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Competitor balks at TTC airport bus

By Josh Rubin
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

A new TTC bus route that gives Toronto residents a speedy $2 ride to Pearson airport will quickly put another airport bus service out of business, a company official says.

“I’m completely infuriated by this. We’d be out of the airport business within a year, and that’s being generous,” said Mark Hannah, director of operations for Pacific Western Transportation, which runs the seven-year-old Airport Express bus service. Airport Express charges $13.50 for a ride from downtown hotels to the airport, and $7.10 from the Islington subway station.

Pacific Western also runs charter travel services in Asia and elsewhere in North America. Hannah says the rest of the company’s routes - and his 1,700 Canadian employees - could be in trouble as well.

“Right now, people can come to us and arrange everything at once. We have one-stop shopping. If one part of that disappears, it’s no good at all,” said Hannah, who thinks the TTC is taking advantage of its government funding.

“This is a government-subsidized agency which doesn’t have to cover its own costs,” Hannah said. The city contributes $150 million per year to the TTC budget.

Hannah also wonders how the TTC can operate the service without paying a concession fee to the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, which controls Pearson.

Limousine services weren’t as worried.

“We really service a different market. I’d say about 90 per cent of our customers are business people,” said Ron Babcock of Airline Limousine Service.

The TTC’s new 45-minute service, dubbed the Airport Rocket, is on a six-month trial running between Kipling subway station and Pearson’s Terminal 2 and 3 every 45 minutes during rush-hour and midday.




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