Monday, November 21, 2011

For Whom the Road Tolls

One thing that I have always hated is reading polls that tell me what Canadians want. Especially when I disagree; it makes my opinion look less important. As if I am some radical, wild card with my novel notion that I shouldn't have to pay for things I have already paid for. Like roads.

Apparently, thanks to an online survey of Canadians (my first thought, 'how do they know it was all Canadians?') at least 50% of us would support road tolls. The article paints this solution like a miracle cure saying it will, "ease gridlock and shorten their commute", "get rid of gridlock in our cities", "reduce strain on roads and increase overall efficiency", and "encourage drivers to take public transit". Read that last one again, "encourage drivers to take public transit". What they mean by that is the want to put the squeeze on drivers, to make driving less pleasant and so make transit seem more pleasant by comparison.

The problem is for those of us unwilling or unable to take transit, we feel the squeeze anyway. One commuter surveyed said he had added $1,200 to his annual driving costs. This, at a time when filling up at the pump can be harrowing. Just like that guy who advises lonely men to 'tactfully insult woman to bring them down to your level', it is ridiculous that we should be threatened into taking transit. We should find a way to enhance the transit system until people genuinely want to use it.

The other tactic that is suggested by tolls is that people will find alternate routes, and thus "Ease gridlock". Ignoring the fact that the major roads, the ones eyed for tolls, are the ones that are fully equipped to handle that much traffic, this plan is not going to be effective because with gas how much it is, it is not worth it to divert because the extra gas money will sink you anyway.

I really want to tag this one under "stupid ideas", but I will settle for just learning how to counterfeit coins in case I ever run into a road toll in the great country of Canada.

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