This week we sent a letter to Premier Wynne, Transportation Minister, Steven Del Duca, and Metrolinx requesting they make the Union-Pearson line a clean, affordable, and public train line with multiple stops. We also called on them to engage in public consultation before a fare price is set. Read the letter below.
Dear Premier Wynne, MPP Steven Del Duca, Mr. Prichard, fellow members of the Metrolinx board, and MPPs representing riders along the Union Pearson line,
The TTC is bursting at the seams with record ridership levels, and traffic congestion is at crisis point. As the largest expansion of rail since the Spadina line, the Union-Pearson link has the potential to significantly improve Toronto’s transit system and alleviate Toronto’s transit woes.
While we welcome the completion of the Union-Pearson train link, we have a number of concerns about the project.
Our concerns include: the rumoured prohibitively high fares to use the service; the lack of consultation with airport workers and residents in the surrounding neighbourhoods; the limited number of stops along the line; and no clear commitment to quickly electrify the line.
Transit users need lower, more affordable fares. Affordable fares make it possible for more people to take public transit, including low income workers and residents who struggle to make ends meet. Metrolinx’s rumoured plan to price fares at up to $30 will mean that this service will be very limited. Metrolinx should respond to the needs of transit users and make the fares affordable to all transit users.
Torontonians also need to know when more stations will be introduced into the line. Stations on the UP train line need to be near TTC stops, which would allow Torontonians to easily transfer to and from the TTC to the Union-Pearson train link and ensure this new line is fully integrated into Toronto’s transit system.
The conversion of the train service to electricity should be done as soon as possible because evidence links diesel trains with increases in asthma and cancer rates in nearby communities.
Transit affects all Torontonians, including Toronto’s 1.6 million daily TTC riders. Yet, Metrolinx has not adequately accommodated the concerns of Torontonians. Public consultation is crucial before any decision on fares is made.
In summary, we request the Premier and Metrolinx to:
- price the fare at affordable TTC-level rates and accept fare transfers.
- include more stops along the line
- prioritize the electrification of the line, and identify a date for when electrification will take place.
- engage in meaningful consultation with residents living in the west end of Toronto by organizing a public meeting with TTCriders in November before a decision is made about the cost of riding the Union-Pearson line.
- commit to keeping the service public.
We have a great opportunity to significantly improve our public transit network by ensuring the Union-Pearson line is an affordable, accessible, integrated, public, and clean train line that can be used by all Torontonians. This line has the potential to become an important component of Toronto’s transit network.
We look forward to your response.
Herman Rosenfeld, Co-chair, North West Transit Group
John Campey, Executive Director
Social Planning Toronto
Kamilla Pietrzyk, Member
Greater Toronto Workers Assembly
Sean Smith, Organizer
Toronto Airport Council of Unions