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ExpressLanes on 110 Freeway to open soon for solo drivers

November 4, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The way you drive on one of Los Angeles' busiest freeways is about to change. On Saturday, the HOV lanes on the 110 Freeway will no longer be carpool only. They will become FasTrak ExpressLanes, allowing solo drivers to use the lanes for a fee.

"The price per mile varies from a minimum of 25 cents per mile to $1.40 per mile, and it will depend on the length of trip for that solo driver," said Stephanie Wiggins, a Metro spokesperson.

Cars and motorcycles need a transponder in order to use the lanes. Wiggins said 25,000 people have signed up for FasTrak. To get started, you pay $40 and mount the transponder on your windshield.

"You just set it to the number of people in your vehicle. So if I'm driving alone, I set it to one," said Wiggins.

The toll is subtracted from the $40. When your account dips to $10, your credit card will automatically be charged $40. When you have two or more people in the vehicle, you can use the ExpressLanes for free.

Metro said solo drivers who move into the ExpressLanes will ease congestion on the rest of the lanes.

Some drivers said the cost will likely prevent a lot of people from signing up, and traffic will still be a mess.

"The way the gas prices are right now, who's going to want to pay $40 a month just to get to their house an extra five minutes?" said Tony Lopez of South Los Angeles.

Metro said it wants to make the ExpressLanes are affordable to everyone. Lower-income families that qualify for the equity plan won't have to pay that $40 to get started.

"It's only $15, and Metro adds $25 onto your account. So you open your account with $40 in prepaid tolls," said Wiggins.

If you use the ExpressLanes without FastTrak, there are sensors that will alert cameras to take a picture of your license plate and then you'll get a bill in the mail. There will also be more California Highway Patrol officers who will be looking for ExpressLanes violators.

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