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Thousands take advantage of free UP Express rides this weekend

Last Updated Feb 14, 2016 at 11:17 pm EDT

Thousands took advantage of Metrolinx’s invitation to ride the struggling UP Express train for free this weekend.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins says over 10,000 people rode the service for free on Saturday, the first day of the three-day trial.

Aikins says the point of the free weekend was to introduce more people to the service, which takes passengers from Union Station to Pearson Airport.

Jessica Bell, with the advocacy group TTC Riders, says the under utilized service could be a success if they made it for everyone.

“It is a waste, because they’ve built the train for the business elite. No one’s riding it,” Bell told CityNews.

“It could be a mass transit line that everyone uses. That’s the opportunity that we’re missing right now.”

One of the biggest complaints of the express train has been the price. Currently its $19 one way with a Presto card and $27.50 without it.

Aikins says Metrolinx will be addressing those concerns over the next month and coming up with a new strategy in order to entice more riders. She’s encouraged by the comments she heard from people who took the service for the first time this weekend.

“We know that when people take it, they love it,” Aikins said.

Free rides on the UP Express will continue through Monday.

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