Pan Am Games HOV lanes: GTA drivers cope with new rules

Some areas of Toronto traffic began experiencing what some are calling the "Pan Am jam" as drivers adjusted to their first commute with new HOV rules for the sporting event.

Mayor John Tory wants province to 'reconsider' 3-person limit

Expect rainy roads and windy weather for Thursday's drive home. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Some areas of Toronto traffic began experiencing the "Pan Am jam" on Monday as drivers adjusted to their first commute with new HOV rules for the sporting event.

Drivers now need two other people in the car to use the lanes, which are in place on some 235 kilometres worth of GTA highways.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said earlier Monday there has been "pretty good compliance" with the new HOV regulations, though some people were caught violating the three-to-a-vehicle rule.

Drivers face fines

Anyone who breaks the rule risks a fine that ranges from $85 up to $110 and three demerit points.

The HOV lanes on the Gardiner Expressway had far fewer cars than the normal lanes on Monday morning. (Patrick Morrell/CBC)
Schmidt says the people he pulled over "aren't happy, but they know the rules."

Still, not everyone appeared to be following them, some drivers told CBC.

"Westbound on the Gardiner I probably saw half a dozen single drivers in the HOV lanes and traffic was moving well. So there's no excuse," driver Alex Giffin told CBC.

"People are weaving in and out when they get the break and they get an opportunity to get into the HOV lane," driver Julia Harrison said.

For some people in cars, like Karim Devji, the slower traffic was not easy to take.

"Almost a nightmare, rush hour at noon? I mean come on!" he said.

Mayor John Tory, meanwhile, said the rule of three people should be changed.

"I continue to believe the province could still reconsider the three-person limit for the use of the HOV lanes. I think this would cause the traffic to move a little bit better."

Taxis, buses and Pan AM officials are all allowed to use HOV lanes, regardless of the number of passengers.

The Games don't officially begin until July 10.