Motorists will begin seeing messages on the giant display message boards along the I-10 San Bernardino Freeway in preparation for the opening of the ExpressLanes along this stretch of freeway in early 2013.
"We encourage San Gabriel Valley commuters to get their FasTrak transponders now so they will be ready to enjoy all the benefits of the ExpressLanes when the lanes open on the 10 freeway,” said Duarte Mayor and Metro Board Member John Fasana.
“With the successful opening of the I-110 ExpressLanes, we look forward to seeing how the I-10 ExpressLanes will reduce traffic congestion in the San Gabriel Valley.”
Metro encourages those planning on using the new ExpressLanes to open an account and get their transponders now.
To open a FasTrak account and receive an ExpressLanes switchable transponder, people can visit www.metroexpresslanes.net; call 511 and say “ExpressLanes”; also they can visit walk-in centers at the El Monte Station, 3501 Santa Anita Avenue, El Monte or mail an application, which is available online, to Metro ExpressLanes, PO Box 3878, Gardena, CA 90247
The costs vary depending on payment methods. Drivers who open their accounts with a credit or debit card will pay $40 and the transponder deposit will be waived. The $40 will be applied to any tolls incurred while driving solo in the Metro ExpressLanes. There is a $3 monthly account fee, which will go into effect when the I-10 Freeway Expresslanes open early next year. The monthly fee is waived after four one-way trips in the Metro ExpressLanes and/or on travel on eligible transit in the ExpressLanes corridor.
No date has been set for the official opening of the ExpressLanes along the 10 San Bernardino Freeway but work is progressing for a possible late January/early February opening.
The ExpressLanes program seeks to reduce congestion by improving travel choices in the two corridors. Carpools, vanpools, and motorcycles will travel toll free. All will need a FasTrak transponder to travel in the ExpressLanes.
When the I-10 ExpressLanes open this year, the rules for carpools on the I-10 freeway will stay the same as they are today. Carpools are three or more people traveling during peak travel times of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, with holidays excluded.
During peak travel times, carpools of just two people can travel in the I-10 San Bernardino ExpressLanes for a toll. All other times, they will travel toll-free in the Expresslanes.
At all times on both freeways, the general purpose lanes are not tolled. Net toll revenues will be reinvested in the corridor where they are generated for transportation improvements. To prevent backups in the ExpressLanes, the tolls will be adjusted from .25 cents a mile to a maximum of $1.40 a mile and will increase as the number of vehicles in the ExpressLanes increase.
For now, the carpool lanes are still operating on the I-10 freeway until the conversion to Metro ExpressLanes, so solo drivers cannot use FasTrak on the I-10 freeway until the ExpressLanes open this year.
Along the I-10 freeway, an additional toll lane is being constructed in each direction between the 605 and the 710 freeways to add capacity along that heavily traveled corridor. Prior to the ExpressLanes, there was only one carpool lane operating in each direction along the El Monte Busway. None of the general purpose lanes will be taken away to convert the lanes and make the improvements.