We’ve designated the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes on the QEW as High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes to test a new way to improve traffic flow and encourage carpooling.

HOT lanes are on 16.5 km of the QEW, in both directions, from Trafalgar Road in Oakville to Guelph Line in Burlington.

During the pilot, we will explore and test innovative technology to support HOT lanes, including tolling, compliance and performance.

The Ministry of Transportation will publicly report back on the results of the pilot.

About HOT lanes

HOT lanes are similar to HOV lanes (usually referred to as “carpool lanes”) but provide the option for people driving alone to pay a fee to use the lane. Carpooling drivers and certain vehicles can use HOT lanes for free and do not need a permit. 

HOT lanes only apply to existing HOV lanes and do not eliminate or reduce the number of other lanes available to all drivers (referred to as “general purpose lanes”). There will not be any changes to the existing general purpose lanes, which are still free to use for all drivers. Fees to use the HOT lanes only apply to drivers who are usually not eligible to use the HOV lanes.

Benefits of HOT lanes can include:

  • more travel options for users and help manage congestion by optimizing traffic flow and maximizing the number of users in the lanes (such as, person throughput)
  • improved air quality and greater roadway efficiency
  • improved and more reliable travel times for paying users of the HOT lanes

Non-tax revenues generated by HOT lane permit fees are used to support provincial investments in services Ontarian’s rely on, such as transportation infrastructure.

Expanding the pilot

We are proposing to expand the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes pilot to Highways 403 and 410 to provide more travel options for people in the Greater Golden Horseshoe.

The proposed changes would be implemented for the January 2022 permit period and allow permit-holders to use the existing High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on the following stretches of highway, in both directions:

  • Highway 410 from Eglinton Avenue to Clark Boulevard in Brampton
  • Highway 403 from the Highway 407/403 interchange to Highway 401 in Mississauga

A single HOT permit is valid on all HOT lane corridors.

Who can use HOT lanes

  • vehicles with a HOT permit
  • vehicles with two or more people
  • buses
  • vehicles with green licence plates
  • emergency vehicles
  • licensed taxis and airport limousines
  • motorcycles

If you’re caught using the HOT lanes without a permit, you may be fined or issued a penalty.

HOT permit

Currently, up to 1,000 permits will be sold during each term of the pilot. Permits will be valid for three months and will cost a total of $180 ($60 per month).

Once you have a permit, you can automatically renew it twice before you have to re-apply.

Apply for a HOT permit

You can apply for the next round of HOT permits starting November 1, 2021.

Applications for HOT permits for the January 1, 2022 to March 31, 2022 term will be accepted from November 1, 2021 to November 30, 2021.

To ensure fairness, HOT permits will be available through a draw.

  1. Apply online to enter the draw
  2. After you submit your application, you’ll be assigned a random number. The Ministry of Transportation will use these numbers to randomly select permit holders in the draw.
  3. You will receive an email about the results of the permit draw
  4. If you are selected, you can purchase your HOT permit online after you receive an email
  5. You will receive permit stickers in the mail to attach to your vehicle

If you are not selected, you can apply again for the draw in the future. Applications will be accepted every February, May, August and November during the pilot.

Draw eligibility

To be eligible for the draw, you must:

  • have a vehicle registered in Ontario with a valid licence plate; the vehicle must:
    • be less than 6.5 metres (or 21 feet) long
    • weigh 4500 kg or less
    • be registered for personal or commercial use
  • agree to the HOT Permit Terms of Use which includes mandatory participation in data collection through questionnaires
  • have no outstanding fines

Only one application per licence plate is permitted.

Apply now

Updated: September 01, 2021
Published: June 16, 2016