Emulating the high fares of the Heathrow Express was the agenda of the provincial government from the beginning, and despite doubts and criticisms from just about all corners, the service opened last summer with the high fares. Now, 8 months later, amidst all manner of criticism, it is the premier who is calling on Metrolinx for a rethink, to hopefully save the day and attempt to take credit for a new fare regime that will attract rather than offend the public.
But will they listen to the flak all around?
With such a disastrous (albeit predicted) start that needs to be forgotten, I suggest a fare structure similar to GO. Union to Malton (about the same distance) is $6.85 (Presto), so the UPX Presto fare should be $7. No ifs and buts, just a straight $7. That is unlikely to offend and likely attract many of the critics. Remember too that the fares will ‘talk’, inherently advertising and promoting, thus reducing the need for many of the promotional efforts currently underway.
Maintaining the simplicity, cash fare should be $9. or $10.; and one and two stop fares also in simple round figures.
No mincing around with smaller reductions, just do it and get it working as it should. If by chance a year from now it is overloaded, then perhaps increase fares a little. Yes, lower fares will cost taxpayers, but so do high fares, at least with the proposed fares they get something for their money.
This is also a great opportunity to interline fares with GO train and bus services using Presto. GO charges $9.95 (Presto) Oshawa to Union, and $6.85 Union to Malton, for a total of $16.80. Oshawa to Malton however is $11.78 (Presto), so an interline fare Oshawa to the airport should be $12.; round figures again. GO interlining should include all buses into Union Bus Terminal.
Interline Brampton via Weston also, $7.. In this instance the GO service needs immediate improvement to all day/evening/weekend, and 30 minute service. Capacity exists, although UPX might get delayed a minute or two occasionally.
Interlining GO/UPX is an excellent demonstration of what we should expect throughout the system, eventually.