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Old March 7th, 2016, 05:37 PM   #1961
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I think this was really the problem. They were expecting the project to recoup the initial investment, when most public transport projects do well to just cover their operating costs. If UPX was expected to be so lucrative that the farebox would cover not only the operating costs but also the initial investment to build it, then the private sector could and should have done it without government help.

But with many infrastructure projects, the benefits aren't direct financial benefits (profit), but rather indirect economic benefits and quality of life enhancements. If that's the case, then the farebox recovery ratio shouldn't be as important in terms of judging the project's benefits and overall success. Perhaps this is just a case of unrealistic expectations.
You can't repay interest and principal by touting the non-financial benefits. The reality is they need to break even and not have this drain government resources for years to come. It was not a sound financial decision to build it in the first place, but now that the thing is open and running, it is time to turn this UPX into a typical TTC commuter service and hopefully minimize the losses.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 05:57 AM   #1962
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You can't repay interest and principal by touting the non-financial benefits
Much in the same way that you can't repay the cost of your other worthwhile expenditures like food, shelter, clothing or recreation by touting the non-financial benefits. You don't need to prove that something doesn't cost anything or pays for itself in order for it to be worthwhile.

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The reality is they need to break even and not have this drain government resources for years to come. It was not a sound financial decision to build it in the first place, but now that the thing is open and running, it is time to turn this UPX into a typical TTC commuter service and hopefully minimize the losses.
If that was the case, it would apply equally to all public transport services, and all public services in general. The vast majority of public transport services outside eastern Asia don't cover their total operating cost or any of their capital cost. Such investments aren't a "drain on government resources", they're the reason governments exist and gather resources though tax dollars in the first place. Governments' main purpose is to provide services whose benefit is something other than a direct financial return. Services whose benefit is a direct financial return don't usually need government assistance.

Not to mention the irony in how you suggest that the UPX should be GO branded to help it recoup the investment, when GO transit itself has a farebox recovery ratio under 80%. It doesn't pay for any capital costs either, so that's a complete non-issue.
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Old March 17th, 2016, 05:38 PM   #1963
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If that was the case, it would apply equally to all public transport services, and all public services in general. The vast majority of public transport services outside eastern Asia don't cover their total operating cost or any of their capital cost. Such investments aren't a "drain on government resources", they're the reason governments exist and gather resources though tax dollars in the first place. Governments' main purpose is to provide services whose benefit is something other than a direct financial return. Services whose benefit is a direct financial return don't usually need government assistance.

Not to mention the irony in how you suggest that the UPX should be GO branded to help it recoup the investment, when GO transit itself has a farebox recovery ratio under 80%. It doesn't pay for any capital costs either, so that's a complete non-issue.
Well, if providing "services whose benefit is something other than a direct financial return", then the money for UPX should have gone to other lines that have a far more pressing need but would have lost money anyway, instead of building dedicated airport line perceived to be for rich business people and not for the average joe getting to work. But then, a lot of these decisions are political and not necessarily align to the biggest need.

As alluded to previously, the fact that the private sector stepped away from this in the first place probably hinted the government can drain their tax dollars and lose money for more worthwhile causes. It is now a sunk cost so the next step is to make it more suitable for the average joe and hopefully cut some of the losses at the same time.
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Old March 18th, 2016, 05:13 AM   #1964
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Whether or not this line was the best use of funds compared to other potential projects is a great question, but it's a totally separate question from how line should be administered now that the investment has been made. The fact is, the decision was made to invest in a line designed to be a low passenger volume airport express service, and trying to use it for something that it wasn't designed for and is totally unsuitable for, such as a high volume commuter service, does nothing to add value to it. That would simply cost a lot more money that would be better spent upgrading the Kitchener GO line.

There's an old saying in the West, which is "Locking the barn door after the horse has escaped" which basically just means that it's pointless to take actions that would have been useful to prevent something negative before it happened, but does nothing to correct it once it occurs.
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Old March 18th, 2016, 02:08 PM   #1965
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Originally Posted by Nouvellecosse View Post
Whether or not this line was the best use of funds compared to other potential projects is a great question, but it's a totally separate question from how line should be administered now that the investment has been made. The fact is, the decision was made to invest in a line designed to be a low passenger volume airport express service, and trying to use it for something that it wasn't designed for and is totally unsuitable for, such as a high volume commuter service, does nothing to add value to it. That would simply cost a lot more money that would be better spent upgrading the Kitchener GO line.

