More than 2,100 tickets were handed out by officers patrolling Toronto-area highways for improper use of the controversial high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes that were set up for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
The temporary HOV lanes were set up in June ahead of the Games on heavily-used roads, including the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway. The Pan Am Games kicked off on July 10 and restrictions placed on the lanes were lifted Tuesday night.
Drivers were ticketed for using HOV lanes if they didn’t have a Games permit during the multi-sport event, or if they didn’t have at least three occupants during the Pan Am Games, and at least two people during the Parapan Am Games.
In addition to the 2,115 tickets that were issued, OPP said another 2,506 tickets were handed out during the Games for other traffic violations along the games route.
Ahead of the Games, efforts were made to ensure motorists were aware of the special lanes. But despite the advance warning, some drivers still chose to rebel against the HOV rules.
On highways patrolled by the OPP, the penalty for improperly using the HOV lanes was a fine of $110.00, as well as three (3) demerit points upon conviction. The total fines levied between June 29 and August 18, 2015 inclusive was in excess of $232,000.00.
As well those tickets issued, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Toronto and York Police, motorists received 2,506 charges for other Highway Traffic Act offences.
In one incident, a motorist was busted for having mannequins as passengers.
The HOV lanes were dismantled beginning on Tuesday night at 11:00 p.m. Toronto City & Almon Equipment Ltd. crews removed removed the HOV signs and vinyl-tape diamonds from the Gardiner Expressway (Gardiner), Don Valley Parkway (DVP) and Lake Shore Boulevard East.
The remaining diamonds and signs will be cleared from the DVP and Gardiner over the next few days.