For the first time, a train will directly link Pearson to downtown Union Station starting June 6, Ontario's premier said Wednesday.
Pearson and Union Station are already the country's two busiest transportation hubs, said Kathleen Wynne, and linking them is expected to eliminate about 1.2 million car trips to the airport in its first year alone.
The Union-Pearson Express should also help ease gridlock, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and bolster Ontario's global competitiveness, Wynne said, as Toronto joins the ranks of many other major cities worldwide that have rail service from their airports.
"The UP Express will also give the hundreds of thousands of people who will arrive here this summer for the Pan Am and ParaPan Am Games a fantastic first impression," she said. "They will see the city in a way that people who have travelled to the city have not been able to ever before."
By 2031, 190 million travellers per year are expected to ride the UP express, Wynne said. It's been designed with the capacity to handle that growth, she said.
"The only way people will take a transit option is if it is more convenient than driving," the premier said. "This is more convenient than any other option to get from Union Station to the airport or vice versa."
The Union-Pearson Express trip will take 25 minutes each way, with trains running every 15 minutes for 19 1/2 hours each day. The ticket for the 25-minute ride will cost $27.50 cash each way or $19 with a Presto transit card, with other discounts offered for students and seniors.
The trains will initially run on diesel, Wynne said, but will later be converted to electric.
"We couldn't have gotten the electric train ready...for the Pan/Parapan Am Games," she said Wednesday after taking the inaugural ride on the train.
"This is the highest-quality diesel train in the world," she said. "We're working on the electrification."
The express train service is part of the government's $130-billion, 10-year infrastructure plan, which Wynne said is a cornerstone of Thursday's provincial budget.
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