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Higher Tolls Coming to HOT Lanes, Fewer non-HOV Hours

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Got this in the e-mail today from Metro.


Starting January 6, 2014, METRO will implement major changes to its HOV/HOT Business Rules: expand the HOV-only hours and raise tolls by as much as $2.25 during the peak commuting hours.
 
“The lanes are first and foremost HOV lanes and we don’t want to compromise the benefit of the HOV system for those who ride the bus, vanpool or carpool,” said Interim METRO President & CEO Tom Lambert. “HOT lanes were created to fill in the additional capacity and give the public another mobility option, which it will continue to do, but we need to tweak the system to ensure traffic flows smoothly.”
 
HOV/HOT customers have been experiencing reduced speeds in the lanes resulting in longer commute times.
 
 To help ease the flow of traffic, the window for HOV-only vehicles will be extended by a half hour during the peak morning commute as follows:
 
  • All corridors (US 290, IH-45 N, IH-45 S, US-59 North and US-59 South) will be open to HOV-only traffic from 6:30 a.m. (previously 7 a.m.) until 8 a.m.
  • US-290 3+ HOV requirement will start at 6:30 a.m. (previously 6:45 a.m.) until 8 a.m.
  • Tolls on IH-45 S and US-59 South will increase by $2 to $6.50 during the 6-6:30 a.m. period
  • Tolls on US 290 and IH-45 N will increase by $2 to $7.00 during the 
    6-6:30 a.m. period 
  • US-59 North toll fee during 6-6:30am hour will increase to $4.50 from $2.25
 
 
The modifications were developed based on studies of traffic patterns, speeds and volumes in the HOV/HOT lanes.  The changes go in effect January 6, 2014
 

 
As someone who is philosophically opposed to taxpayer-funded toll roads, I have to pose the question -- if you have to expand the non-HOV hours, and raise tolls to manage traffic, doesn't that mean it's not working?

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Thanks for this editor there was an article recently saying METRO was going to do something, looks like they have taken action.

 

As for your comment I think the traffic flow was too slow so I think they are taking action to keep the flow moving. The idea of tolls didn't work out as they had hoped it appears.

Edited by Slick Vik

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As someone who is philosophically opposed to taxpayer-funded toll roads, I have to pose the question -- if you have to expand the non-HOV hours, and raise tolls to manage traffic, doesn't that mean it's not working?

Unless I read the article wrong, the are expanding HOV-ONLY hours, not non HOV hours. Which means non HOV hours have been reduced. They have to raise the tolls to reduce the amount of non HOV vehicles from cluttering the HOV lanes, slowing down the busses and HOVs. The HOT lanes were too popular...

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I think this is good gives people incentive to carpool and/or take public transport.

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And reduces the amount of traffic in the HOT lanes so the carpoolers/busses can get to their destination quicker

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Thanks for this editor there was an article recently saying METRO was going to do something, looks like they have taken action.

 

As for your comment I think the traffic flow was too slow so I think they are taking action to keep the flow moving. The idea of tolls didn't work out as they had hoped it appears.

 

Actually, the idea of tolls is working out exactly as they hoped.  The tolls just need to be adjusted from time to time to keep the traffic flowing.  That was the plan all along.

 

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As someone who is philosophically opposed to taxpayer-funded toll roads, I have to pose the question -- if you have to expand the non-HOV hours, and raise tolls to manage traffic, doesn't that mean it's not working?

 

 

As Cloud713 pointed out, I think you got the HOV/non-HOV hours exactly backward.  Your analysis of whether it is working is also completely backward.  Having to raise tolls to manage traffic means it is not only working but working very very well.

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I applaud them for making adjustments to keep the lanes flowing, but am still opposed to HOV-only hours.  What that means is that in the span of one minute you can go from a ~$7 charge to a $150+ ticket.  Instead, they should just have very high tolls during those hours.  If they need to make the toll $20+ during the peak hour, so be it - so long as they at least still have the option to use it if they need it, or they won't get slammed if they miss the window by a couple of minutes.

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I applaud them for making adjustments to keep the lanes flowing, but am still opposed to HOV-only hours. What that means is that in the span of one minute you can go from a ~$7 charge to a $150+ ticket. Instead, they should just have very high tolls during those hours. If they need to make the toll $20+ during the peak hour, so be it - so long as they at least still have the option to use it if they need it, or they won't get slammed if they miss the window by a couple of minutes.

Are they not lenient about the time if you were already on the HOV before it switched to HOV only? Seems like they would give a 15 minute window or something.

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Are they not lenient about the time if you were already on the HOV before it switched to HOV only? Seems like they would give a 15 minute window or something.

 

That's a good question. I'm not exactly sure how they track it.

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In the past, a Metro cop would enter the lane a few minutes after the deadline. If you were behind the cop, it was ticket time.

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That's a good question. I'm not exactly sure how they track it.

If you enter even one minute before HOV time you're fine.

I applaud them for making adjustments to keep the lanes flowing, but am still opposed to HOV-only hours. What that means is that in the span of one minute you can go from a ~$7 charge to a $150+ ticket. Instead, they should just have very high tolls during those hours. If they need to make the toll $20+ during the peak hour, so be it - so long as they at least still have the option to use it if they need it, or they won't get slammed if they miss the window by a couple of minutes.

I think if the lane is already packed during HOV only hours they should leave it that way.

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