2016-02-24 Wed

The UP Express - Fares

This just in ... I heard on the 8:30 radio news that today UP Express is to announce a fare reduction from $27($19 on Presto) to $12($9).

After more than a year of predictions/statements that $27 was too high, the penny (in a manner of speaking) drops.

My prediction?

Even at $12($9) most commuters won’t switch to UP Express.

It is still three or four times as expensive as a Toronto Transit Commission fare; it gets you only to an appendage platform outside Union Station (a five-minute walk to Toronto Transit Commission barriers); it services only two west-side stations, and one of them (Bloor/Dundas) requires a 300-metre walk to connect to the Toronto Transit Commission.

Why not just buy the Toronto Transit Commission ticket and get on the Toronto Transit Commission?

Sad but, I believe, my prediction will come true.

Ridership will go up, no doubt about that.

There will be folks who live in high-priced condos near Yonge and Queens Quay who have menial jobs sweeping the floors at Pearson. Or people who live in an airport hotel who have a job in Union Station.

But there aren’t a lot of those sorts of people.

The Toronto Transit Commission and Presto

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Jack “The Fixer” Lakey ran a column about a Presto machine being on the wrong, or at least, the inconvenient side of the Toronto Transit Commission barriers on Wednesday, February 17, 2016.

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Jack observes “A skeptic might see it as passive resistance to Presto by the Toronto Transit Commission” and I am inclined to agree.

The Toronto Transit Commission is about a million years behind every other transit authority in Southern Ontario (except for Bradford which is playing with itself and its own card) in implementing Presto.

Jack quotes Heather Brown, “who ... is to lead communications for the Presto fare system implementation.” Brown said the machine “was placed in the paid area because of current space limitations with the existing token and TTC MetroPass vending machines in the unpaid area.”

Brown continued “If a customer needs to re-load their Presto card and accesses the station from the street, they can speak to the collector, who will let them through to load their card and allow them to re-enter so they can tap their way into the station.”

So the Toronto Transit Commission’s attitude continues to be sod-the-customer; the customer can stand in line with everyone else who is paying a cash fare, in order to ask the collector if he/she will kindly let them through to add cash to their Presto card so that they can exit the system back to where they were five minutes ago and tap their card and enter again.

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Here is the Toronto Star’s photo of the offending machine. No, make that “Here is the Toronto Transit Commission’s offensive placing of the benign machine”.

Your homework exercise is to estimate the footprint of the box and wonder why it couldn’t be sited outside the paid-fare area in a large station like Broadview that boasts streetcar platforms, turning loops and so on.

Issues like this make me not worry that I inadvertently dropped the outward-bound transfer into the box when the collector wasn’t on duty; that’s how I got home with a ticket and a transfer in my pocket instead of two transfers.