The Metro Board of Directors approved Thursday a proposal by Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn to enact a one-year pilot program to test decriminalizing the I-110 and I-10 ExpressLanes.
“Using our ExpressLanes can be daunting to someone who is not a savvy ExpressLane driver,” said Supervisor Hahn. “The signage is confusing and I know there are plenty of people who have not gone through the trouble of getting a transponder. My hope is that this pilot program makes our ExpressLanes more user friendly and less punitive.”
Currently, Metro’s ExpressLane model requires every user to have a transponder installed in their vehicle. If they do not, cameras take photos of the car’s license plate and send the driver a $25 fine in the mail. If a CHP officer pulls over a car in the ExpressLane without a transponder, the driver can get a $250 citation.
Supervisor Hahn’s “Pay-As-You-Use” model would allow a driver without a transponder to use the ExpressLane without fear of a fine or ticket. Metro would simply send a bill in the mail to the driver with instructions to pay the congestion fee with an additional $4 administrative fee.
Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously approved Hahn’s proposal to implement this model as a one-year pilot program. Metro will use the pilot to study the impact on congestion and ExpressLane use. Metro will need an estimated nine months to set up this program and was instructed to do extensive public outreach to avoid driver confusion.
Metro’s approval of the pilot program comes 9 months after Supervisor Hahn proposed the idea last April.