The Metro Board voted 7 to 4 to approve the above motion by Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky to waive the $3 account maintenance fee for L.A. County residents who have a FasTrak transponder for the Metro ExpressLanes.
Metro officials said that waiving the fee would likely result in more FasTrak accounts being opened. Infrequent users have complained that the $3 fee — charged to those who use the ExpressLanes three or fewer times each month — is a major disincentive to getting a transponder.
Metro's studies have also shown that only 4.3 percent of ExpressLanes users are “infrequent.” But that number, of course, doesn't include the number of people who may open an account if the fee wasn't in place.
The vote and the discussion beforehand was hardly unanimous. Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas said that he would be willing to revisit the issue of the fee after the first year of the ExpressLanes is finished in 10 months. In the meantime, he would like to see how the lanes perform with the current rules in place.
The fee waiver goes into effect today and runs until Oct. 25. Customers who already paid the fee this month will be given credit on their bills.
Voting yes were Yaroslavsky, Diane DuBois, Jose Huizar, Richard Katz, Ara Najarian, Pam O'Connor and Mel Wilson. Voting against the motion were Michael Antonovich, John Fasana, Gloria Molina and Ridley-Thomas.