By now, you must’ve noticed on the 10 and 110 Freeways those lanes that sort of look like carpool lanes, but there’s just a little something different about them.
They’re part of FasTrak, which is an electronic toll road system that allows you to drive in those special lanes, for an extra fee of course. What sets it apart from your average HOV lane is that single riders can also use the special roads as long as they pay for it.
In order to use FasTrak, you must install a transponder in your car and it will automatically deduct the toll using a prepaid account when you pass underneath its sensors.
The price you pay to travel in these express lanes is variable, depending on how congested traffic is at that moment.
Carson wasn’t hip to these new changes and accidentally ended up driving in one of those lanes on his way to the desert over the weekend!
“Before I knew it, somewhere in El Monte, there was a double lane. Like, it just appeared out of nowhere!” Carson explained. “I was in it and it was a FasTrak lane, which I think is a metro thing. I have no idea, Angie!”
Carson used tollways all the time when he lived in NYC, but over there, it’s a much more defined system with designated booths each car stops at to pay the fee.
“There was no explanation of is it okay to be in this lane?, what is this lane?, who is it for?, what is the fine?, what are the options?, and then it just dissipated back into a carpool lane,” he argued.
Luckily, Carson didn’t get flagged down by any cops during his road trip, but he’s not in the clear yet. Several listeners called in to say they received tickets in the mail a couple weeks later.
That being said, they only charge you for the price of the toll, which typically adds up to less than $2.
“If you don’t pay it within a certain amount of time, they’ll bill you like $45 bucks or something like that,” Debra told Carson. “But I only had to send a check in, actually I think I did it over the phone. It was a dollar-something.”
April in Pomona was fully aware when her family was crossing into a FasTrak lane without a transponder, but she was desperate to escape the traffic. She got billed $1.40.
“Oh, that’s not bad!” she said. “I was like, ‘Let’s do it again!’”
- Have you tried out the FasTrak lanes? Do you keep a transponder in your car? Tell us how you feel about the new toll roads in the comments section!