February 18th, 2016

Warnings about flawed UP Express business model ignored by Premier

With the government finally conceding that their business model for Union Pearson Express was flawed, NDP Urban Transit critic Cheri DiNovo asked the Premier if she regrets her decision, as Minister of Transportation at the time, to completely ignore warnings from residents and experts.

“The Union Pearson Express was originally supposed to be run by the private sector at no cost to the public, but the private sector understood that this business model wouldn’t work,” said DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale -High Park. “Despite this, the Minister of Transportation at the time insisted that the air-rail link proceed as planned under the same flawed business model and asked Metrolinx to take over the project. That minister is now the Premier.”

Reports earlier this month revealed ridership on the UP Express continues to decrease, while users of public transit continue to struggle with crowded subways, buses and streetcars.

“There are ten times the number of riders on the Dufferin bus and it doesn’t have its own marketing department,” said DiNovo.

“Does the Premier now regret her decision to ignore all the warning signs, ignore the experts, ignore the people and push ahead with an expensive, dirty diesel, empty train?” asked DiNovo.

The Premier deferred to the Minister of Transportation, who conceded that there is “broad recognition” that the government is now wrestling with many of the issues they chose to ignore when the express train was originally proposed.