There's an old saying in the West, which is "Locking the barn door after the horse has escaped" which basically just means that it's pointless to take actions that would have been useful to prevent something negative before it happened, but does nothing to correct it once it occurs.
So people know UPX is not going to work the way it is now. People know it needs to embrace commuter service in order to succeed and stop bleeding. The solution is to upgrade another line that can achieve the same rather than easily increase frequencies on the UPX to at least provide some sort of minimal but improved commuter service.

Sounds like Western inertia and incompetence. Who is getting paid to make these decisions?

I eagerly await ridership statistics a few months from now to see whether commuters have embraced the cheaper fares. If that doesn't work out, then even upgrading GO won't achieve much for the residents along the line within 416's borders.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 06:24 AM   #1966
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So people know UPX is not going to work the way it is now.
People know it wasn't getting the expected ridership with the previous prices, but I haven't heard anyone suggest that the lower prices won't allow it work better. I'm not sure what you're drawing this conclusion from.

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People know it needs to embrace commuter service in order to succeed and stop bleeding.
I haven't heard anyone suggest this other than you, and I've explained several reasons why it isn't true.

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The solution is to upgrade another line that can achieve the same rather than easily increase frequencies on the UPX to at least provide some sort of minimal but improved commuter service.

Sounds like Western inertia and incompetence. Who is getting paid to make these decisions?

If it actually were easier and more cost effective to alter the UPX to handle high passenger volumes than to upgrade another adjacent line, then that might be true. But it would be harder, more expensive, and less practical. To spend more money on one line to accomplish the same thing that could be accomplished by spending less money on another line would definitely be silly.

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I eagerly await ridership statistics a few months from now to see whether commuters have embraced the cheaper fares. If that doesn't work out, then even upgrading GO won't achieve much for the residents along the line within 416's borders.
Well the UPX is intended to provide an express connection between downtown and the airport for travellers, so as long as the lower fares capture more of that traffic then it will be a success. It isn't intended for commuters like GO is, so the UPX not appealing to a market that it isn't intended for has nothing to do with whether GO will appeal to a market that it actually is intended for. No matter how hard someone tries to connect it, there's just no connection.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 02:34 PM   #1967
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If it actually were easier and more cost effective to alter the UPX to handle high passenger volumes than to upgrade another adjacent line, then that might be true. But it would be harder, more expensive, and less practical. To spend more money on one line to accomplish the same thing that could be accomplished by spending less money on another line would definitely be silly.

Well the UPX is intended to provide an express connection between downtown and the airport for travellers, so as long as the lower fares capture more of that traffic then it will be a success. It isn't intended for commuters like GO is, so the UPX not appealing to a market that it isn't intended for has nothing to do with whether GO will appeal to a market that it actually is intended for. No matter how hard someone tries to connect it, there's just no connection.
The government bureaucrats said othewrise. Premier Kathleen Wynne suggested the possibility of better using the intermediate stations to passengers to reach downtown and told Metrolinx to look into it. So this is not going to survive as a dedicated airport express line.

City Councillor Josh Matlow also commented in the same article that is is shameful to spend half a billion for a business traveler's luxury train in light of the city's transit needs.

So the success factor is not more airport passengers taking UPX, but for it to be a service for city residents. Needless to say, the ultimate result is a popular line that can break even.

A 12-coach GO train can seat 1800 passengers. During the weekday rush, trains stop inside 416 borders only about every 30 minutes.

A 3-car UPX train can accomodate 173 seated passengers. If service is modestly improved from 4x an hour to 8x an hour, the line's capacity jumps to almost 1400 passengers, which is comparable to a GO train, but spreads the load over time and offers more choice / frequency for customers.

