Ontario’s 407 Express Toll Route (ETR) is a crucial route for many fleets. This main highway is a quick east to west route that avoids many of the clogged main roads. It’s also the most efficient out of all the 400 series highways. And while the efficiency is a real time-saver for fleets, challenges can arise when it comes to dealing with 407 ETR charges.
Because the highway’s billing process is 100% electronic, it can lead to incorrect charges and possible double billing. And while fleet managers know that the highway 407 rates are a necessary part of their total cost of ownership, they also know inflated bills slowly chip away at profits. For ordinary folks, errors are easy to spot. However, fleet managers have many vehicles to track. This makes it hard to take account of every single error without outside help.
On top of that, fleet managers already have a huge array of responsibilities to deal with, from making sure operations run smoothly, to keeping drivers happy, to reducing fleet costs. So if you add dealing with 407 toll billing issues to all of that, the workload becomes almost unmanageable. In addition, fleet managers might not even know how to spot or sort out these incorrect charges.
The challenge is real. So, for starters, we’ve identified the top three incorrect charges that fleets can incur when using the 407 ETR. Once you’re familiar with what can go wrong, you may want to enlist the help of a third party service to help you monitor, track, and resolve any potential billing errors.
TOP 3 ERRORS TO LOOK FOR ON YOUR FLEET'S 407 ETR CHARGES
1. Vehicle Classification Errors
This is a common error with trucks in particular, but can also affect light passenger vehicles. The overhead 407 ETR gantry scans the dimensions of your vehicle as it enters the highway. It gages the vehicle type, combined with the class of transponder (if one is in the vehicle) to determine the vehicle class: light, heavy single, or heavy multiple.
Unfortunately, this system can end up marking vehicle types wrong, resulting in the wrong per kilometer charge. For example, a Ford F150 pickup truck should be classified as a "light vehicle". Instead, the system may call it a "heavy single".
2. Camera Charges
A camera charge is billed when there is not a transponder in the vehicle. For a light vehicle, this charge is $4.10 per trip. For a heavy vehicle, the charge is $50.00 per trip. Under the Highway Traffic Act, it's mandatory for heavy vehicles to have a functioning transponder. But from time to time, a vehicle with a transponder can be billed camera charges.
This can occur for a number of reasons:
Transponder not properly mounted
Over time, these 407 ETR charges can add up, being quite costly to fleets. In fact, just six round trips with camera charges cost more than the annual cost to lease a transponder!
3. Double Billing
407 ETR’s system should either read a transponder or capture a picture of the rear license plate. However, it can end up reading both the transponder and the license plate for the same vehicle! This can occur on all types of vehicles and can be very common with tractor trailers. Duplicate billings can be difficult to spot and often times require the assistance of a third party who can easily spot the billing inconsistencies on the fleet’s bills.
Third Party Help
Though issues with the world's first electronic open-access toll highway are improving, it may take a while before they are completely resolved. When you have multiple vehicles using the 407, incorrect charges can add up quickly.
Most fleet managers monitor their charges alone and pay the bills without knowing that there are errors. But monitoring your fleet plates, transponder, drivers, billing errors, and credits is complex and tedious. A fleet manager’s time should not be bogged down with ETR invoicing.
At Foss National Leasing, we have a specialized department dedicated to resolving 407 ETR charges called Toll Road Services. This program already helps a large number of fleet managers avoid worrying about incorrect bills so they can get back to what they do best - running their fleets.
Don’t let incorrect charges from the 407 ETR eat away at your company profits. We recommend keeping a close eye on your ETR invoices and especially look out for vehicle classification errors, camera charges, and double billing.
If managing all of your 407 bills becomes too much to handle, or you are unsure if you are being charged incorrectly, reach out to a third party company like Toll Road Services who can monitor your charges for you. The savings you will incur will be a real boost to your bottom line.
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Article by Darlene Spriel