A High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane is a specially designed lane that is designated for use by certain types of vehicles with a specified number of occupants. It can offer travel time savings to those who choose to carpool or take transit. HOV lanes can move a greater number of people than a general traffic lane, and encourage carpooling and transit use by providing travel time savings and a more reliable trip time. HOV lanes are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
HOV lanes benefit all drivers, not only those who carpool, in the following ways:
- Improves highway infrastructure by moving more people in fewer cars;
- Reduces the number of vehicles on the road;
- Reduces vehicle emissions and improves air quality;
- Helps you conserve fuel, save money (by sharing the cost of driving) and reduce stress.
HOV lanes on provincial highways are reserved for vehicles carrying at least two people (i.e. a driver plus at least one passenger in any of the following passenger vehicles: cars, minivans, motorcycles, pickup trucks, taxis, buses and limousines).
The HOV lane is separated from the other general traffic lanes by a striped buffer zone. It is illegal and unsafe to cross the striped buffer pavement markings.
Certain vehicles are exempt from the HOV lane rules. Buses can use an HOV lane at any time, regardless of the number of occupants. Emergency vehicles such as police, fire and ambulance are also exempt from the restrictions.
If you use the HOV lanes improperly, you can be stopped and ticketed by a police officer. You will be required to re-enter the general lanes at the next entry/exit zone.