I-680 Express lanes due to open this fall

Drivers will decide if they want to pay to avoid backups

A new toll system for solo drivers who want to use the HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes on Interstate 680 is set to open Sept. 20.

The new toll lanes will run on southbound I-680 from Calaveras Road (California 84) in Sunol to Calaveras Boulevard (California 237) in Milpitas.

Since the lanes remain largely open, used by car pools, buses and motorcycles, the plan is to let single-passenger cars pay a fee to use the lane. That fee will vary based on how crowded the highway is and would ease congestion by moving some drivers off the regular lanes and onto the HOV lanes.

Automated overhead signs will indicate how much the toll will be for each section of the road. Once a driver moves into the lane, an overhead sensor will bill the FasTrak sensor inside the car.

Frank Furger, Alameda County Congestion Management Agency (ACCMA) Chief Deputy Director of Projects said the minimum toll from one of the sensors to the next would be $.30 to $.50.

"The maximum toll has not been determined. We anticipate the average toll will be about $3.00," Furger said. The price would climb as congestion increases Furger said in Florida, where a similar system is in place, some drivers immediately pull into the pay lane when they see the price rise.

"There's a confirmed number of commuters who say, 'The toll is higher, there must be some congestion ahead. I'm jumping in,'" he said.

Furger said the system will require some adjustment to determine the right tolls. If they're too high, drivers won't pay; if they're too low, the HOV lanes could become nearly as crowded as the regular lanes.

An ad campaign to raise awareness and promote use of the lane is planned, but Furger said there would be a grace period of about a year for drivers to get used to the idea of paying to move into the lane.

Drivers with passengers won't have to pay the toll, but ACCMA officials warned those drivers could be billed if they don't put their FasTrak transponders back into the Mylar bag they come in.

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Posted by Stupid
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 26, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Just another tax. We pay taxes to build this, so then they can tax us more.... and yeah they will waste the money..... wait till the accidents when people try and merge and get it wrong....

Like this comment
Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 27, 2010 at 9:44 am

Just another perc for the wealthy. Sad, and unfair. The person with the old car in the middle lane needs to get to their destination without delay, just like the person driving the Lexus alone in the "Gold Lane".

We had better rethink how we vote here in California, and quit reelecting the imbeciles who pass these types of regulations.

Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 28, 2010 at 8:13 am

The intent of the HOV lanes are for 2 persons not ones with the ability to pay.....another tax upon us. I have the ability to pay but think the lanes should be for carpooling only.

Like this comment
Posted by Kim
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jun 28, 2010 at 8:21 am

What is the costs going to be? They sure have kept that quiet.

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Posted by Maria
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2010 at 9:07 am

This express lane is said to operate 24/7. Does this mean that the carpool lane on the off-hours (after 9AM and before 3PM)cannot be used by a solo driver? Does anybody know....?

Like this comment
Posted by Jetson
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 28, 2010 at 9:35 am

Jetson is a registered user.

I don't understand why they would make the carpool lane going south on 680 a pay lane for solo drivers also. Who wants to pay to get to work sooner? They should of used that money for a carpool lane going north. Traffic south isn't really that bad compared to going north in the afternoon.

Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:08 pm

An interesting idea but the lane lost with the median created to separate the elite from the plebs is mind-boggling.

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm

@ George - The lane is already there, it is currently the HOV lane. Caltrans is adding in Fasttrack readers to allow for solo access to the HOV lane.

My question is how will lane access by solo drivers be enforced? Currently, there is virtually no enforcement of the HOV lane on 680 south. Now solo drivers will have legitimate access to the HOV lane, so a visual check of the passenger count will not be acceptable. I could simply have a fake Fasttrack transponder in my window and no one will be the wiser.

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Posted by Trapped
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

What an assult on common sense auto movement. HOV lanes always cause MORE congestion in the end. These extremists just like to punish..they vil 'force' us to do as they command ! ! Double up or die..we vil fall in line. Nevermind that the S L O W congestion causes more pollution. Don't argue. They are always right. They are theorists who 'sit'xxxxx. Their fantasies rarely consider reality. Many of us simply cannot ride with anybody ! Sad.

Like this comment
Posted by Peter
a resident of another community
on Jun 28, 2010 at 8:00 pm

What happened to the road tax we approved 3 or 4 years ago? THe bill must of been writted so that our greedy politicaians could get their hands on it for their special interests.

Like this comment
Posted by Matt
a resident of Beratlis Place
on Jun 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

What good is a carpool lane if it's built on a stretch of road that is not too congested? They need to expand that carpool lane from I580/I680 all the way down to 237 to ease up the morning commute.

And how about another carpool lane from 237 up to I580 on I680N? The congestion there is ridiculous.

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Posted by Arroyo
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 28, 2010 at 10:01 pm

To answer the question about how they will know whether you are a single driver and have a transponder, or not. There will be sensor lights in the median that show if you have a valid transponder in you car, or not. Single driver, without the correct color light, you're getting a citation.

As for the fees to use the lane, I believe they are based on how heavy the traffic is in the non-carpool lanes. The heavier the traffic, the more costly it will be to use the lane.

Are we ready yet to vote out these dopes in Sacramento???

Like this comment
Posted by kelly
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Jun 30, 2010 at 1:13 am

Folks, register Republican and vote out all the psycho Democrats in legislation who hold the purse strings to special interest. Additionally, our city counsel is all liberal Democrats except for Jerry Thorne. Anyone but Hosterman!

Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Southeast Pleasanton
on Jul 3, 2010 at 11:52 pm

It makes no sense to have an HOV lane in the southbound direction only, and even less to experiment with this constly, likely confusing, and nearly certain to fail toll lane. Southbound isn't the problem. It's the bend and uphill grade northbound in the evening that's a parking lot.

What was the point of making an HOV lane in one direction only in the first place? It ensures that few will use it won't therefore solve any problems.

Whatever the new fee structure will be, they could charge 3x as much if it were installed it Northbound insted. Enough to pay for a road improvement that would actually fix the problem. I wonder if the planners have ever even driven the road in rush hour?

Like this comment
Posted by Anthony
a resident of Danville
on Sep 14, 2010 at 5:04 pm

So by removing one lane to add painted dividers is going to remedy traffic? Is this logic flawed to anyone else?

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Posted by Danielle
a resident of another community
on Dec 15, 2010 at 2:59 pm

I was driving in that HOV lane the other day with two other people in the car. Fast track was removed from the window and covered up as to the official instructions for this lane. Regardless, I was fined $27 for driving in the lane without fast track. What gives? There was three people in the car! *grumbles* This new lane is horrendous.

Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Ridgeview Commons

on Jun 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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