So I don't see why people think turning UPX into a commuter line isn't sustainable, and that the infrastructure cannot handle it. This is assuming the 3-car UPX trains stay, so there are no station modifications whatsoever. Run the same trains more frequently. Simple.

Keep in mind GO's Kitchener line, which is a commuter service, runs at quite sparse frequencies.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 09:14 PM   #1968
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City councillors and provincial Premiers aren't government bureaucrats, they're politicians. A bureaucrat is someone who works in the background to organize and manage things, and a politician is someone who works in the foreground to gain public support for the government and its agenda.

The article and Premier's comments don't give any indication that such an option is a good idea, or will ever happen. They're simply non-committal, off-the-cuff comments by a non-expert after a critical report was released, in order to calm public criticism. Obviously she's taking heat in terms of the service's cost in light of the ridership numbers, so she said that Metrolink needs to "look at all the options" in order to appease the public (damage control). That doesn't mean such an option is feasible or even preferable, nor does the article suggest in any way that it is. She admitted right in the same article that the line isn't designed to be a commuter service.

Of course, it is possible that politicians could interfere with transit planners and impose impractical political decisions (something that you criticised earlier in the thread) but I suspect you'll be much more forgiving if they're decision you personally agree with.

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A 12-coach GO train can seat 1800 passengers. During the weekday rush, trains stop inside 416 borders only about every 30 minutes.

A 3-car UPX train can accomodate 173 seated passengers. If service is modestly improved from 4x an hour to 8x an hour, the line's capacity jumps to almost 1400 passengers, which is comparable to a GO train, but spreads the load over time and offers more choice / frequency for customers.

So I don't see why people think turning UPX into a commuter line isn't sustainable, and that the infrastructure cannot handle it. This is assuming the 3-car UPX trains stay, so there are no station modifications whatsoever. Run the same trains more frequently. Simple.

Keep in mind GO's Kitchener line, which is a commuter service, runs at quite sparse frequencies.
If you're going to spend the money needed to increase the number of train trips that the corridor can handle, it makes much more sense to increase the number of longer trains than the number of shorter trains. It's much easier to add an extra two trains per hour than four trains per hour, and two more GO trains adds much more capacity (3600) than four more UPX trains (692). And the airport doesn't need the extra service, but stop further along the Kitchener line such as Bramlea could use it. If the central corridor actually can handle an extra 4 trains per hour, then it makes sense for them to be longer rather than shorter trains. That's why.


Btw, doubling the service frequency (100% more) of a line isn't a modest increase.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 09:43 PM   #1969
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The UPX operates over tha section of line with the most tracks, which means that the line can better absorb more trains, with less work. Also, UPX and GO use different platforms heights (GO really needs to go to high-platforms), and therefore it would be easier in some ways to use UPX, if the fleet is already available.
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Old March 19th, 2016, 09:50 PM   #1970
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Increasing service on the Kitchener line doesn't mean the entire line. There's no reason that GO needs to extend the service increases further than the tracks can handle (unless of course passenger volume further out demands it). But if it does, then UPX service doesn't help with that either. There are alady cases when GO trips only extend part way, such as on Lakeshore West, which has trips that only run between intermediate stations such as between Oakville and Union.

Would definitely be nice for GO to get high platforms though. Maybe someday...
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Old March 20th, 2016, 08:28 AM   #1971
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The article and Premier's comments don't give any indication that such an option is a good idea, or will ever happen. They're simply non-committal, off-the-cuff comments by a non-expert after a critical report was released, in order to calm public criticism. Obviously she's taking heat in terms of the service's cost in light of the ridership numbers, so she said that Metrolink needs to "look at all the options" in order to appease the public (damage control). That doesn't mean such an option is feasible or even preferable, nor does the article suggest in any way that it is. She admitted right in the same article that the line isn't designed to be a commuter service.
When the government that funded this thing speaks out that things will change, it is good indication that something will indeed change ahead. We saw the fares go down. Let's see what more comes next.

You can't deny there has been a lot of rumblings against keeping the UPX as a dedicated airport line for business travelers in light of the city's transit needs.

According to the latest UPX passenger numbers just released a few days ago, commuters accounted for 17% of ridership on the first day of the new cheaper price.

