Transportation headlines, Tuesday, November 26: Metro responds to NBC-4 ExpressLanes violation notice story

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ART OF TRANSIT: The Green Line’s Hawthorne station, from our Instagram stream. 

Thousands of incorrect violations sent to drivers (KNBC)

The video segment reports that some motorists in Southern California have received citations for failing to pay tolls in the ExpressLanes — even though they have never driven in the ExpressLanes. It appears that in some cases, cameras are misreading license plates and, therefore, the citations are sent to the wrong owner of a vehicle.

Metro is aware of 1,700 such errors among the 1.6 million violation notices that have been mailed to vehicle owners although KNBC says there were “thousands” without citing any basis for that number. There has been about 18.5 million trips on the ExpressLanes thus far, meaning the error rate appears to be about .1 percent. Metro has and will continue to work to refine software used in order to reduce erroneous violations. 

Obviously, those kind of stats may not satisfy those who get violations, especially if more than once. “In all cases as soon as we learn of the error, we dismiss the violation,” says Metro.  The public can always contact ExpressLanes directly through many outlets including www.metroexpresslanes.net, the ExpressLanes’ Facebook page, or at www.twitter.com/expresslanes

Other ways to reach the ExpressLanes:

By phone, call call 511 and say “ExpressLanes.” If you live outside of Los Angeles, Orange or Ventura counties, please call (877) 224-6511. ExpressLanes walk-in centers:

Harbor Gateway FasTrak Walk In Center500 West 190th Street, Gardena, CA 90248

El Monte FasTrak Walk In Center 3501 Santa Anita Avenue, El Monte, CA 91731

Sacramento judge delivers setback to high-speed rail project (Sacramento Bee) 

A Superior Court judge ruled Monday that a new funding plan is needed for the state bullet train project while, in a second case, ruling that the California High-Speed Rail Authority can spend $3.4 billion in federal funding it has received for the project.

What does this mean for the ambitious project to eventually connect San Diego, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco? Hard to say and a variety of officials offer a variety of opinions (surprise!).

At this point, it appears that the first ruling will make it more difficult for the state to sell bonds it will need to build the project beyond an initial 29-mile segment between Fresno and Madera. It should be noted that this was a ruling by a Superior Court judge — and those type of rulings are frequently appealed.

The L.A. Times also has an article about the rulings that takes a more pessimistic view on the impact to the project.

Frank Gehry’s grand vision to go before project committee (L.A. Times)

Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a look at Gehry’s redesign of the long-planned Grand Avenue project across the street from Disney Hall. It sounds like Hawthorne likes most of what he sees and says the development should breathe new life (or any life!) into the intersections of 1st/Grand and 2nd/Grand.

The developer, Related Co., is now saying construction could begin in 2015 and be complete in 2019. The project, with new commercial and residential space, would be served by the existing Red/Purple Line Civic Center station and the future Regional Connector station at 2nd/Hope.

I really hope they pull it off this time — the northern end of DTLA is getting better but it’s still too often a ghost town after 6 p.m.

Crossrail: Britain’s biggest archeological dig will transform London (the Guardian) 

Photo: Crossrail.

Photo: Crossrail.

The first massive $14.8-billion pound project to build more than 100 kilometers of new rail line across London — including 42 kilometers underground — reached a milestone with the first segment of tunneling completed. Service is planned to run 24 hours-a-day with trains 200 meters long that can carry 1,500 people each; that’s twice as long as current trains in the London Tube. The project says it will increase the entire London Tube carrying capacity by 10 percent.

9 replies

  1. Finally some facts; Joel Grover seems obsessed to the point of not providing any. I was waiting for him to provide actual info but there wasn’t any in his “investigation”. If that number is indeed correct (1,700 our of 1.6 million), then the system is working.

  2. Meanwhile, I have yet to see even one CHP car to actually enforce the “transponder setting vs. actual number of occupants” at the toll points. Think about how many solo drivers simply set the transponders to 2 or 3 at all times. I guess even the CHP agree they have better things to do with their time.

  3. “£14.8-billion” or “14.8-billion pounds” not “$14.8-billion pound”.
    That is a more that a bob or two.
    But it does sound like a good investment.

  4. This crossed my mind. How does Metro deal with toll violations from say, vehicles with Canadian or Mexican license plates?

    I can understand out-of-state license plates as many US state DMV databases are integrated with one another.

    But we’re LA. We see lots of people from all over not just from other states, but from all over the world. And yes, we do have cars driving on our roads from Canada and Mexico.

    What happens if say, a tourist family riding in a minivan with Beautiful British Columbia plates uses the ExpressLanes? Does Metro actually go out all the way to hack into Canadian DMV databases and send a violation notice to their address in Canada?

  5. The 110 Northbound Fastrak Lanes are so slow on weekday mornings, the cameras could render pictures of the entire car by the time it passes. And I echo Jason L. – There is no CHP enforcement present. It appears they’ve just given up. Those $400 fines just aren’t worth it, I guess!

  6. Or Metro could, you know, actually verify if they’re ticketing the right person and that the person is in fact driving solo BEFORE they mail them a citation.

    But Metro loves their expensive gadgetry, and they love automatically ticketing carpoolers for using the carpool lane. God forbid we should actually have a Metro which is in love with getting people where they need to go.