Toronto Star

No to road tolls, Wheels readers say


Re The car’s a necessity for many commuters, Norris McDonald

Here in the suburbs, we are tired of being preached at by people who never, or rarely, travel out of downtown.

Most suburbanit­es are happy to take the GO Train when the schedule fits our requiremen­ts. We don’t enjoy traffic congestion, long travel times and exorbitant parking fees, so we don’t drive just to be obstinate. We drive because public transit is not meeting our needs.

For example, on Monday through Friday, the last train eastbound from Bramalea to Union Station leaves at 2:04 p.m. The last train westbound from Union departs at 6:50 p.m. No trains run on the weekend.

Public transit, then, is useless for those who want to be in the city during afternoon and evening hours, or on weekends, for shopping, entertainm­ent, sports events and so on, or those who travel to work in areas not served by rail and subway lines.

When I read nonsense about tearing down the Gardiner, I know that the writer has no appreciati­on for the economic impact that would have for downtown Toronto, and the personal hardship it would cause for those who must travel into the core every day. Doug Jamieson, Brampton

Thanks for speaking up for the thousands of people who don’t live south of Bloor. David Whyte, Ajax

We, as the electorate, are responsibl­e for those elected to public office. As such, we are responsibl­e for the commuting mess we find ourselves in today.

Fifteen years ago, I commuted into the Toronto core on average six days a week. I cannot imagine doing that today. It was bad then, it must be terrible now.

We have bought the cars, we have purchased our bucolic plots from here to eternity and we have elected the politician­s who have told us want we want to hear.

Cars are only a necessity as we have deemed them so. Keep things up this way and south-central Ontario will resemble little other than one parking lot after another. Steve Brooke, Orangevill­e, Ont.

In the headlong glamour to add yet another tax to the daily commute of drivers, the arguments in favour of HOV lanes, tolls and other restrictiv­e measures fail to address the root cause of traffic congestion, particular­ly on Hwy 401.

The Average Annual Daily Volume (AADV) measured at Yonge St. increased about 1 per cent each year between 2000 and 2010 ( when it stood at 390,000. Yet three years later, the daily volume of traffic on Hwy 407 was almost the same at 380,000 ( So why no congestion on the 407? The maximum 407 passenger car toll rate is about 34 cents per kilometre but transport trucks must pay over a dollar. Trucks are also subject to a minimum charge as high as $37 per trip and another $50 if not equipped with a transponde­r.

Such predatory toll rates serve two purposes: They leave the 407 less congested for daily commuters and they shift the costly burden of highway road maintenanc­e from a privately funded route onto publicly funded highways.

The 407 owners know that they’d lose a lot of paying customers if their drivers were forced to contend with the same sort of truck traffic as drivers on the 401, so they purposely structure their toll rates to ensure that trucking companies use different routes.

By virtue of their sheer size, transport trucks displace a lot of pavement and thus leave much less room for cars. They are, without a doubt, the single largest contributo­r to congestion on the 401.

If these trucks are tolled (and so far, the government has not indicated if they will or not) and if the tolls are at least as high as those on the 407, then maybe the 401will see a lot less truck traffic and commuter traffic will move at a rate similar to the 407.

But I wouldn’t put my money on it. Syd Howes, Brooklin

I am retired and, three times a week, drive from Burlington to northeast of Toronto to participat­e in my hobby. In the past, I used to travel early in the morning — 5 a.m. — via the QEW till the Pan-Am Games and those temporary HOV lanes. It was bedlam!

I switched to driving north on Guelph Line to the 401 eastbound. When I heard the province wanted to implement HOV and HOT lanes, I was beside myself. For my hobby, I must use a vehicle and there is no one else travelling in the direction or taking the roads I do so I cannot carpool. Valerie Woods, Burlington

Unless people object to road tolls, they may happen. I doubt that road tolls will force people onto public transit. They will be just another tax grab.

Also it will add to trucking costs and ultimately prices in the stores.

We already pay into the system through gasoline tax more money than is used to maintain our roads.

In my particular case, I drive 42 km each way to work. A round trip by car is 1.5 hours. A round trip by public transporta­tion is four hours. Yes, I depend upon our highway system. David Craig, Mississaug­a

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