Our car has been out of town for a week and I had to run an errand out to the airport, so I though I’d try out the Union Pearson Express. The UP express has been running for only about three weeks now, so it is still brand shiny new. I biked out to the Bloor (at Dundas West) Station.
Here is the entrance, hidden way under the rail bridges over Bloor. Eventually, this station will be tied properly to the TTC, but the easiest solution was blocked by the owner of the Crossways building complex.
Here is a view of the stairs up from the lobby. I should have taken a wider shot which would have shown ticket vending machines to the right, and manned ticket windows to the left. I bought a Presto card here to reduce the UP fare.
Secondly, this map shows that the UP Express only goes to Terminal 1, and you have to board a separate tram to get to Terminal 3. The display showing delayed flights was a nice touch. Also no problems using the on board wifi.
The transit time from Bloor to the airport was a speedy 17 minutes.
The platforms for both Bloor and Weston look like there are being extended so that eventually the shelters can accommodate longer trains. For the moment, each train is only two cars.
On both my midday trips, the train had less than 10 people on it. The conductor told me that it is busier in the afternoons, and she hoped that business would pick up during PanAm. However, this report says that the service is meeting its ridership targets.
The claimed time from Union to the airport is 25 minutes, so doing a little math, it takes about 7 minutes to get from Union to Dundas West.
Here is the readout on the card reader when I touched the Presto card after disembarking from the train.
It would be a great alternative if it was much cheaper, but I understand the strategy of positioning this train as a premium service. For us as a family of four, we’ll stick to a limo. However, for the single business traveller, it is a great option.
I was pleased with the service, but I had one remaining concern: it’s not clear to me what the hours of the ticket window is at Bloor (the only way you can get a Presto card at this station). There was someone there at 10 am on my way out, but no one there at noon upon my return.