407 etr

The 407 is raising its toll prices for 2020

GTA residents who use Highway 407 to evade traffic on busier, non-tolled routes will be facing higher ETR bills starting next year.

The private company that owns and manages most of the east-west Ontario highway has decided to increase rates for use of the route during the months of the year that it sees the most traffic — from May 1 to October 31, which it calls the "summer" season.

The new pricing model will take effect in 2020.

As usual, the day of the week and time of the day that the road is used will also affect the toll amount, as well as the section of the highway used, the weight of the vehicle using the road, and the direction it is traveling in.

Base trip toll charge, monthly account fees and monthly transponder fees will remain the same as in 2019.

According to studies by the 407 ETR Concession Company Limited — which is owned mostly by indirectly-owned subsidiaries of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and a branch of the Spanish transportation company Ferrovial — the highway gets up to 25 per cent busier during the summer than during other seasons.

The new cost hike is meant to reduce congestion during these times, though the highway itself was built to cut down on gridlock on the parallel Highway 401. More than 400,000 drivers now use the 407 daily.

Rates will go up as high as 65.70 cents per km in peak summer periods, compared with 62.24 ¢ents per km for the same zone, time and direction in the spring. (For comparison, when the highway first opened, tolls were around 10 cents per km.)

The difference is slight, but will definitely add up over long distances and with regular use for those traveling to and from cities like Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Pickering.

Along with the change in fares, the 407 has announced that 30 km of additional lanes will be added during 2020 to help further reduce traffic on the highway.

To avoid unnecessary costs and impact to the environment, taking public transit in lieu of driving is always advisable — that is, if your city isn't one of those whose transit projects have been cancelled by Premier Doug Ford recently.

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