If you take the highway in the GTA, you’ll be pleased (or not) to know that Ontario is piloting a new kind of commuter-friendly and congestion-reducing lane on the roads.
But you’ve got to pay for them.
The province has opened the next round of permit applications and renewals for Canada’s first High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes this summer.
The pilot HOT lanes are on 16.5 kilometres of the QEW in both directions, from Trafalgar Road in Oakville to Guelph Line in Burlington.
Vehicles with two or more people, buses, emergency vehicles, licensed taxis, airport limousines, and vehicles with green license plates can travel in the lanes for free, while drivers of single-occupant vehicles can apply to purchase a permit.
Applications to purchase or renew permits valid from July 1 to September 30, 2017, are now open until May 31, 2017. Permit holders wishing to renew who have already renewed twice will have to re-enter the application draw this time.
Permits cost $180 and are renewable for a maximum of two terms of three-months each. The province says this will allow for a fair allotment of permits during the pilot.
Only 1,000 HOT permits will be available for each three-month term, distributed on the basis of a draw. If an applicant is not successful in the draw, they can enter a future draw over the duration of the HOT lanes pilot project, which is expected to last two to four years.
Ontario is also including HOT lanes provisions in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area highway expansion projects currently in design or under construction, beginning with Highways 410 and 427.
“Our goal is to learn from this pilot and build a network of HOV and HOT lanes across the region, when and where it makes sense to do so. Ontario is taking action to help keep the region moving,” said Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca.
The province hopes that HOT lanes will complement other congestion reducing initiatives, including GO Regional Express Rail that will increase GO train trips by 50 percent over the next five years with more stops serving more communities.
Permit applications will be accepted each February, May, August and November and can be submitted here.
For more information on the pilot project, click here.