The Transit Coalition believes that it is essential for carpools to have free access to all HOT lanes, without a requirement for transponders.
Southern California is home to a growing
network of toll roads and "High-
Occupancy Toll" (HOT) lanes, each with
differentiating toll policies for the various
corridors such as the Metro ExpressLanes,
the 91 Express Lanes, and the I-15 Express
Lanes in San Diego County.
For the HOT lanes, the Transit Coalition believes that it is essential
for carpools to have free access without a requirement for transponders.
Here are the toll policies of a few agencies in Southern California (as
Metro ExpressLanes: FasTrak required for
all vehicles. If carpooling, plan on using
the new transponder with the single/2+/3+
switch or be prepared to pay the full toll.
Carpools with the new FasTrak travel free
(carpool is 2+ or 3+ depending on the time
of the day and the corridor used). Several
bus lines will utilize the lanes.
The Toll Roads (SR-73, 133, 241, 261):
TCA, which operates the dedicated toll
roads throughout Orange County (not to
be confused with the 91 Express Lanes)
has proposed to phase out cash payments.
Drivers will be required to have a FasTrak,
or patrons can also register their license
plate numbers with TCA as an alternative. No
carpool discounts announced at this time
and no transit routes are available.
91 Express Lanes: FasTrak required for
all vehicles. If there are three or more in
the car, use the 3+ lane when nearing
the toll antennas. 3+ carpools travel free
except the PM rush hour in the peak
direction where the toll is discounted 50%.
Commuter bus lines currently use the
corridor and expanded express service is
I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego County:
2+ carpools free. FasTrak required only for
solo vehicles. Simply put the FasTrak away
in a mylar bag so it cannot be read by
the toll antennas if carpooling. Commuter
bus lines currently use the corridor and
expanded rapid express service is planned. This toll lane facility won the "Project of the Year Award"
from the California Transportation
Foundation in 2012.
The Transit Coalition is open to high-
occupancy toll lane conversions that
implement rideshare-friendly policies
similar to those adopted by counties like
San Diego and Santa Clara, with carpools
defined as 2+ or 3+, depending on the
time of the day and the demographics
of the corridor, and without requiring
transponders for carpools.
The Coalition objects to toll policies that would result in a reduction
of carpools instead of single occupancy vehicles. Researchers from UC
Berkeley reveal that not only has the San Francisco Bay Area Toll
Authority's ill-advised imposition of mandatory FasTrak transponders and
tolls on carpools resulted in a 26% reduction of vehicles in the
carpool lane, but that many carpools are not picking up additional
passengers along the way as before--a double-whammy, reducing the number
of people utilizing the carpool lane by well more than 26%.
With that, the Transit Coalition wants to
ask this question to each public transportation
agency and each elected official who is
proposing future toll lanes as a means to
reduce congestion for everyone:
Would you consider following the example
of San Diego County's award-winning
project, adopting congestion-based tolls
for solo motorists and opening up your
express lanes for free travel for all 2+ or 3+
carpools and private buses, not just those
who have FasTrak?