New lanes, new rules for Highway 237

SUNNYVALE, Calif. (KGO) -- After 20 months of construction, commuters on the 237 corridor have access to seven more miles of express lanes. They now extend west from North First Street to Mathilda Avenue in Sunnyvale. But with this new change comes new rules for commuters.

The Valley Transportation Authority says drivers should be aware of these new Express Lane rules:

A FasTrak Flex is required. You can still use the older version of the FasTrak transponder but you will be charged for toll, even if you are carpool.

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"So if you're a solo driver and you want to get through the Expressway lane and pay the toll that is displayed on the sign, you would turn it to 1. If you are carpool and want it free to use the lane you turn it to 2. If you have two people in your car or 3 for 3 people. Motorcycles will also turn it to 3," said Brandi Childress, a spokeswoman for the VTA.

If you have a clean-air vehicle you need a special FasTrak tag.

"Anyone with a clean air vehicle has to show proof they have a decal and they will get a different transponder that will allow them to get a 50 percent discount," Childress said.

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And in order to manage these Express Lanes, the California Highway Patrol will be watching.

"As people are going through the lane it will read the transponder and that number 2 just showed that person driving through the lane had their transponder turned to 2. The visual law enforcement part of this is they will actually see if that person had two people in there," Childress said. If drivers cheat, Childress said a picture of the license plate will be taken.

The VTA says only 30 percent of drivers on 237 currently pay for toll. That leaves 70 percent of drivers that need to be aware of the new rules.

Both 580 and 680 Express Lanes already require a FasTrak, the Express Lane hours are from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and they already have video enforcement. The VTA says now Highway 237 will have 'regional consistency.'

The prices of toll will vary on which particular section of 237. It can range from 30 cents to $11 based on congestion. Those driving eastbound during the afternoon commute will see the highest congestion.
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