February 15, 2016 1:57 pm
Updated: February 15, 2016 3:12 pm

Long wait times for UP Express as free service offered on Family Day

Riders wait for up to two hours to hop aboard the UP Express on Feb. 15, 2016.

Jeremy Cohn/Global News

A free ride on the Union Pearson Express on Family Day comes at a price — two-hours waiting in line to board the much-maligned rail service.

Metrolinx, the province’s regional transit agency which operates the rail line, said ridership reached record numbers this weekend as it was offered for free during NBA All-Star weekend.

Metrolinx spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins said the promotion was a way for new customers to test the high-speed train between downtown and Pearson International Airport for the first time.

However, those taking a flight or using it to go to work skipped the queues entirely.

The UP Express has been criticized for its low ridership numbers since it was officially launched last June and has struggled to get past 3,000 passengers a day to the 5,000 it was hoping to hit by the service’s one-year mark.

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READ MORE: Union-Pearson high-speed train ridership falls below 70,000

Much of the negative talk surrounding the rail line has been centered around the price to board the train.

The 25-minute trip costs $27.50 for a one-way fare, however those with a Presto card can travel for $19.

The latest numbers show the trains are currently running around 90 per cent empty.

In recent weeks, Metrolinx has been pressured to reduce the service’s price to attract more riders.

During a board meeting last week, Ontario Transportation Minister Steve Del Duca said the province will take a “clear and sharp look” at fares.

VIDEO: Fares only part of solution to UPX ridership woes says Metrolinx

With a file from Patrick Cain.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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