Cheaters never prosper. That’s the message the O.P.P. wants to instill in drivers intent on taking extreme measures to avoid paying their tolls.
“Most of the users on the 407 pay their fair share, but there are those that are always trying to cheat the system,” explained the always-colourful Sgt. Cam Woolley.
“Some of these attempts are just so obvious,” he adds, explaining how drivers attempt to mask their licence plates. “Everything from an old t-shirt and garbage bag, a piece of tape, dirt, grease. Even a human hand.”
But now there’s more incentive than ever to play by the rules.
A rewards program has been imposed by the government to counteract gripes about seemingly never-ending toll hikes.
Over the past six months, eligible motorists who used the pay-per-kilometre stretch across the top of the city have received a weekend pass that lets them roll down the highway for between 40 and 140 kilometres without charge. Some were also given a Petro-Canada card worth $2.40-$13.50 a month on gas purchases.
The special bonus doesn’t require you to do anything but use the highway. The more you do, the bigger the return. And you’re automatically enrolled if you have a transponder, no balance owing after 35 days and travel more than 400 kilometres a month. Over 70,000 drivers have been notified of their bounty, which officials estimate adds up to more than $4 million.
It won’t necessary help soothe many ruffled feathers of people still upset about the tollway, but if you’re going to use it anyway, it can’t hurt. The real question is will it help? Many drivers insist it doesn’t make all that much difference to them and if they didn’t use the road before, the rewards won’t change anything.
“Not unless it was free, because there’s other roads that I can use that are free, so there’s no benefit to me,” a driver named Bernadette assures.
“I’m not sure it makes much difference,” concurs Tina, another motorist. “Most reward programs don’t give you much anyway so by the time you get something, it would be pointless.” Still, she’s not willing to throw it all way. “It’s better than nothing,” she shrugs.