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California: Free 91/110/10 Express Lane Access

Discussion in 'California' started by FANGO, Jun 19, 2014.

  1. FANGO

    FANGO Active Member

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    It was suggested during this last meetup that I post this information here for everyone, since some people don't know about it. I don't know if there's any analogue for norcal, but in the LA/OC area, this will be very useful for a lot of people. If you're not from LA/OC and have an express lane on your local freeway, you should look into this, because it's likely that there is a similar program available - since a CA law was passed saying carpool lanes must allow ZEVs free access even after they get converted to express lanes (as happened with the 110 and 10).

    Anyway, If you get a 91 Express Lanes transponder ($40, though the transponder is "free" as those $40 get added to your account, which you can use on other toll roads like the 73), and ask them for a switchable transponder instead of a normal one, you can use it on your Tesla to get free access to the 91/110/10 express lanes, and any future carpool lanes which get converted into express lanes (per CA law). Basically, here's what you do:

    Go to this page to get the application for the 91 Express Lane Special Access Program:

    http://www.91expresslanes.com/pdf/specapp.pdf

    It gives various groups, including zero-emission vehicles, free passes on 91 express lane any time other than Eastbound 4-6pm on weekdays (for which you get 50% off). This is great if you ever use that freeway.

    Note that you can ONLY use this transponder in a ZEV. So you can't use it on any of your other cars, only your Tesla, or another EV.

    Then, see this page:


    Metro ExpressLanes

    The relevant portion is here:


    Effective February 24, 2014, vehicles displaying a DMV issued White or Green Clean Air Vehicle Decal Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) Decals - High Occupancy Vehicle HOV Lane Usage
    will be toll-free. All vehicles, including Clean Air Vehicles, are required to have a FasTrak® transponder while traveling on the ExpressLanes. To ensure toll-free travel, set your transponder to switch position 3 (3+ person carpool) prior to starting your trip. Clean energy vehicles that do not have a Clean Air Vehicle Decal must drive with their transponder set according to their vehicle occupancy.



    Basically, what this means is that you can use the switchable transponder you acquired for 91 express lane access on the 110/10 express lanes, and just leave it always switched to 3+, and you shouldn't have to pay any tolls on any of these express lanes. This does NOT work for other toll roads, like the 73, which you'll still get charged for - but you can use the same transponder, and the money will just come out of your account. I have noticed that I did end up with a 50 cent charge on my account at one point from driving on the 110, and I don't know why, so you might want to check it every once in a while just in case (you can check online). But definitely go ahead and do this, it doesn't cost a whole lot and will get you out of traffic even when the carpool sticker can't!

    Also, I do not know if you can convert a transponder/account you already have to a Special Access account, but I'm sure you can call them about it and they'll help you out.
     
  2. MikeC

    MikeC Active Member

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    Thanks for posting this. I was always annoyed that the converted carpool lanes didn't allow EVs. Having to get a transponder is still annoying, but better than no access at all. Especially because it doesn't sound like the express lanes are going to go away any time soon.

    I wonder how it will work for those of us with unconventional decal placement (right rear window only).
     
  3. FANGO

    FANGO Active Member

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    I'm sure it will be fine. Mine is in the rear window in my roadster too.
     
  4. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    We use a single sticker for our Model S and Roadster and it is pretty low. The Toll roads don't actually use that. It just checks for the "3" person setting.
     
  5. johnnyS

    johnnyS Member

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    I have had a 91 express lane account for a long time. I switched it to EV only account and dropped our other cars. The account is now free which is a nice improvement. Our transponder does not have a switch, I guess I will have to see about trading it in for a new one.
     
  6. jkliu47

    jkliu47 Member

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    Fango:

    Thanks for posting the info.

    I was also confused when transferring my transponder to the Model S, until I found the information digging around the Metro Expresslane site.

    Wish I had checked in TMC about the CAV label placement though - followed their instructions and have them defacing the rear of the Model S. Ugh. One small consolation, they are white so not as noticeable on my white car.
     
  7. Kipernicus

    Kipernicus Model S Res#P1440

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    I believe the norcal FasTrak transponders for the bridges do work in LA/OC. Mine is old and does not have a switch though. Nor does it work through the Model S windshield, and I've been relying on the gate to photo capture my license plate and bill accordingly.
     
  8. FANGO

    FANGO Active Member

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    I had a non-switchable one, all I had to do was call them up and they sent me a switchable one along with an envelope to send the old non-switchable one back in. Easy process.
     
  9. JPP

    JPP Active Member

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    Curious--does the SoCal switchable transponder work inside the Model S windshield? Where did you mount it? I gave up on the white square NoCal version and got the license plate (...non switchable/removable) version and mounted it behind the nose cone...
     
  10. Larry

    Larry Member

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    For the few toll roads in NorCal, is the HOV sticker not enough or are we required to have a transponder?
     
  11. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    Larry, Toll Roads are managed on a county by county basis. I believe when I used to drive a Hybrid (Yellow sticker) a few years ago the application for NorCal folks required the sticker AND the toll tags for the bridges, etc. But, I'm sure someone from the Bay Area can correct me.
     
  12. jkliu47

    jkliu47 Member

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    I had mounted the transponder just to the right of the rear view mirror mount. That works.

    Recently however, I removed that eyesore, and just place the loose transponder on the dash as I am entering the Express lane, wait for the acknowledging beep, then store it away.
     
  13. spaghetti

    spaghetti Member

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    All the Bay Area bridges require a toll (although reduced) even to carpoolers / ZEVs. Your best bet is to get a transponder from FASTRAK and then add all your vehicles to your account. This way you never need to carry (or mount to the windshield / license plate) your transponder - the cameras on the bridges will read your license plate and debit your account when you use any of the bridges. This also prevents unnecessary charges when a ZEV decal allows you to use an HOV lane free of charge.
     
  14. Larry

    Larry Member

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    Thanks I already have a Fastrack so I'm set
     
  15. GuyHall

    GuyHall Member

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    I called the FasTrak folks up to request a switchable unit. They don't have one. They said they check the license plate.
     
  16. mpbruin108

    mpbruin108 Member

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    I had a question about these transponders in our Tesla so I emailed one of the managers of Fast Trak and she confirmed to me that our ZEV Tesla with a transponder set to 3 passengers is free on any fasttrak toll freeway in California. I used it in the bay area and it was a huge save of time across the bridges.
     
  17. Apoclyps

    Apoclyps Member

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    Even the 73?
     
  18. FANGO

    FANGO Active Member

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    No, not toll roads, just express lanes
     
  19. Moparposterchild

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    Just received my transponder and it's not a switchable one. I guess I'll need to call them. When I applied there wasn't any place I could see to request a switchable unit. I did specify that I would only be using a ZEV and they sent me a regular transponder.
     
  20. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    Moderator note: Added region name to thread title. (Not everyone on the forum lives here. Really. I swear!)
     

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