Countdown to I-10 Metro ExpressLanes: understanding the differences between the 10 and the 110 ExpressLanes

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The ExpressLanes on the 10 freeway are scheduled to open at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 23, weather permitting. While the concept is the same as the existing ExpressLanes on the 110 freeway, there are some similarities and differences.

The big similarity: if you plan to use the lanes in a private vehicle (i.e., not a bus), you will need to have a FasTrak transponder. They can be obtained online at www.metroexpresslanes.net, through AAA or at Costco and Albertsons. If you get a transponder at AAA, Costco or Albertsons, please click here to complete the registration process.

ExpressLanes staff put together this handy list to help explain those differences:

•The 10 and the 110 corridors have different minimum occupancy requirements as a carpool lane that do not change for the conversion to ExpressLanes. The 110 allows vehicles with two or more people to travel toll-free 24/7; however the 10 allows three or more passengers to travel toll free 24/7.

Two person carpools using the 10 ExpressLanes pay a toll during rush hour (Monday through Friday 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 4:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.) but are not charged a toll during non-rush hour (Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m.to 4:00 p.m., 7:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., and weekends). The overhead electronic signs will make it clear when tolls for two person carpoolers are in effect.

•The average toll will likely be different due to the differences in length and space available to toll payers. The 10 is longer (14 miles from Alameda Street in downtown L.A. to the 605 freeway in El Monte) and the 110 is shorter (11 miles from Adams Boulevard in downtown L.A. to the 91 freeway).

Metro has also added a second ExpressLane on the 10 (between the 605 and the 710) to provide nine new miles in each direction; the 110 already had two lanes in each direction for eight of its 11 miles. This lane is added through re-striping and did not take away any general purpose lanes.

•The number of entry and exit points are different:  the 10 ExpressLanes has four entrance points westbound and three entrance points eastbound while the 110 ExpressLanes has four entrance points northbound and six entrance points southbound. The exit and entry points are shown on the above map.

Metro ExpressLanes is an exciting new endeavor. But like all new undertakings, it will take some time to become familiar with how it works, and it will take time before we experience the full benefits and rewards of this new traffic flow improvement project. We expect to see traffic flow enhancements and congestion reduction as the project progresses over time along with some immediate advantages such as new and more frequent transit service. Participant-adoption, and on-going feedback as a vital partner in this program will ensure its success as well as an improved travel experience for all commuters between the 110 and 10 freeways to downtown Los Angeles.

12 thoughts on “Countdown to I-10 Metro ExpressLanes: understanding the differences between the 10 and the 110 ExpressLanes

  1. I hope Metro can consider removing the “buses only” restrictions on the connecting road from the I-10 eastbound Express Lanes to northbound I-710, and similarly, the connecting road from southbound I-710 to the I-10 westbound Express Lanes.

  2. Metro please end the monthly account maintenance fee for infrequent users OR the requirement that carpools have a transponder!! Occasional carpoolers should not be forced into the general purpose lanes. The purpose of the project is to use the unused of the carpool lanes not generate money via account maintenance fees. Does it really require $3 a month to keep someone’s name, who will NOT likely call a call center (since they aren’t using that month) in a data base.

  3. ^ I agree that the monthly maintenance fee for infrequent users should be ended (and I think the Metro Board may already be considering doing that, though I’m not sure when). As for not requiring the transponder, I can see your point, but the transponder is probably used to gauge how crowded the lanes are and how fast they are moving, so allowing non-transpondered cars into the lanes would probably slow down and/or limit the ability of the ExpressLanes to self-adjust toll fares based on real-time usage.

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  5. I drive/carpool with an employee for event work. Our monthly trip count is too low to avoid the monthly maintenance fee and I was picking up the gas tab for my tighter budgeted carpooler. We’ll be driving 2 cars in regular traffic from now on, month after month. This is the kind of dumb stuff that gives CA a bad name and recruits Tea Partiers.

  6. @Olf You are a “month after month” “carpooler” yet you do not drive 2+ round trips per month to get the fee waived? Carpool lanes/funds are designed for overall congestion mitigation, not to convenience semi-never commuters.

  7. @Olf: how does a parallel toll road create Tea Party members? They’re not adding tolls to the normal road — it’s tolls for convenience. You want to zoom downtown in your car instead of taking mass transit on the same road? That’s a feature, not a mandate.

    My east coast upbringing is really showing on this long weekend. I see all these complaints on The Source about anyone daring to charge tolls for carpool lanes. I don’t get it. Did you honestly think these expressways were a gift from God and not the largesse of the progressive income tax structure of the 1950s? Did you think you could have an infinite number of Reagans and not lose these things?

    Your property taxes never rise (not in comparison to any other state in the Union) and you wonder why your grammar schools rank with Mississippi. You are posting on the mass transit web site for Los Angeles and wondering why they’d brag about an HOT experiment.

    My only concern after trying the westbound HOT lanes on 10 this weekend was that the 101/10 split is exceedingly poorly labeled. You get about three seconds at full speed to guess that the left lane will bring you to the Hollywood Freeway instead of the Santa Monica (which isn’t topologically consistent). Otherwise it’s the bomb diggetty.

  8. I just do not get the lack of understanding here. In today’s US society it is understandable that roadways would be set up to allow individual drivers or drivers +1 to use HOV lanes at a price. What is NOT understandable or acceptable is that for drivers +2 during rush hours and driver +1 during off hours to be able to continue to use the HOV lanes AT NO COST, they now are required to BUY a transponder, Register that transponder, and pay a monthly service charge – all to be allowed to continue to use these lanes, as they have for three decades, FOR FREE. I use the HOV lanes this way, once or twice a month on the average and I will NOT buy a transponder or register to have “Metro” steal $3/month from my account.

    Also, people who plan on paying to use the HOV will soon have a rude awakening when they see that the average round trip will cost in excess of $25.00.

  9. Metro needs to eliminate the monthly fee for infrequent carpoolers immediately. It is bad enough that Metro requires infrequent carpoolers to prepay $40 in tolls they will not incur. Worse yet, they are charged a fee that is waived for everyone else. It is unfair and discriminatory. The truth is, Metro structured its revenue stream such that much of the money they hope to bring in is generated from the monthly fees paid by people who barely ever use the system. If the goal is to reduce congestion, improve air quality and make money for transportation projects, then fairly charge the solo drivers who get the benefit to pay to use the system, not the carpoolers who occasionally do. Infrequent carpoolers are not the cause of traffic congestion and poor air quality. They should not have to pay while everyone else gets the fee waived. I live in LA county, am retired, and travel this freeway once or twice a month. Why am I, and thousands of others like me, treated less favorably than those who travel here more often?

    The Expresslanes is a failure for Los Angeles. Traffic is worse than before and this system isn’t designed to bring is revenue without scamming the non commuters with a monthly fee. Metro should just ahead and scrap the program now rather than making us all suffer for the entire year.

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