UP and Away

Bella and I landed in Toronto’s Pearson Airport planning to head our separate ways. She had a long drive ahead of her back home to Detroit and I was going back to work, which meant I had to get downtown to to my apartment and car.

Toronto has recently opened the Union Pearson Express connecting the Union Station on Front Street with Pearson Airport. I had heard it was fast, clean, and pretty much empty, but it is really the only viable public transport, other than hiring a cab or a limo, that will fit the bill. After all, I couldn’t expect Bella to drive me into town before she left, adding at least an hour to her drive if the traffic was light.

We headed to the airport’s rail system and I followed the signs that read Train to City.

The UP Express leaves from Terminal 1 and Bella’s car was the other direction, so we said our farewells and hopped on trains heading opposite directions.

Tickets are sold in these kiosks. There are plenty of helpful attendants who offer to help with the transaction, but it looked easy enough.

The fare was $27.50 CDN and, despite the touch screen the credit card entries are completed on the number pad to the right. Confusing enough that I needed the attendant to help. How embarrassing…

Armed with my ticket I headed to the waiting train cars. It’s winter, in Canada, so the doors were closed to retain heat. I’ve never had to push a call button for a train before.
Every seat has a wall outlet. There’s also complimentary Wifi and a UP express magazine in a ziploc bag in each seat.  There’s plenty of room for luggage at the door and over head.

Baggage area

The reports of 20% capacity looked pretty accurate. Other than a porter who checked and sold tickets with a handheld device, I only saw two other people in my car.

The train stopped twice, once at Weston with connections to the TTC and the Go trains and again at Bloor Street, although I couldn’t see out of the windows because the lights never dimmed. Whether I was to get off at either of those stops or ride to the end, the cost was the same. The one size fits all fare is a bit steep when compared to Florida’s Tri-Rail system that charges $5 USD (although, at today’s exchange rates…) for a much longer ride from Ft. Lauderdale Airport all the way up to West Palm Beach, 55 miles away.  The actual ride took about twenty minutes. The final stop is Union Station, but it’s not quite with the rest of the terminal. It’s on the PATH system heading towards the CN Tower.

Union Sation is way down there

Rather than walk to the Union Station exits to grab a cab to avoid the cold, I headed the other direction towards my apartment, taking advantage of the PATH to remain indoors most of the way.

The whole trip took around an hour. I can see using it again in the future. It would have cost me $85 to park my car at the airport during our trip, so for a single person riding round trip it would be cost effective for trips longer than a week. For a couple, you’re better off driving. I wonder how long they can keep it running under the current business model before making changes to boost ridership.


As of December 2017, the price has been reduced to $12.35CAD. And ridership has increased.


I'm an engineer, a veteran, and an avid traveler. I agree with Robert Louis Stevenson - "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."

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