The different levels of government committed, re-committed, but never gave funding when it comes to infrastructure in Toronto over the past few decades. But with UPX failing, the Premier made a good suggestion that they look at commuter traffic when airport traffic failed to materialize. This is strong indication that the dedicated airport line for business travelers is over.

So the change will be turning this dedicated airport line to commuter service, which she said needs to be explored.

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If you're going to spend the money needed to increase the number of train trips that the corridor can handle, it makes much more sense to increase the number of longer trains than the number of shorter trains. It's much easier to add an extra two trains per hour than four trains per hour, and two more GO trains adds much more capacity (3600) than four more UPX trains (692). And the airport doesn't need the extra service, but stop further along the Kitchener line such as Bramlea could use it. If the central corridor actually can handle an extra 4 trains per hour, then it makes sense for them to be longer rather than shorter trains. That's why.
Not all GO trains stop within 416. GO service is not intended to serve 416 commuters, but rather bring long distance commutes into Union within a reasonable amount of time. That being said, the TTC and GO can most certainly work with UPX on fare alignment, which has been suggested and is the right step for transit integration (so much for a dedicated airport line for business travelers).

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Btw, doubling the service frequency (100% more) of a line isn't a modest increase.
Looking at the passenger numbers, the increase is modest.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 12:32 AM   #1972
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When the government that funded this thing speaks out that things will change, it is good indication that something will indeed change ahead. We saw the fares go down. Let's see what more comes next.
But based on the article you posted, the government has not committed to any changes. It only says that Metrolink will be looking at "all the options". That's basically government speak for wanting to pacify the public's current anger by appearing to take action, so that they can decide later on to do whatever is most appropriate after people have mostly forgotten about the issue.

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You can't deny there has been a lot of rumblings against keeping the UPX as a dedicated airport line for business travelers in light of the city's transit needs.
There were people who weren't pleased about the original decision to build the line to begin with who I'm sure will use the low ridership numbers as an excuse to attack the project further. But the people who were open to the project to begin with seem to be satisfied with the fare re-structuring.

Personally, I didn't consider this route the most important priority, but I do understand that when it comes to big events like the Pan Am games, there is a certain amount of momentum that a city can capitalize on to accomplish things that may not be possible otherwise. Such events can help create the sense of urgency to dislodge political deadlock. So it may not have been a choice between this project and something else, but rather between this and further stagnation. And from that perspective, something is much better than nothing.

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According to the latest UPX passenger numbers just released a few days ago, commuters accounted for 17% of ridership on the first day of the new cheaper price.

The different levels of government committed, re-committed, but never gave funding when it comes to infrastructure in Toronto over the past few decades. But with UPX failing, the Premier made a good suggestion that they look at commuter traffic when airport traffic failed to materialize. This is strong indication that the dedicated airport line for business travelers is over.

So the change will be turning this dedicated airport line to commuter service, which she said needs to be explored.
UPX isn't failing; the previous pricing structure was failing. That kind of dramatization seems to be popular among those who disliked the project to begin with, but something being popular doesn't make it true.

And about those ridership numbers, 17% commuters seems extremely low which is exactly what I'd expect for a line not intended for commuter service. And the article doesn't even say if that percentage actually increased after the price drop. For all we know, the new pricing just attracted more airport travellers, and commuters made up an even smaller percentage than before!

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Not all GO trains stop within 416. GO service is not intended to serve 416 commuters, but rather bring long distance commutes into Union within a reasonable amount of time. That being said, the TTC and GO can most certainly work with UPX on fare alignment, which has been suggested and is the right step for transit integration (so much for a dedicated airport line for business travelers).
Not all GO trains stop in the 416, but all GO routes have stops within the 416. And there's no reason why further investment couldn't be made to enhance the service to those stops or even create new ones. What's clear is that investing additional funds in GO would provide capacity to far more passengers than if the same additional investment were made to UPX.

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Looking at the passenger numbers, the increase is modest.
Not according to the article you posted! That article said:

"A week after the provincial agency cut fares by more than half, early estimates show that ridership is holding steady at about 5,000 a day.
Before the price drop, the UPX was only drawing about 2,000 to 2,200 riders."

