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.

Live chat transcripts on ExpressLanes is posted!

Here is the full transcript from the live web chat with ExpressLanes Executive Officer Stephanie Wiggins from last Friday about Metro’s ExpressLanes project, which opens on the 110 freeway on Saturday. To get a FasTrak transponder to use the lanes — and everyone who uses the lanes must have oneplease click here.

Questions are in bold.

Good morning Stephanie! Thanks for joining us today to answer questions about ExpressLanes. This is a new thing for Los Angeles but we gather it’s pretty common in other parts of the country/world. Can you name a few other cities that are using ExpressLanes and how they are working out?

Great question! ExpressLanes, also known as High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes, are working well in 14 cities in the U.S., including San Diego, Orange County, Seattle, Minneapolis, Atlanta and Miami. It takes a while for the public to adjust to the new system but they typically like ExpressLanes once they start using them. ExpressLanes benefit everyone by providing reduced travel times, improved air quality, and more frequent transit service.

Several people have told me they have driven on the stretch of the 110 that will soon become express lanes. But they have been ticketed and cited for being in those lanes without the transponders prior to the lanes turning into express. Are these tickets valid being that they were issued before Nov 10? thanks. Ginger Chan

Ginger, The 110 ExpressLanes are not in operation until November 10. However, if commuters are driving alone in the 110 HOV lanes today, they are in violation of the minimum occupancy requirement and could receive a citation. To confirm the validity of the ticket they should contact the CHP.

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ExpressLanes video: rules of the road and enforcement

Metro’s ExpressLanes is gearing up for the fall debut of the HOT lanes on the 110 freeway between Adams Boulevard and the Artesia Transit Center. That will be followed next year by the arrival of HOT lanes on the 10 freeway between Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles and the 605 freeway.

The project has made a series of videos explaining how the ExpressLanes will work. This one answers questions that many of you have had about enforcement — how the CHP will monitor who should and shouldn’t be paying a toll.

Here are the links to the first three videos:

ExpressLanes: It’s about time

ExpressLanes: how it works

ExpressLanes: explaining congestion pricing

The project will allow single motorists to use the carpool lanes on the 110 and 10 in exchange for a toll that will rise and fall depending on how much room there is to sell in the lanes. There’s a ton of useful information on the project web page, including this FAQ, and the videos also do a good job explaining how the project will work.