Truck News


Publisher’s Comment: The 407 Express Toll Route – Something Has to Change

Surprise, surprise.Our old friends at the 407 ETR are up to their old tricks again. Just when the Christmas credit card bills are due they're hitting us with another rate increase.I suppose we shouldn...

Surprise, surprise.

Our old friends at the 407 ETR are up to their old tricks again. Just when the Christmas credit card bills are due they’re hitting us with another rate increase.

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, with six increases in the last 52 months we should have come to expect it.

Once again, they claim the extra cash is needed to improve service (maybe they meant room service, the type their owners get in the larger hotels).

In any case we’re getting shafted again.

It was exactly one year ago that I was ranting and raving about the unfair treatment commercial traffic was being subjected to while travelling across the 407ETR day after day..

At that time, I encouraged drivers to stop using it. Some of you did, some of you didn’t.

The decision was of course yours, but the point I was trying to make then – and now – is until traffic declines, they’ll increase rates as desired.

I read with great interest Dale Brazao’s column in the Jan. 3 edition of the Toronto Star. He was making the very same point.

Until you “vote your displeasure with your wheels” the 407ETR will have an open ticket to raise rates.

Perhaps between the two of us we can make a difference.

After all, the Toronto Star is the largest daily newspaper in Canada and Truck News/Truck West are the largest trucking newspapers in the country. Stranger things have happened.

Since this latest increase was announced, there has been some talk of buying back the 407ETR. The problem is, they paid $3.3 billion (that’s with a “b”) and they’re going to want a bundle more to sell it back.

Let’s see – a 10 per cent return per year on their investment over 52 months works out to just over $5 billion.

This doesn’t even take into account the “improved service” investments that they’ll want to be compensated for, so forget it, it’s not going to happen.

It looks like our newly-elected government won’t be able to follow through on its election promise of reducing the rates. Apparently, the Tory government’s 1999 sale agreement is legal and binding.

No, if anything’s going to change we’re the only ones who can actually take this issue seriously and do something about it.

The commuters, commercial traffic and weekend cottage travellers all need to bite the bullet, at least in the short term, if this is to stop.

– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck West and he can be reached at 416-442-2097.

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