That's an increase of OVER 100%. Just imagine if someone who weighed 150lbs gained over 150lbs and called it a modest weight increase. Or someone who made $25,000 per year had their pay increase to over $50,000, and said they got a modest pay raise.

I wouldn't call anything beyond a 25% increase modest. That would mean a service with 4 trains per hour increasing to 5.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 07:38 PM   #1973
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But based on the article you posted, the government has not committed to any changes. It only says that Metrolink will be looking at "all the options". That's basically government speak for wanting to pacify the public's current anger by appearing to take action, so that they can decide later on to do whatever is most appropriate after people have mostly forgotten about the issue.
But UPX is indeed changing. Fares went down significantly and is not staying as the premium service for business travelers. It is not just some BS political talk amounting to nothing. The rumblings about empty trains pushed management to act unexpectedly early.

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There were people who weren't pleased about the original decision to build the line to begin with who I'm sure will use the low ridership numbers as an excuse to attack the project further. But the people who were open to the project to begin with seem to be satisfied with the fare re-structuring.

Personally, I didn't consider this route the most important priority, but I do understand that when it comes to big events like the Pan Am games, there is a certain amount of momentum that a city can capitalize on to accomplish things that may not be possible otherwise. Such events can help create the sense of urgency to dislodge political deadlock. So it may not have been a choice between this project and something else, but rather between this and further stagnation. And from that perspective, something is much better than nothing.
The problem with Toronto is it needs big ticket one-offs to push through vital infrastructure developments that were needed 20 years ago. When Olympic bids failed, the promises fell apart. At least this one did come into fruition while the Gardiner remains a decaying eyesore as is the Portlands.

I wouldn't give any applause they got a useless line which is considered better than nothing. Who pays for its construction? Who pays for its operation? Ultimately, the taxpayer is on the hook, so is anything better than nothing really a good thing?

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UPX isn't failing; the previous pricing structure was failing. That kind of dramatization seems to be popular among those who disliked the project to begin with, but something being popular doesn't make it true.
Both pricing and the concept failed, and it is easy to see why. Check the passenger numbers at Pearson.

Average daily passenger volume (based on 2015 YTD September data published by GTAA) at Pearson was over 116,000 passengers (31.4 million total). Yet, ridership on the UPX bounced from 2000 to 5000 only. Isn't that a pitiful figure? So is the dedicated airport express line successful when such a tiny fraction of the airport's passengers get there by a half billion dollar train?

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And about those ridership numbers, 17% commuters seems extremely low which is exactly what I'd expect for a line not intended for commuter service. And the article doesn't even say if that percentage actually increased after the price drop. For all we know, the new pricing just attracted more airport travellers, and commuters made up an even smaller percentage than before!
Actually, 1 in 5 riders being commuters is very high given the UPX is a much more expensive alternative to the TTC even after the fares went down and there is no fare or route integration whatsoever with the TTC or GO. This shows commuter use has good potential. Combined with the above stats on airport usage, it shows how insignificant UPX is for passengers using the airport. So it is time to look beyond the airport.

5000 passengers, or which only 83% are for the airport, for an average daily airport usage of 116,000 is pitiful.

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Not all GO trains stop in the 416, but all GO routes have stops within the 416. And there's no reason why further investment couldn't be made to enhance the service to those stops or even create new ones. What's clear is that investing additional funds in GO would provide capacity to far more passengers than if the same additional investment were made to UPX.
Those that live in the far areas of the GTA that use GO, and what GO was intended to be used for, won't be happy their long commutes are about to get much longer by adding many stops within 416.

So if investing in GO is the answer, then UPX should go away and its infrastructure converted to GO.

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Not according to the article you posted! That article said:

"A week after the provincial agency cut fares by more than half, early estimates show that ridership is holding steady at about 5,000 a day.
Before the price drop, the UPX was only drawing about 2,000 to 2,200 riders."

That's an increase of OVER 100%. Just imagine if someone who weighed 150lbs gained over 150lbs and called it a modest weight increase. Or someone who made $25,000 per year had their pay increase to over $50,000, and said they got a modest pay raise.

