The Fixer: Readers react to OPP role on toll road


Last month, The Fixer wrote about the Ontario Provincial Police working for the owners of Highway 407, patrolling the toll road and nabbing drivers who use transponders incorrectly or illegally to avoid paying bills for the private road.

The March 31 column raised a lot of ire from readers when it revealed that three OPP cruisers were equipped with special black boxes that detect when a vehicle has the wrong or a stolen transponder. Officers can stop drivers, seize the unit and issue a ticket for trying to dodge tolls. It’s all part of a policing services agreement the OPP has with owners of the 407.

The Fixer asked readers for their thoughts on OPP being used for toll enforcement and they didn’t hold back. We received dozens of comments both in support of and opposed to the practice.

Stephen Belcourt asked why police would be checking for transponders in the first place and just how far the long arm of the law will stretch. “Having a transponder is not a pre-condition for using the 407,” he wrote in an email. “Camera technology allows one-time or a non-transponder user to be billed based on their licence plate. In my car, I carry an EZ-pass transponder for when I’m driving in the U.S. Will the OPP stop me because the transponder in my car isn’t a 407 transponder?

The very thought of OPP being used to monitor transponders and enforce the law on a privately owned highway “is obscene,” according to Greg James. “The resources could be much better used elsewhere. This highway should never have been sold to private interests, but that, unfortunately, is water under the bridge.”

Sigmund Roseth wants the laws of the land upheld, including on the toll road. “Aside from the issue that the 407 is a private firm, a crime is a crime and using a stolen transponder is a crime,” he wrote. “The OPP’s job is to fight crime, ergo they should do so in this matter also.”

Reader D. J. Swan took issue with The Fixer for taking on the 407. “While billing issues may occur, they do many good things to provide a safe and reliable road. The police officers that patrol the highway are paid for by 407/ETR so that any problems can be quickly addressed and keep a higher level of safety than is expected on any other 400 services highway in Ontario.”

By the same token, Swan noted that vehicle tracking and camera technology used on the 407 assists police.

“Law-abiding citizens have nothing to fear and those individuals breaking the law deserve to be caught and punished.”

UPDATE: The loose hydro guywire on the boulevard on Markhanna Dr., in front of St. Boniface Catholic School that we wrote about April 1 has been secured, said area resident Molly Danniels, who thanked The Fixer for getting the problem solved.

Garbage dumped on dead-end McCulloch Ave., off Belfield Rd., has been cleaned up by a contractor working in the north Etobicoke industrial area.

Article Source:  http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/792902–the-fixer-readers-react-to-opp-role-on-toll-road

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