Skip to Content
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Streetsblog Los Angeles home
Log In
Congestion Pricing

Metro Clarifies Position on Access to Express Lanes

7_15_09_metro.gifImage: Metro

Anyone trying to catch up on Metro's Express Lanes plans for the I-10 and I-110 by reading the transcript from last week's live chat would have stumbled upon a surprise.  For nearly a week, the answer has been changed now, it seemed as though the agency was planning to deliberately refuse Express Lanes entry to households of lesser means.

Question: What happens if you are in the lanewithout a transponder in your car? Or if the person runs out of moneyon their pre-paid account, do you bill them? Is there a payment plan tobe set up to pay for the transponder or some kind of notification, iffunds are low? Mello S.

Answer: When aperson registers for the Rewards program or opens a transponderaccount, we will be able to link their address to U.S. Census householdincome data and be told if they qualify. The qualifying limit willprobably be something like $35,000 per family.

This answer was pretty shocking and sort of crazy.  Not only would this be an unprecedented policy, but it was going to require the largest mea-culpa of all time.  After all the mocking I did of Times' columnist Tim Rutten's non-sensical sob story about a poor single mother having to choose between being at her son's emergency room bed or eating for the next month; I'd probably have to show up to his house and buff his car to get his forgiveness.

Fortunately, for both myself and Metro's congestion pricing plans, the answer was a mis-print.  According to Stephanie Wiggins, the author of the answer and Metro's Executive Officer for the program, the answer was actually to a different question concerning how they were going to make certain people of lesser means weren't excluded from the program.  The correct answer to the above question is now available on the chat log and now reads:

If you are in the lane without a transponder in your car, you will beable to call the toll hot line or go on the web and open a toll accountwithin 72 hours of using the Express Lane in order to avoid receiving aviolation notice.  If the person runs out of money on their pre-paidaccount we will bill them, however, we will encourage users toreplenish their account before the balance reaches $0 -- there will bemultiple payment plans for the user to choose from.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog Los Angeles

Long Beach Leads in Traffic Circles

Traffic circles aren't quite ubiquitous in Long Beach, but they're around. Riding and walking through the city one encounters circles in neighborhoods rich and poor, new and old.

July 12, 2024

Metro and Caltrans Still Planning 605 Expansion, Plus Four Connecting Freeways

Metro and Caltrans are planning to spend billions of dollars widening the 605, 5, 10, 60 and 105 Freeways. Really.

July 10, 2024
See all posts