I wouldn't call anything beyond a 25% increase modest. That would mean a service with 4 trains per hour increasing to 5.
5000 a day is nothing when the 504 King's average daily usage is > 56,000 passengers (http://transit.toronto.on.ca/archive...stics-2012.pdf). I won't put subway ridership stats here to make it even more pitifully depressing. The UPX hasn't made any spectacular improvement in the grand scheme of things, half a billion later. They haven't even reached breakeven ridership yet.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 08:11 PM   #1974
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You guys are killing this thread

Every time I opened this thread, I thought I was going to read the latest news of TTC.
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Old March 29th, 2016, 04:46 PM   #1975
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Old March 30th, 2016, 05:09 AM   #1976
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But UPX is indeed changing. Fares went down significantly and is not staying as the premium service for business travelers. It is not just some BS political talk amounting to nothing. The rumblings about empty trains pushed management to act unexpectedly early.
The price being lowered doesn't change the service. It only changes who is willing and/or able to afford the service. People are paying less for the same thing, but at this point in time, it is still in fact the same thing. Just like lowering the price for a dozen of eggs doesn't change the eggs either.

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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The problem with Toronto is it needs big ticket one-offs to push through vital infrastructure developments that were needed 20 years ago. When Olympic bids failed, the promises fell apart. At least this one did come into fruition while the Gardiner remains a decaying eyesore as is the Portlands.

I wouldn't give any applause they got a useless line which is considered better than nothing. Who pays for its construction? Who pays for its operation? Ultimately, the taxpayer is on the hook, so is anything better than nothing really a good thing?oth pricing and the concept failed, and it is easy to see why. Check the passenger numbers at Pearson.

Average daily passenger volume (based on 2015 YTD September data published by GTAA) at Pearson was over 116,000 passengers (31.4 million total). Yet, ridership on the UPX bounced from 2000 to 5000 only. Isn't that a pitiful figure? So is the dedicated airport express line successful when such a tiny fraction of the airport's passengers get there by a half billion dollar train?

You seem to be forgetting that not everyone passing through the airport is even going downtown. The airport serves a metro area of over 6 million in a region of several million more, and perhaps a few hundred thousand live downtown. Not to mention that UPX has only been active for a few months which isn't much time to become engrained in people's lifestyles. But despite the small percentage of people living downtown, having an express, congestion-free connection to downtown is obviously important for economic reasons.

What it comes down to, is that no conclusions about the overall success or failure of the service can be drawn at such early stage (unless a person's mind is already made up of course). Once the service has been active for a few years and things like pricing and promotion have had time to be optimized, then it's time to judge.

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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Actually, 1 in 5 riders being commuters is very high given the UPX is a much more expensive alternative to the TTC even after the fares went down and there is no fare or route integration whatsoever with the TTC or GO. This shows commuter use has good potential. Combined with the above stats on airport usage, it shows how insignificant UPX is for passengers using the airport. So it is time to look beyond the airport.

5000 passengers, or which only 83% are for the airport, for an average daily airport usage of 116,000 is pitiful.
You can't say the high fare means that the 17% commuter number shows "good potential" without also agreeing that having 83% as airport traffic despite the also high fare doesn't show that segment has far better potential. The fare is high for both commuters and travellers, yet 83% are travellers.


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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Those that live in the far areas of the GTA that use GO, and what GO was intended to be used for, won't be happy their long commutes are about to get much longer by adding many stops within 416.

So if investing in GO is the answer, then UPX should go away and its infrastructure converted to GO.
That doesn't even make sense. Obviously I was talking about making physical improvements to GO infrastructure to allow for better service on those routes. That has nothing to do with UPX. If UPX "went away" then the investment in the airport spur and the airport station would go to waste.

As we'e already recently discussed, not all GO trains stop at all stops even now. I have no idea why you'd assume adding extra service to stops in more central areas would have to impact any trains running express to outer areas. Why would all trains suddenly have to call at all stops? If UPX trains can serve just the section between downtown and the airport, there's no reason GO services can't be added to run only between downtown and Weston, Malton, or Bramlea, with infill stops added in between.


