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Metrolinx will consider dropping UP Express prices

Metrolinx say it will consider dropping the price to ride the struggling UP Express.

Ridership of the gold-plated airport shuttle that runs between Pearson Airport and Union Station dipped below expectations at the end of last year, hitting an all time low.

Numbers show that in both November and December monthly ridership dipped under 70,000, with an average of 2,300 riders every day.

UP Express Monthly Ridership Numbers courtesy of Metrolinx

Metrolinx had originally set a goal of 5,000 riders per day for the first year of the service.

Spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins admits the service has struggled to change the travel habits of both business and leisure travellers.

“We have to get business travellers, to encourage them through incentives, through partnerships, for them to switch their behaviour on how they get to the airport,” Aikins explained.

“Leisure travellers have a lot of anxiety when they travel so they tend to get to the airport the way they always did, whether it’s a cab, a limo, whether friends drive them … you kind of stick to what you know,” she continued.

But from the start many people complained that the price to ride the UP Express was just too high. A one-way fare for the UP Express costs $27.50 but those with Presto card can hop on for $19.

“We really want more people to enjoy the service,” Aikins said. “We’re looking at all the barriers, whether that’s price, we’re looking at better signage so people can locate it, we’re looking at different kinds of promotional campaigns.”

One promotion Metrolinx has already set in place is offering free service on the UP Express during the Family Day weekend.

Metrolinx’s board of directors will meet on Wednesday to discuss any possible changes to UP Express service.