NEWS

Will the Pan Am Games HOV rules make more people carpool?

06/30/2015 09:39 EDT | Updated 06/30/2016 05:59 EDT
The head of Metrolinx is hoping the new Pan Am Games HOV lane rules, which are already frustrating many GTA drivers, will encourage people to start carpooling.

"Hopefully people try it out, they make choices and those choices will continue after the Games," said Bruce McCuaig, Metrolinx's President and CEO told drivers listening to CBC Radio's Metro Morning.

As of Monday, HOV lanes throughout the GTA now require a minimum of three people in the car. Drivers who violate the rule risk a $110 fine and three demerit points.

Many say the new regulations, which were put in place so athletes and Games officials could get to venues on time, have seriously slowed their commutes.

Canadians' preference for driving themselves is well documented, despite the added expense, traffic congestion and environmental damage it incurs. A 2011 Statistics Canada household study found just 17 per cent of people in this country carpool to work.

While Metrolinx doesn't manage the HOV lanes — that's a provincial responsibility — the transit agency is keeping an eye on what's happening on the roadways during the Games.

When McCuaig was asked if Monday's slow commutes were reason enough to loosen the HOV rules, he said no.

"We're in day two of it, so I think it's too early to come to a judgement on how it's working," McCuaig said.

Metrolinx's SmartCommute arm features a guide to getting around during the Pan Am Games, which also features a system to link up carpoolers — often the first hurdle for people making the change.

"We know (carpooling is) not going to serve everybody's needs … but you need to build a network of different choices for people," said McCuaig.

Metrolinx has also partnered with around 340 employers who are encouraging their employees to share rides to work. 

MORE:cbcNews