407 ETR – Toll highway surrounding Toronto
(ETR stands for “Electronic Toll Road”). The 407 has no tollbooths – subscribers have electronic transponders that log their entry and exit from the highway, while non-subscribers have their license plates read by cameras, with a bill sent every month. (There is an additional fee for not having a transponder). Its toll status means that it is less crowded than the other roads surrounding Toronto, but the tolls are extremely expensive relative to other toll roads. The 407 is owned by the Province of Ontario
, but is leased to a private corporation for 99 years in a sweetheart deal
concocted by a previous government. (The terms of the deal remain a closely guarded secret).
The 407 corporation is generally hated by Ontario residents because of the high tolls, and also because of frequent incorrect billing that is very difficult to correct (forcing people to pay for trips they never made if they want to renew their drivers licenses), leading to the ETR being known as the “Express Toll Ripoff”. Ontario residents use many creative methods to obscure license plates so that the cameras can’t read your plates to send them a bill. Some out-of-province drivers who use the 407 will get a bill in the mail, but (unlike Ontario residents) they can't threaten not to renew your plates to force you to pay it.
To drive the 407 from one end to the other in a car (about 70 miles) costs almost $19.00.