Province extends HOV lane pilot project for taxi and limo operators
by Mike Beggs
In a rare bit of good news for the GTA’s struggling licensed taxi and limo operators, the pilot project allowing them to use provincial High-Occupancy Lanes (HOV) lanes has been extended for another two years.
In a May 8 letter to Toronto owner/operator Gerry Manley, MOT director of transportation planning Tija Dirks confirmed that, “the pilot project has been extended until June 20, 2020.
“It’s a tremendous help,” Manley says of this access.
“Not only does this give you a chance to drop off a fare quickly, it gives you a chance to get back quickly. If you happen to be coming back in rush hour, it’s a big bonus.”
Fellow owner/operator Frank Kelly agrees, “it’s a plus”.
“You’re not getting that many runs where you’re going to be able to use (these lanes),” he observes. “But ultimately, anything that helps the taxi industry is fantastic.”
According to the Ministry, the exemption was introduced to promote more efficient use of the transportation network, by allowing these vehicles to reach their next passenger more quickly, and to support accessibility for people who cannot, or choose not to drive. An additional two-year period will allow the Ministry of Transport to continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the exemption, as part of longer term highway network work planning.
Given that this marks the third such two-year extension granted to taxis and limos by the Province, Manley asks, “Why don’t they just make it permanent?”
Industry members can learn more about the current HOV lane policy via the MOT web site at www.ontario.ca/ontario-hov-lanes.