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110 Freeway's Wildly Popular Toll Lanes Going Carpool-Only During Morning Rush

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The toll lanes on the 110 Freeway, in place since late 2012, are getting plenty of use, but unfortunately that's the opposite of the desired effect. ExpressLanes are basically carpool lanes, but solo drivers can pay to use them; the rate varies depending on how bad traffic is, which is supposed to ease congestion in both the toll lanes and the regular lanes. But over a year, they've seen a 20 percent rise in traffic and now Metro, which operates them, is having to go backsies. They've started making the toll lanes "carpool only" during the worst of the morning rush hour (about 30 minutes), but even that might just be a band-aid fix to the problem, the LA Times says.

Restricting the lanes to carpoolers at certain times might sound like it should work, but the concern is that if the lanes are that crowded to begin with, prices to drive them are too cheap. The toll lanes' pricing changes throughout the day based on demand, but the lowest per-mile rate is just 25 cents; it goes up to as much as $1.40 a mile when traffic is at its worst/most rage-inducing. If you're using the lane between 9 am and 5 pm, paying the maximum for at least a few miles along the 11 miles of toll lanes is "almost a guarantee," says Metro's congestion reduction director, and yet, the traffic in the toll lanes remains heavy.

This fall, after they've "tweaked the algorithm" that they use to adjust the toll according to usage as much as possible, Metro's board of directors is likely to at least consider hiking the maximum cost per mile that ExpressLanes drivers pay. The lanes have been credited with pushing drivers over to public transit, but obviously not enough.
· MTA's toll-lane project may be a victim of its own success [LAT]
· New Toll Lanes on 10 and 110 Pushing People Onto Transit [Curbed LA]
· Everything You Need to Know About New 110 and 10 Toll Lanes [Curbed LA]