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Ontario’s first HOT lanes to start in September

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TORONTO—Ontario is launching Canada’s first High-Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes as part of a pilot project on the QEW, between Trafalgar Road in Oakville and Guelph Line in Burlington, in an attempt, says a media statement, to help manage congestion and add another option for travellers.

The new pilot project will start on Sept. 15.  Existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the QEW will be designated as HOT lanes. Carpools of two or more occupants will still be able to use the QEW HOT lanes for free, while single occupant drivers will now have the option to purchase a HOT permit to use them.

HOT permit applications from members of the public will be accepted online from Aug. 1 to Aug. 21 through ServiceOntario. A limited number of applicants will be selected to purchase permits through a draw.  The permit will cost $180 for a three-month term.

Approximately 1,000 HOT permits will be made available each term of three months. For the first term only, permits will be valid from Sept. 15 to Dec. 31, giving permit holders an additional two weeks of HOT lane use as an early incentive bonus.

A 15.5-kilometre stretch of dedicated HOT lanes with electronic tolling in both directions on Highway 427 will open in 2021, from south of Highway 409 to north of Rutherford Road.

As part of the pilot, Ontario is issuing a Request for Information seeking innovative technologies that can be used to support tolling, compliance and performance monitoring of HOT lanes for the purposes of testing during the pilot. Possible technologies include telematics, radio frequency identification, video-analytics, GPS and infrared cameras. The province says the pilot will be used to assist long-term planning for future HOT lane implementation.

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