I-680 commuters can pay to drive in carpool lane

October 4, 2010 6:32:01 AM PDT
A long-awaited traffic experiment is now underway in the Bay Area. A new express lane opened on southbound I-680 from Pleasanton to Milpitas. Solo drivers can pay a variable fee to jump in the fast lane.

For solo drivers, all you need is a FasTrak pass, and you can cruise into the new express lane for a fee. It's a 14 mile stretch, along southbound 680, between Pleasanton and Milpitas.

There are three entry points, Highway 84, Washington Boulevard, and Mission Boulevard. The three exit points are Auto Mall Parkway, Jacklin Road, and Highway 237. You can only get in and out of the express lane at those points, any other spot is illegal.

The new express lane operates between 5 a.m. and 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. The price will rise and fall depending on congestion, about 30 to 50 cents when there is no traffic and up to $6 for the entire 14-mile stretch at peak times. During the late night, and overnight hours, the express lane will be open to everyone for free.

The operation will be fully electronic, using the Fastrak pass. There are no tollbooths, so drivers will not need to stop or slow down.

Carpoolers will still be able to use the lane for free, as well as motorcycles, transit buses, and hybrid vehicles with valid stickers. Since carpoolers can use the lane for free, they will need to remove their toll tag from their windshield and cover it with the mylar bag that was provided by FasTrak so they're not charged when they use the express lane.

The next express lanes in the Bay Area will be developed in the next few years. They are Interstate 580 between Pleasanton to Livermore, after that: the Highway 237 flyover from Interstate 880 in Milpitas.


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