‘Pay as you go’ express lane program removes toll evasion penalties on L.A. Freeways


Angelenos driving on the ten and 110 freeways can now use the express lanes without fear of penalty.

Previous fines for using the Metro ExpressLanes system and not using a FastTrak transponder ranged from $25 for the primary violation to greater than $300 if a motorist was pulled over by a CHP officer during illegal use of the toll lane.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority agreed this week, though, to eliminate all fines regarding toll evasion after hearing the outcomes of a pilot program that seeks to alleviate congestion on clogged roadways.

Cars traveling within the pair of express lanes are not any longer required to acquire a FasTrak transponder. As an alternative, motorists already in possession of the device can expect to have their toll debited mechanically from an account without incurring an $8 processing fee tacked on to the whole.

Those and not using a transponder can expect to “pay as you go,” in accordance with Metro officials.

The toll system will photograph the vehicle’s license plate and seek for the registered vehicle owner’s mailing address with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Once found, Metro ExpressLanes will mail a notice to the vehicle owner with payment instructions for the toll amount along with an $8 fee that may be paid online, by phone or in person.

If payment isn’t made, Metro can ask the DMV to place a hold or lien on the vehicle owner’s registration. Moreover, switchable transponders are the one way for patrons to declare themselves as High Occupancy Vehicles in the event that they wish to travel toll-free within the express lanes.

Program leaders touted the $8 pay-as-you-go processing fee, which is designed to cover the prices of operating the brand new program without being punitive, as a considerable reduction from Metro’s original violation amount.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who introduced the proposal in 2018, agreed with the sentiment.

“It’s not against the law to drive a automobile on the freeways,” Hahn said, noting she hoped to see a fair smaller fee suggested by staff.

“But I’m not going to fight that today,” the supervisor added. “I feel having this system everlasting is actually necessary and I hope our agency is a model for other transit agencies that would also copy this concept of compassionate lanes.”

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