The 407 (the increasingly popular toll road located just north of Toronto) recently announced reduced rates for commercial vehicles.
God bless their little hearts one and all, but the benefits to the average trucker will be next to nothing unless you’re an off-peak user.
Most of my comments over the past few years have been nothing but negative towards the 407 consortium.
And justly so – these people remind me of that commercial jingle “hands in my pocket, hands in my pocket, hands in my pocket.” It describes them to a tee.
It’s truly unfortunate that this latest announcement doesn’t help the average trucker.
The guy or gal who prefers to have dinner with their families and take their kids to little league isn’t going to see a big difference on their bottom line at the end of the day.
That leaves the alternative. Unfortunately, it’s construction season and a real mess at the moment. I drove to the 401 and parked last week.
After an hour of pushing radio buttons on a hot humid morning, I was tempted to bolt north to the clearer pastures of the 407.
Of course, I didn’t. I’m too cheap and I don’t want to line Antonio de Santiago’s pockets. Mr. Santiago is the president and CEO of the 407.
He’s the one claiming this new program offers truckers “real savings.”
I can’t help but think there may be a hidden agenda behind his “real savings” announcement.
What are the odds that they’re trying to reverse some of the bad publicity and ill feelings they’ve garnered over the years with commercial users?
I’m sure it was at least a consideration. In non-peak hours, the 401 usually isn’t that bad. Oh sure, it’s busy, but generally moves along at an acceptable pace. That being the case, under normal circumstances why would anyone pay to use the alternative? It doesn’t make sense and they’re aware of that.
The press announcement we received claims the 407 has over 10,000 accounts representing tens of thousands of trucks. Eligibility for these new discounts will depend on your historic use. Things like payment history, frequency and transponder usage are all factored in. I wonder how many of these accounts actually qualify?
If positive publicity indeed was a factor, the program should be considered a success. All local radio and television stations reported on the program. As for the real savings…we’ll see.
– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 416-510-5123.