Local

Carpool cheaters may face a crackdown in toll lanes

Traffic moves slowly on the 110 Freeway during afternoon rush hour in downtown Los Angeles on May 6, 2015.
Traffic moves slowly on the 110 Freeway during afternoon rush hour in downtown Los Angeles on May 6, 2015.
Jae C. Hong/AP

Listen to story

00:52
Download this story 0.0MB

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking to improve the speed and capacity of the toll lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways since speeds have slowed over five years.

Some officials blame drivers who are cheating the system. 

Metro estimates that about a quarter of drivers using the toll lanes aren’t paying their fair share. In most cases, the drivers are switching their FasTrak transponder to carpool, even when they’re driving by themselves.

Carpools of two or more people get a pass on paying tolls. The charge per mile increases with levels of congestion and if the lanes get too crowded. The frequency with which the lanes are limited to carpools has been increasing over recent years and single-occupancy vehicles are no longer allowed to pay to use the lanes. 

Metro contracts with the California Highway Patrol to enforce the toll lanes. A representative from the agency said patrols write an average of 1,300 tickets a month to toll lane violators.

Some officials would like to see increased enforcement, but the space of the roadways limit how many squad cars can pull over violators. 

Metro is also planning to test a camera system that could automatically detect the number of people in a vehicle and issue tickets to those who lie about carpooling.

The board is also weighing whether to recommend an increase in carpool requirements from two to three people. But the decision will ultimately be made by Caltrans, which operates the freeways.