-level fares, more stops, and clean electrified trains.

Thank you to Adam Smith for making this amazing video.

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