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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
5000 a day is nothing when the 504 King's average daily usage is > 56,000 passengers (http://transit.toronto.on.ca/archive...stics-2012.pdf). I won't put subway ridership stats here to make it even more pitifully depressing. The UPX hasn't made any spectacular improvement in the grand scheme of things, half a billion later. They haven't even reached breakeven ridership yet.
Whether an increase in service is modest or significant depends on how the new service level compares to the previous, not how it compares to some other unrelated service. That would be like saying a person gaining 100kg is a modest weight gain since it would barely be noticeable on a whale. A 100% increase in service or ridership is a huge increase regardless of how you want to spin it.
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Old March 30th, 2016, 05:13 AM   #1977
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You guys are killing this thread

Every time I opened this thread, I thought I was going to read the latest news of TTC.
Keeping a discussion thread active with lively discussion when it would otherwise be buried for days, weeks, or even months is killing it? It may not be convenient for those not interested in discussion, but that's about it.

I suspect the Steve Munro blog, urban toronto, ttcriders.ca, or the TTC website itself would probably be better for pure news.
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Old March 30th, 2016, 04:31 PM   #1978
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The price being lowered doesn't change the service. It only changes who is willing and/or able to afford the service. People are paying less for the same thing, but at this point in time, it is still in fact the same thing. Just like lowering the price for a dozen of eggs doesn't change the eggs either.




You seem to be forgetting that not everyone passing through the airport is even going downtown. The airport serves a metro area of over 6 million in a region of several million more, and perhaps a few hundred thousand live downtown. Not to mention that UPX has only been active for a few months which isn't much time to become engrained in people's lifestyles. But despite the small percentage of people living downtown, having an express, congestion-free connection to downtown is obviously important for economic reasons.

What it comes down to, is that no conclusions about the overall success or failure of the service can be drawn at such early stage (unless a person's mind is already made up of course). Once the service has been active for a few years and things like pricing and promotion have had time to be optimized, then it's time to judge.



You can't say the high fare means that the 17% commuter number shows "good potential" without also agreeing that having 83% as airport traffic despite the also high fare doesn't show that segment has far better potential. The fare is high for both commuters and travellers, yet 83% are travellers.


That doesn't even make sense. Obviously I was talking about making physical improvements to GO infrastructure to allow for better service on those routes. That has nothing to do with UPX. If UPX "went away" then the investment in the airport spur and the airport station would go to waste.

As we'e already recently discussed, not all GO trains stop at all stops even now. I have no idea why you'd assume adding extra service to stops in more central areas would have to impact any trains running express to outer areas. Why would all trains suddenly have to call at all stops? If UPX trains can serve just the section between downtown and the airport, there's no reason GO services can't be added to run only between downtown and Weston, Malton, or Bramlea, with infill stops added in between.




Whether an increase in service is modest or significant depends on how the new service level compares to the previous, not how it compares to some other unrelated service. That would be like saying a person gaining 100kg is a modest weight gain since it would barely be noticeable on a whale. A 100% increase in service or ridership is a huge increase regardless of how you want to spin it.
Not sure why you like to play with words. UPX has always been a heavy rail service and will continue to be. The fact that commuter ridership is gaining traction means it is helping the taxpayers that paid for it to use it beyond a dedicated airport express service. Even with expanded platforms, increased service, and longer trains, it is still a heavy rail service.

I don't buy the ignorance and settling in period. There are signs at the airport indicating the new service. There was a huge marketing campaign that even got the international press going. Theoretically, ridership should improve as time progresses, but it didn't, which was why they had to re-design the whole concept. The fact that not all airport users would need a service to downtown means this dedicated airport rail needs to be less of that in order to be successful.

Hence, commuter service is key.

Looking at the numbers so far, the UPX is an underused service, not even the preferred way to get to the airport. That is a failure. People may make excuses to give it more time, but UPX management seems to have realized this, forcing to make drastic changes to pricing in order to be less of a dedicated business traveler premium service that it was initially built for.

