How much would you be willing to pay to get to work quicker?
According to Premier Wynne, it’s not “if”, but “when” H.O.T. (high occupancy toll) lanes will be coming to provincial 400-series highways and possibly the QEW. The lanes, already in place in many jurisdictions in the United States, are seen as a way to increase funding for roads.
The lanes would follow current high-occupancy rules — 2 or more people per vehicle — to allow you to use the lanes for free. If you want to use the lane as a single driver, a toll would be charged to you. In places like Washington State, the toll is variable; rates increase with congestion to keep the lane free-flowing… anywhere from $0.50 to $9.00 per trip. Hey, at least you wouldn’t be paying to sit in traffic.
My problem with this is that it defeats the purpose of the HOV lane: to take vehicles off the road by encouraging carpooling. HOT lanes actually encourage single drivers with financial means to continue to drive alone, while other single drivers for whom carpooling — whether due to scheduling or financial restraints — isn’t an option get crammed into the remaining congested lanes.
If you really want to lower congestion, do as a number of European countries do: keep the H.O.V. lane concept and use variable speed limits to battle stop-and-go traffic.
What are your thoughts?