Give workers a break on Union Pearson Express: Editorial

Airport workers deserve a discount fare they can truly afford aboard a new rail line connecting Union Station and Pearson International Airport.

The Union Pearson Express rail is expected to open next year.

CHRIS SO / TORONTO STAR Order this photo

The Union Pearson Express rail is expected to open next year.

It appears a posh new rail service opening next year, connecting Union Station and Pearson International Airport, is meant mainly for tourists and the business class. Consider it the Cadillac of public transit. But that doesn’t mean airport workers should be left behind due to high prices.

Metrolinx, the provincial agency that will run the line, is to release its fare structure on Thursday. And the cost of a one-way ride is expected to be somewhere between $20 and $30. That’s obviously too much for daily commuters. A discount fare is envisioned, but a meeting with Metrolinx officials ended last week with airport workers expressing disappointment.

It’s not at all clear that a truly practical fare for employees is in the works. Rides on theUnion Pearson Express will likely be so expensive that even a 50-per-cent price cut may render travel beyond the reach of the working class.

People going to the airport to earn their daily bread deserve a fare geared to their needs. That means it shouldn’t be too much more than current Toronto Transit Commission fares.

This needn’t pose an excessive burden on Metrolinx. The Star’s Tess Kalinowski reports that agency’s own estimates indicate only about 3,500 airport employees live within the new rail line’s catchment area (out of a total of 40,000 staff). And only about 1,400 of them are interested in using the service. It shouldn’t cost too much to give these workers a break.

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