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The 407 cash grab just keeps on rolling

No one in the Toronto area can argue the need for the infamous 407. Most of us, who have used this highway, will testify to the time saved versus the good old days travelling the 401.This is especiall...


No one in the Toronto area can argue the need for the infamous 407. Most of us, who have used this highway, will testify to the time saved versus the good old days travelling the 401.

This is especially true of both commuters and local delivery truckers running on a tight timetable.

In 1999, the province sold the road for $3.3 billion (yes that’s billion, with a “B”) to a company called 407 International Inc. Since that time, rates have skyrocketed. Despite these increases, 407 usage continues to increase. I guess most people feel the extra dollars are worth the time saved.

For truckers, however, high rates are just part of the equation. For many there are also the hassles in dealing with enforcement officers on a regular basis thanks to an ill-conceived statute.

Commercial vehicles over five tonnes must have a valid, properly affixed transponder – for passenger vehicles there is the option of simply posing for a high-speed picture on the off-ramp.

If a truck is caught without a transponder, however, it means fines.

Doesn’t sound exactly fair, but trust me it gets worse. Several straight truck manufacturers position their licence plate holders underneath the truck body on the frame, making it virtually impossible for the cameras to get a proper picture.

Even if you have been a good commercial corporate customer and have a valid transponder, if your plate is poorly positioned you can be ticketed.

This is unadulterated B.S.

If the officers who patrol this toll-way don’t have the equipment to determine if a transponder is valid or not, that’s their problem, not yours.

Not to mention the fact you’re already paying the transponder security deposit, the monthly fees and countless administration and activation charges.

Maybe it’s time for commercial users to re-evaluate the need to use the 407.

I know it’s a time saver (with the exception of the backup at Pine Valley going east or west at 5 p.m.). But, if we sit back and allow this 407 Inc. to continue to raise it’s rates faster than the Concord over the mid-Atlantic, while also allowing the province’s finest to ticket commercial vehicles because of misaligned licence plates, eventually the 407 will be a luxury no one can afford.

I once thought this would be a great way to get to the cottage, especially if it does finally extend to Hwy 35.

If this keeps up, I fear it’ll be cheaper for me to simply rent a float plane to make the trip.

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


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