407 ETR opens new lanes between Highway 400 and Highway 427

Investment of over $1.4 billion since 1999 keeps highway fast, safe and reliable

TORONTO, Aug. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - 407 ETR has announced the opening of a new lane in each direction, between Highway 400 and Highway 427. The new lanes (running 8 kilometres in each direction) will keep customers moving at a fast, safe and reliable speed on the world's first all-electronic, open-access toll highway. 

The lanes, officially opened today, were built well ahead of time in anticipation of increased traffic demand, and the work done to complete the project was timed in a manner that caused virtually no traffic delays.

As with all 407 ETR highway construction projects, the new lanes underwent an exhaustive inspection and audit to ensure compliance with Ontario Ministry of Transportation standards.

407 International, the parent company of 407 ETR, announced record traffic in the second quarter of 2014, and the opening of new lanes demonstrates 407 ETR's ongoing commitment to excellence in highway construction and maintenance, traffic management and customer service.  Over 80% of all trips taken on the toll highway are done by customers that save money by using a 407 ETR transponder.

"Commuters continue to make a good choice when wanting to save both time and money on their commute," said Jose Tamariz, President and Chief Executive Officer, 407 ETR. "We will continue to serve customers with our award-winning services and the very best in highway maintenance."

While the initial concession lease payment to the Government of Ontario was $3.1 billion in 1999, 407 ETR has since invested an additional $1.4 billion to both extend and expand the highway.  407 ETR extended the highway to the east and west in 2001 (40 kilometres) and then proceeded with a number of highway widening projects to meet traffic demand – bringing the total number of new lane-kilometres added since 2004 to over 220.

The cost of all highway extensions and expansions, along with the cost of maintaining the roadway, snow-clearing, safety patrols, policing and Ontario Ministry of Transportation Enforcement, is paid for through tolls without the use of any government funds.  As an open access, all-electronic toll highway, drivers do not stop when entering or exiting the highway and 407 ETR cannot control or limit access to the toll highway.  In support of this open access model, customers are given several convenient payment options, such as pre-authorized payment and paperless billing, which help ensure their account remains up-to-date and free of any unnecessary interest or fees. 

A study released last December by the Conference Board of Canada, confirmed that 407 ETR saves customers an average of 26 minutes on their commute (an average time savings of 36 percent). In many cases, where commuters travel 407 ETR routes that run parallel to other routes that are heavily congested, time savings can be much greater than the average. The report noted that driving 407 ETR can provide other benefits such as reduced maintenance costs and lower fuel consumption, and that customers may achieve quality of life benefits by experiencing more predictable and consistent commuting times.  The Conference Board further confirmed the positive impact to employment and economic growth resulting from the investments 407 ETR has made along the highway corridor.

407 International Inc. is owned by Cintra Infraestructuras S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ferrovial S. A. (43.23%), by indirectly owned subsidiaries of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (total 40%), and by SNC-Lavalin (16.77%).

BACKGROUND

  • Average daily work day trips have increased from about 237,000 in 1999 to over 380,000 in 2013.
  • Total annual trips have increased from 71.9 million in 1999 to over 114 million in 2013.
  • The number of transponders in circulation has increased from 346,371 with a user rate of 67% in 1999 to over 1,100,000 and a user rate of over 84% in 2013.
  • Average length of a trip on the highway has increased from 17.75 km in 1999 to 20.52 km in 2013.
  • Total vehicle kilometres travelled per year has increased from 1.275 billion in 1999 to 2.356 billion in 2013.
  • The number and length of trips taken on 407 ETR and increased usage of transponders has happened alongside growth in development, extension of the highway in both the east and west, and the widening of the highway by adding new lanes (over 220 lane kilometres since 2004).
  • Extensions and expansions have been possible through 407 ETR (Express Toll Route) investments of over $1.4 billion to keep traffic free-flowing.
  • Investments in safety initiatives, both on and off the road have continued to provide customers a fast, safe and reliable trip. Safety events and sponsorships continue to demonstrate 407 ETR's commitment to its customers.
  • 24/7 monitoring of the highway and conditions from 407 ETR's control room keep the highway safe and free-flowing – safety patrollers can assist drivers and call for emergency responders when needed.
  • 407 ETR is barrier free – with no congestion causing toll booths.
  • Over $110 million has been invested to ensure excellent customer service and the average wait time when calling into the 407 ETR Call Centre has been under 30 seconds for the past 8 years.
  • 407 ETR is the winner of multiple Service Quality Measurement Group awards for Call Centre Excellence and Leadership including First Call Resolution (the industry's most vital indicator), and Best Practices. The 407 ETR Call Centre regularly has a large group of certified World Class Customer Service Representatives.
  • Customers have many account options such as paperless billing and pre-authorized payment.
  • 407 ETR continues to appreciate customer loyalty and has offered more than $86 million to customers as part of its "ETR Rewards" customer loyalty program.
  • In addition to several national and international awards, 407 ETR was awarded the Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada first-ever New Canadian Commercial Technology/Innovation or Research and Development Award for its vehicle fingerprinting system. 
  • The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators recently recognized the Highway 407 Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Detachment with a Police Partnership Award for the achievements of the Highway Safety and Toll Compliance Committee.  407 ETR, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and other Regional and Municipal partners work together with OPP on the Committee to support many aspects of road safety and related research.

SOURCE 407 ETR Concession Company Limited

For further information: Kevin Sack, Vice President, Communications and Government Relations, Phone 905-264-5374, Email ksack@407etr.com