The Metro Board of Directors on Thursday will consider extending the waiver of the $3 account maintenance fee charged to ExpressLanes accountholders who use the lanes three times or less per month.
In April, the Board approved a motion by Zev Yaroslavskyin to waive the fee for those who live or work in Los Angeles County.
As the above Metro staff report notes, there has generally been a positive response to the waiver as more people have signed up for ExpressLanes accounts this year. The waiver has — as expected — also encouraged more infrequent users of the ExpressLanes while cutting into Metro revenues for the ExpressLanes pilot program.
Staff believes the positives outweigh the negatives and is recommending to continue the waiver through the duration of the pilot program.
After the pilot program ends in February 2014, the ExpressLanes will be evaluated by an outside firm and the Metro Board will subsequently decide whether to continue the program.
Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects
I’m with the guys above. I only got a transponder when they stopped the bogus monthly fee. And when it’s reinstated, I’m canceling. As was noted above, how is it that the San Diego express lanes are free for carpools without a transponder, but they can’t do that here? I can’t believe that they didn’t consider that there are literally thousands of people who use the lanes infrequently, and cutting them out entirely was a bad move. But then again, it’s just another case of LA Metro taking a problem that’s been successfully solved in other cities decades ago, and coming up with an entirely new and completely wrong solution.
Umm why is it that the fast track lanes in San Diego County on the 15 freeway do not require carpoolers to use a transponder but is only required for those that are along in the car and want to use the lane ….. and this is a decade old technology….LA- GET with it and ditch the transponders for carpoolers!
@Rick Beaver: I think Metro’s transponder is compatible with Orange County’s, but Orange County has not made their transponder compatible with ours.
To me at least, it makes no sense. Why can’t you have on and off ramps like the toll roads in Orange County where you can either use a transponder and a lane you can use to pay toll. And to me at least once you buy a transponder, you should be able to use it in any county with express lanes in California. The program has so many limitations it is unbelievable.
It wouldn’t surprise me at all that ExpressLanes is run by the same company that is contracted out by Metro to run the TAP ReadyCard that no one is stupid enough to buy.
It has similar bogus maintenance fees to nickle and diming you for everything like the $4.95 monthly fee whether you use it or not.
Funny enough it even says “NO TRANSACTION FEES / NO HIDDEN FEES Just a $4.95 monthly maintenance fee” as if it’s supposed to make us feel better. LOL
I refuse to pay a fee for something I don’t use. I was on the fence for signing up and now after seeing the fee I will not sign up. Thanks you morons!
An earlier post here said that Metro actually contracts out with some private corporation for managing the transponder database, and that corporation charges Metro $3 per account per month. Right now, Metro is paying for that out of pocket, instead of passing it on to the users.
It sounds to me like they need to restructure their deal with this private corporation – I don’t know what sort of database costs $3 per entry per month. But until they do that, this does actually have some cost to Metro.
The 405 definitely warrants a need for an ExpressLane. But no fees!
A little over a week ago (a Friday afternoon) I had 5 people in the car and slogged on the 10 from west of the 110 to east of the 215. It would have been nice to be able to use the HOV lanes. The day that the fee is dropped altogether is the day that I sign up for a FT.
Also, occasionally I would be in the postition to use the 110 lanes, as a carpool, but the HOT and it’s fee killed that.
I signed up earlier this year after learning that the monthly maintenance fee was gone.
Disregarding the times I’ve used it for carpools, since then FasTrak has collected about $15 in single-person tolls from me as an infrequent user which otherwise they would’ve received nothing because I would’ve never gotten the transponder if it came with bogus minimum-usage required monthly fees.
I’m with Steven White above, if the maintenance fee comes back, I’m simply cancelling it. I refuse to pay a monthly fee especially if there is absolutely no justification for it.
So from my perspective, FasTrak either gains $15 over 6 months without the fees, or they gain nothing because of the $3 infrequent user fee. Let’s see what they decide to go with.
I’m an occasional express lane user (both carpool and solo) and a big fan of the waiver. For the first 6 months of use, I spent as much on account maintenance fees as tolls. It was really hard to convince other occasional carpoolers to sign up for Fasttrak when they pointed out that they didn’t want to pay monthly fees.
The staff report of “net loss of revenue” is misleading because it doesn’t factor in human choice of not opening a FasTrak account at all.
Instead of looking at it as a net revenue loss against a hypothetical situation where $3 were charged to all infrequent users today, it has to be looked as a net revenue gain through the tolls collected from those infrequent users who would’ve never gotten a transponder to begin with if the fee remained intact.
Besides, no one has yet given any satisfactory rationale on why they came up with the $3 fee to begin with. What arithmetic formula did they use to come up with this number anyway?
The day the fee waiver ends is the day I cancel my account. Here’s to hoping they continue the waiver for the remainder of the program.