Saving Money With The 407 ETR
Many people are resistant to the idea of paying to drive on a highway. The 407 Express Toll Route, a toll highway running through the Greater Toronto Area isn’t cheap, but there are ways to keep your bill reasonable, while enjoying zipping across the region in a fraction of the time it takes to travel other 400-series highways.
Tolls on the 407 are essentially a pay-per-use fee, rather than relying on taxpayer funding. The funds are used to maintain the highway, clear snow, add lanes where required. During it’s first seven years of operation, over $700 million was reinvested in improving the road as well as customer service. The price of your trip relies on a variety of factors. What class of vehicle you are driving, time of day, distance and sections travelled, and use of a transponder will all affect your bill. Here are a few ways to help you not only save time, but money too.
First of all, if you take the 407 more than a couple of times a year, you’ll want to invest in a transponder. This little electronic device that is affixed to your windshield runs about $21 per year, but brings your 407 bill down significantly. Having a transponder identifies your vehicle to the system, making it unnecessary for them to take a photo of your license plate upon entering and exiting the highway. This helps you to avoid the video charge for processing through their license plate recognition system that is applied to the bill of those without transponders. Without a transponder, you can expect an extra $3.95 per trip to be added to your bill. For those with out of province license plates, that fee is much higher.
Most passenger vehicles are considered ‘light vehicles’ in the 407 ETR’s pricing scheme. Depending on the time of day when drivers enter the highway, and the section travelled, rates could be as little as 19.35 cents per kilometre during off-peak times, and as high as 30.2 cents per kilometre during peak periods on heavily travelled sections of the highway. Planning your trip around these times could save you a significant amount of money.
The 407 ETR also adds an 80 cent trip toll charge every time you leave the highway. For this reason, it’s not a good idea to get off and back on the ETR mid-journey. Save the bathroom breaks for when you’ve exited the 407.
If you are a regular user of the 407 ETR, you just might be rewarded. Those who travel more than 400 km per month for a minimum of six months will qualify for the 407’s loyalty program, and can earn rewards. Benefits range from free kilometres to be used on weekends, to a 10 cent per litre discount at Petro Canada stations.
Most of all, if you can afford it, opting for the 407 ETR over the 401 or 403 may just help to keep your blood pressure at it’s normal level!
By Linda Aylesworth – car-news.ca