Strike while the lane is HOT.

The Wynne government in Ontario leaves no stone unturned in its pursuit of taxpayers’ dollars. In a novel break from their usual attitude that they can always just do as they want, they actually asked our opinion the other day. It seems they took our picture recently while driving on the Queen Elizabeth Way past the Fourth-Line at Oakville. It got us a survey questionnaire.

If we knew they were going to take our picture on the highway, we would have washed the car. Who else but the provincial government could have so easily connected licence plates to addresses? Since we were stuck in heavy traffic on that highway for several hours, it was a memorable trip.

The survey itself was interesting in that it is seeking opinions on the upcoming lotteries to drive in the new HOT lanes. These are the same-old-same-old high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes but the idea is for the government to make money off them. The original idea was to encourage car pooling—thereby reducing the number of vehicles on the road and moving traffic faster.

But we have a hot flash for the folks at the fumble farm at Queen’s Park. On that day they took our picture, we were using both HOV and non-HOV lanes and none of them was moving very fast. On that trip, we averaged less that 50 kilometres per hour on the QEW. This is an eight-lane restricted access highway—with one lane on various stretches each way for HOV traffic.

And we could not help but notice that the HOV rules were not necessarily observed nor enforced.

The one thing we have observed about HOV lanes on Ontario highways is that when they work, you set your speed control at 120 kph and go. What you have to remember is that in a single lane, you only travel at the speed of the slowest vehicle. And slow drivers and back ups in the HOV lanes can cause frustration, road rage and accidents.

But in turning the HOV lanes into the more contentious HOT lanes, the Liberals in Ontario are just asking for trouble. While there is little respect for the system as it exists, you have to think of how people are going to feel if those with the money to spend whiz by them. Maybe some of the denizens at Queen’s Park who read these commentaries noted the other day when we quoted from George Orwell’s Animal Farm that some pigs might appear to be more equal than others.


Copyright 2016 © Peter Lowry

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