A dedicated airport rail link indeed has economic significance, just as a commuter service for West End residents can also bring tremendous economic benefits as well. We look at Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect as a good example of how the same set of tracks can cater for both types of customers to maximize use of the infrastructure.

83% is the positive spin but patronage of 2-5k a day for an airport serving an average of 116k passengers is also a reality. The latter set of statistics is far more worrying, and should not be ignored. 100% increase may seem big but the actual ridership of 5000 is nothing to be proud of for a half billion invested.

The current frequencies along that corridor can cater for both UPX and GO sharing the same set of tracks. They didn't build it this way to save money for some reason. But GO should always be a fast service to sprawl land. After the improvements, even if some GO trains call at a subset of 416 stations, it will definitely impact the schedule of the express trains stuck behind it (in mathematics this is called network flow theory), unless GO doesn't intend to run frequent all-day service as it envisioned.

This is where the UPX can help with its dedicated tracks.
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Old April 18th, 2016, 11:37 PM   #1979
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major accident at Crosstown LRT subway construction site

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016...collapses.html
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Old April 19th, 2016, 04:37 AM   #1980
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Not sure why you like to play with words. UPX has always been a heavy rail service and will continue to be. The fact that commuter ridership is gaining traction means it is helping the taxpayers that paid for it to use it beyond a dedicated airport express service. Even with expanded platforms, increased service, and longer trains, it is still a heavy rail service.
Are you implying that the only type of transportation that taypayers need or benefit from is for getting to and from work? Taxpayers don't travel to other places like the airport? And taxpayers don't benefit from the economic impacts of an airport rail link?

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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
I don't buy the ignorance and settling in period. There are signs at the airport indicating the new service. There was a huge marketing campaign that even got the international press going. Theoretically, ridership should improve as time progresses, but it didn't, which was why they had to re-design the whole concept. The fact that not all airport users would need a service to downtown means this dedicated airport rail needs to be less of that in order to be successful.
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post

You don't buy it? You do realise that this affects every new rail service don't you? YOu think UPX is somehow magically immune? As we've discussed multiple times, being new is but one factor, which does indeed affect every new line, but the pricing was another major factor which as already been corrected. Are you suggesting that things can only be caused or affected by a single factor?
Hence, commuter service is key.

Looking at the numbers so far, the UPX is an underused service, not even the preferred way to get to the airport. That is a failure. People may make excuses to give it more time, but UPX management seems to have realized this, forcing to make drastic changes to pricing in order to be less of a dedicated business traveler premium service that it was initially built for.

A dedicated airport rail link indeed has economic significance, just as a commuter service for West End residents can also bring tremendous economic benefits as well. We look at Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect as a good example of how the same set of tracks can cater for both types of customers to maximize use of the infrastructure.

83% is the positive spin but patronage of 2-5k a day for an airport serving an average of 116k passengers is also a reality. The latter set of statistics is far more worrying, and should not be ignored. 100% increase may seem big but the actual ridership of 5000 is nothing to be proud of for a half billion invested.
One thing that it's important to remember, is that during peak times the service isn't underused, and it's only at off-peak times that the trains are mostly empty. In that sense, trying to attract commuter service which is very peak-period focused, may actually be detrimental to operation of the line.

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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The current frequencies along that corridor can cater for both UPX and GO sharing the same set of tracks. They didn't build it this way to save money for some reason. But GO should always be a fast service to sprawl land. After the improvements, even if some GO trains call at a subset of 416 stations, it will definitely impact the schedule of the express trains stuck behind it (in mathematics this is called network flow theory), unless GO doesn't intend to run frequent all-day service as it envisioned.

This is where the UPX can help with its dedicated tracks.
Do you have anything which which to back up this claim? Just thinking that something sounds logical doesn't necessarily make it true. GO service to outer areas isn't that frequent that there's going to be major issues with more trips that serve just the central areas. Especially if there are bypass tracks at the stations. Not to mention that an inner suburban GO service could also share the UPX tracks if GO chose to use highfloor trains. And this would avoid expensive platform extensions and increased frequency at the airport where the capacity is totally unneeded.
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