The City of Toronto operates 6 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) corridors each with dedicated lanes on one or both sides of an arterial road with use restricted to qualifying vehicles (e.g., public transit vehicles, private automobiles with a minimum number of occupants (i.e., 2 or more occupants), motorcycles and scooters plated and usually includes taxis and cyclists).

HOV lanes promote and facilitate the increased movements of people in HOV corridors for those in qualifying vehicles and, at those times when in operation typically on weekday mornings (7-10 a.m.) and afternoons (3 -7 p.m.) rush periods.

City of Toronto's HOV network for a total of 42.9 lane-km

  • Don Mills Rd./Overlea Blvd./Pape Ave - between Finch Ave. E and Danforth Ave (27.2 lane-km)
  • Dufferin St - between Kennard Ave and 340 metres north of Finch Avenue West (2.6 lane-km)
  • Dundas St. W. - between Etobicoke Creek and Aukland Rd (5.0 lane-km)
  • Eglinton Ave. E - between Kennedy Rd and Brimley Rd. (3.3 lane-km)
  • William R Allen Rd - between Sheppard Ave W and Kennard Ave (1.2 lane-km)
  • Yonge St. - between Steeles Ave. and Bishop Ave/Hendon Ave (3.6 lane-km)

Note: Eglinton Ave. E has a 2+ occupant requirement, all other City HOV lanes are 3+ occupants

Why do the City of Toronto HOV lanes require 3 passengers vs Provincial Hwy HOV lanes that require only 2 passengers?
When the City's HOV lanes were being established in the early 1990s, the decision to use 3+ vehicles (i.e., vehicles with three or more people) over 2+ vehicles (i.e., vehicles with two or more people) balanced levels of anticipated use with the expected operating speed of the lane and, also considered vehicle occupancy patterns in the City.

It was felt that a 2+ occupancy would result in too many 'carpools' utilizing the HOV lane, thus detracting from travel time incentives the HOV lanes offered, and interfering with the operations of transit vehicles. By improving transit efficiency and providing incentive for ridesharing, it was reasoned that mobility in the city would be improved and this in turn would help address the City's environmental concerns associated with congestion conditions.

In recent years, the Province has introduced its HOV lanes on some 400 series highways, as you have noted, as 2+ lanes. These lanes were 'add-ons' to the existing highway cross-section in that they added an additional lane of highway capacity in the corridors and along those lengths of roadway in which they operated. Furthermore, they are currently operated 'full-time' 24 hours/day. In contrast, the City HOV lanes were conversions, taking one lane of capacity from the existing network of general-purpose traffic lanes, and using it for the purpose of creating a HOV lane. As well, the City HOV corridors exists to facilitate people-movement in the most congested periods - the rush periods (i.e., 7-10 am and 3-7 pm). Otherwise, the road network generally remains as one of general purpose lanes.

Rules and Penalties Other than a designated vehicle, when entering onto a highway, you may remain in a reserved lane not more than 45 metres from the point at which you enter.

For the purpose of exiting from the highway, you may enter such lane not more than 45 metres before the point at which you wish to exit.

Because of the numerous entry and exits points along the HOV network, the marking the entry/egress limits for non-HOV motorists operating in an HOV lane is not undertaken.

The fine for driving in an HOV lane illegally is $110 and three demerit points.

Green licence plates
Your green licence plate is a sign of your commitment to a cleaner Ontario. Starting July 1, 2016, eligible vehicles with green plates will have permanent access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on 400-series highways and the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW), even if there is only one person in the car. HOV lanes are otherwise reserved for vehicles carrying two or more people. Further information can be found on the Ministry of Transportation website.

"Green Plated" vehicles or Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) are not exempt from the City of Toronto HOV lanes, these vehicles would need to meet the occupancy requirements.

Please visit the Ministry of Transportation website for more information on HOV lanes.