The rules of the 110 Freeway are set to change late Saturday, Nov. 1o or early Sunday, Nov. 11 when "Metro ExpressLanes" – L.A. County's first toll lanes – opens for your carpooling and solo driving pleasure.
Yes, the 110 Freeway – Los Angeles' great leveler, the concrete quicksand of nihilistic equality where a guy in a spray-painted Louis Vuitton Oldsmobile suffers the same slough as the mogul in a Maserati – will soon have a pay-to-play alternative to the stop-and-go traffic.
The transportation authority's ExpressLanes program is an 11-mile makeover/rebranding of some High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) roadway on the Harbor Freeway, into High Occupany Toll (HOT) lanes. Existing carpool regulations will still apply, but solo drivers willing to pay for privileged access can also use the lanes.
Both scenarios require a FasTrak account and a piece of equipment called a transponder. REPEAT: ALL VEHICLES TRAVELING IN THE "METRO EXPRESSLANES" WILL NEED A FASTRAK ACCOUNT AND TRANSPONDER.
Here's the breakdown:
- Metro is opening 11-mile toll lanes on the 110 Harbor Freeway between Harbor Gateway Transit Center (formerly Artesia Transit Center) and Adams Blvd. (MAP)
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
- Scheduled to begin late Saturday, Nov. 10 or early Sunday, Nov. 11 as part of a one-year pilot program.
WHO DOES IT AFFECT?
- Carpool drivers using the carpool lanes, now Metro ExpressLanes.
- Non-carpool drivers who want to pay to use the express lanes (HOT only).
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Select a plan, and set up a FasTrak account (in one of the following ways):
- Register your switchable transponder which will be sent to you when you set up an account.
- Put the transponder in your car.
- Before entering the lanes, set the "self-declaration switch" to indicate the number of people in the vehicle.
- Your pre-paid FasTrak account will be charged, when applicable. (more info)
- To ensure a minimum average speed of 45 mph, lanes will sometimes switch to HOV-only.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
- Everyone: $40-$50 start-up balance in FasTrak account.
- Carpool drivers: Will not be charged a toll to drive.
- Solo drivers: Will be charged between $0.25 and $1.40 per mile.
- Toll rates increase as traffic increases (more on Congestion Pricing)
- The Daily News reports: "The solo trip on the 110 lanes will cost on average between $4 and $7 and a maximum of $15.40 from end to end."
HOW DO I PAY?
- Tolls are collected electronically and will be automatically debited from your FasTrak account.
- There are no toll booths.
- FasTrak accounts can be pre-paid / replenished by credit, debit or "TAP" card.
- FasTrak accounts can also be pre-paid / replenished by cash, check or money order.
WHERE DO I GET A TRANSPONDER?
- Metro says: "You will receive your transponders and account profile in the mail within 3-5 business days."