18

Situation here is specific to Canada's 407 ETR route but it's not limited to that.

The 407 ETR to the best of my knowledge uses 2 methods to collect tolls:

  • Transponder
  • Plate based billing:

    Out-of-Province users, including those from the U.S.A., who choose to use 407 ETR are responsible for all tolls, fees and interest under the Highway 407 Act. At the end of each monthly billing cycle, the all-electronic system calculates all tolls, fees and interest and a bill is sent in Canadian dollars, due upon mailing.

Does the ETR mail to the users from the US? And if not does that present an issue for the US citizens/residents/visitors crossing the border by car at a later date?

  • 7
    "including those from the U.S.A." implies very strongly that they bill the registered owners of US vehicles. Do you have any reason to suspect that they wouldn't send bills to the US? – phoog Sep 19 '16 at 15:06
  • 1
    @phoog Cuz I haven't received one in ummmmm many years – Karlson Sep 19 '16 at 15:30
  • neither have I. Do you use the road frequently? – phoog Sep 19 '16 at 15:31
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    @phoog When I need to. – Karlson Sep 19 '16 at 15:31
  • In BC, all out -of -province vehicles are not billed. – Ken Graham Sep 20 '16 at 0:23
12

Most American visitors without transponders will be billed (or rather the registered owner of the car will be billed, via mail) for their use of the electronic toll roads. There is a reciprocity agreement with a number of states (at least a dozen, including New York) allowing access to the license plate databases.

Ontarians who have outstanding toll fees will have their license renewal withheld until they fork over the money in full (including the fairly arbitrary video toll fees and late fees). The fees can mount into thousands of dollars if ignored (source: two acquaintances who disputed fees).

As far as collection from out-of-province deadbeats, not sure what their reach is. There is a reciprocal agreement between NY and ON on demerit points, for example. The bill will be in Canadian dollars, which are pretty cheap at the moment, and it's easy to pay with a credit card.

The normal fees are complex (km and time-of-day based), and fairly high at rush hour, but I agree the video toll fee should be listed on signage- or perhaps an 'up to' amount if they don't want to keep changing the signs.

It's pretty obvious you are entering a toll road, there is signage and a huge gantry over the road with cameras, lights and antennas. It's much less obvious when driving in, say, Dubai.

I would say to pay the bill if you used the road. I certainly have paid for any such services I have (even inadvertently) used in other states and provinces.

  • @pnuts Yes, via mail to the owner to whom the car is registered. That's what my first sentence means by 'billed' (how else could they bill?). As far as breaking the law, I really don't know what the consequences are, as I said. I am certain they maintain records forever though. – Spehro Pefhany Sep 19 '16 at 18:12
  • 1
    It's pretty obvious you are entering a toll road, there is signage and a huge gantry over the road with cameras, lights and antennas... According to some it's just there to look pretty. :) – Karlson Sep 19 '16 at 18:37
  • Is there something pointing to the reciprocal agreements? I've heard that those are applicable to all border states just haven't found references to such. – Karlson Sep 19 '16 at 18:39
  • @Karlson There's something in Wikipedia. I guess it's not really in their interests to publish exactly which states have such agreements. – Spehro Pefhany Sep 19 '16 at 18:42
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    fwiw, I promtly found a charge on my credit card for using the 407 in a Minnesota-plated rental car. – Carl Apr 4 '19 at 19:07
3

Googling for "407 etr collections USA" yielded at least one story of a U.S. resident who had been unexpectedly mailed a bill for the 407. As might be expected, she was peeved.

Route 407 ETR - Modern Day Highway Bandits !

I'm a U.S. citizen who received a "mystery" bill for $18.50 TWO months after my trip to Hamilton, Canada coming from Upstate NY. I googled for an explanation of what 407 ETR was. Upon reading Wikipedia I was livid, appalled, and furious regarding what I now perceive as a "tourist trap" en route to Hamilton, Canada.

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    Peeved because she didn't read the clear signs saying 'Toll road"? Peeved because she wasn't forced to interupt her journey, stop at a toll booth and fumble for change before being allowed to go on. – DJClayworth Sep 19 '16 at 15:22
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    @DJClayworth perhaps peeved because the price was not disclosed, which prevented her from making an informed decision about whether to use the road. – phoog Sep 19 '16 at 15:29
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    Her rant is certainly over the top, but - seriously - I do not expect a forced 18 $ video toll fee when I enter a toll road. For comparison, in FL the video tolling - having no transponder - is free (aside from rental car companies adding a 5 $ convenience fee). It seems Canada is intentionally milking unknowing tourists. – Aganju Sep 19 '16 at 15:30
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    Can we get a link that demonstrates that US cars will be billed, without all the commentary? – DJClayworth Sep 19 '16 at 15:31
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    @Karlson , yes, but there is no price, and at the time of the sign you have no choices anymore. They could as well put on the sign 'gotcha!', that would be equally helpful. – Aganju Sep 19 '16 at 15:32

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