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California Timeline: Car Purchase, License & Registation, HOV Stickers, and FasTrak CAV Toll-Tag

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
481
302
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
I notice this on fastrack website: Only CAVs with orange, purple or red decals are eligible for discounted and toll-free travel.

Blue is not eligible?

I see what you mean; good catch. But I think that is just a "typo" or unintended language omission by FastTrak on its webpage. We have already seen that FasTrak doesn't always get around to successfully updating its language correctly on its webpages as things change over time--e.g., new colors get added.

I have already received my DMV blue stickers and a new FasTrak CAV flex toll tag, along with a paper booklet. The blue stickers get free use of carpool lanes, but for toll and fee discounts you have to also get the CAV flex toll tag.

In further support, notice this seemingly contradictory language within the same FasTrak webpage:

Contradictory Language.jpg




The language circled in red seems to indicate that blue stickers are not included. That is clearly an error of omission. As evidence notice the language outlined in green--blues stickers are included, as is intended.

BTW, the DMV blue stickers cost $22 (as on March 2021), but the FasTrak CAV flex toll tag is "free" (it is on loan from FasTrak and should eventually be returned) if you have a FasTrak account, along with HOV stickers and a CAV certificate from DMV.
 

generalmilk

Member
Apr 28, 2021
31
29
San Bruno, CA
I see what you mean; good catch. But I think that is just a "typo" or unintended language omission by FastTrak on its webpage. We have already seen that FasTrak doesn't always get around to successfully updating its language correctly on its webpages as things change over time--e.g., new colors get added.

I have already received my DMV blue stickers and a new FasTrak CAV flex toll tag, along with a paper booklet. The blue stickers get free use of carpool lanes, but for toll and fee discounts you have to also get the CAV flex toll tag.

In further support, notice this seemingly contradictory language within the same FasTrak webpage:

View attachment 685438



The language circled in red seems to indicate that blue stickers are not included. That is clearly an error of omission. As evidence notice the language outlined in green--blues stickers are included, as is intended.

BTW, the DMV blue stickers cost $22 (as on March 2021), but the FasTrak CAV flex toll tag is "free" (it is on loan from FasTrak and should eventually be returned) if you have a FasTrak account, along with HOV stickers and a CAV certificate from DMV.
This explanation makes the best sense. I have mailed mine to DMV on 06/10 with the temporary license plate number, check not cashed yet as expected, fingers crossed!
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
481
302
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
This explanation makes the best sense. I have mailed mine to DMV on 06/10 with the temporary license plate number, check not cashed yet as expected, fingers crossed!

Good work. If DMV processing time delays are consistent with my experience, you might expect to see (a) permanent license plates in about one month (any day now), (b) check cashed within about two months time (mid-August), and (c) blue stickers 1 to 2 weeks later (say by September 1st). Let us know how things go.

My overall experience was a month longer, as I described, because I unfortunately waited to mail the HOV application to DMV until I got the permanent plates. You should save a month's time and be ahead of the game, I hope. Good luck.
 
Last edited:

anthoknee

New Member
Apr 12, 2021
3
1
Tustin, CA
I took delivery on April 15, 2021, got my plates on May 15th and mailed in my application and check on May 16th. We are now a little over 10 weeks and the check still has not been cashed yet. Is there anyone else out there that mailed their check in around the same time so I can compare timelines?
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
481
302
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
I took delivery on April 15, 2021, got my plates on May 15th and mailed in my application and check on May 16th. We are now a little over 10 weeks and the check still has not been cashed yet. Is there anyone else out there that mailed their check in around the same time so I can compare timelines?

Hang in there. Should be any day.

***​

This points to two offenses by DMV:
  1. The delay itself. (Why two to three months? And don't give me that COVID excuse.)

  2. The not knowing. (Was my application received? Is it being processed?)
There is really no excuse for either 1 or 2, but fixing either concern would go a long way towards satisfying the other. For example, DMV could do everyone a big favor by letting people know that applications are received and complete by text or email. Unfortunately, this (otherwise beneficial) program is clearly not a priority to "the powers that be."
 

anthoknee

New Member
Apr 12, 2021
3
1
Tustin, CA
Hang in there. Should be any day.

***​

This points to two offenses by DMV:
  1. The delay itself. (Why two to three months? And don't give me that COVID excuse.)

  2. The not knowing. (Was my application received? Is it being processed?)
There is really no excuse for either 1 or 2, but fixing either concern would go a long way towards satisfying the other. For example, DMV could do everyone a big favor by letting people know that applications are received and complete by text or email. Unfortunately, this (otherwise beneficial) program is clearly not a priority to "the powers that be."
I absolutely agree 100% #2 is the worst because how am I supposed to know, for instance, if the application was lost or never received? Meanwhile if something was lost, I would have lost 2-3 months in the overall process.
 
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phayze one

Member
Apr 9, 2021
307
677
LA (818)
Has anyone recently ordered a sequential non-personalized CA legacy (black and yellow) plate? The DMV site says 4-6 weeks but I'm curious how accurate that is these days. I have a count-up timer on my phone reminding me I'm on week 5 of waiting. Hopefully it's another week away.
 

sdiesel619

Member
May 29, 2021
53
59
San Diego
I took delivery on April 15, 2021, got my plates on May 15th and mailed in my application and check on May 16th. We are now a little over 10 weeks and the check still has not been cashed yet. Is there anyone else out there that mailed their check in around the same time so I can compare timelines?
I sent my wife's application on May 12 and the check was just cashed. Hopefully you get yours cashed soon!
 

anthoknee

New Member
Apr 12, 2021
3
1
Tustin, CA
I sent my wife's application on May 12 and the check was just cashed. Hopefully you get yours cashed soon!
As luck would have it, DMV just cashed the check on Friday. This puts my timeline at the following, in case anyone with a recent purchase is curious about current processing times:

Delivery: 4/15
Plates: 5/15
Mailed in Application and Check: 5/16
Check Cashed: 8/6
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
481
302
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
As luck would have it, DMV just cashed the check on Friday. This puts my timeline at the following, in case anyone with a recent purchase is curious about current processing times:

Delivery: 4/15
Plates: 5/15
Mailed in Application and Check: 5/16
Check Cashed: 8/6

Apocryphally, it seems that response times are increasing. What could be causing this? COVID (bad); increased BEV sales (good); simple governmental incompetence and/or laziness (bad); or what?

I thought of steps to take--letter(s) to DMV management, key legislators, the Governor's Office, and various journalists and publications. But really, seems like California has more important things on its plate these days (with issues like COVID, wildfire, a recall election, us-versus-them polarization, etc.). I doubt that many (still the vast majority) ICE vehicle owners would have much sympathy for "rich, spoiled Tesla drivers." (Though BEV sales in general seem to be expanding more and more towards less well-heeled customers.)

Even if DMV was persuaded to make meaningful staff or tracking changes, it would probably take one or two years just to implement. And with BEV sales increasing, it is arguably doubtful whether the HOV reward program will continue beyond 2024-25.

So HOV applicants just have to thank their lucky stars that the reward program even still exists. (Learn from my mistakes and) Try some of the following steps to help alleviate the pain of waiting:
  • Apply for HOV stickers as soon as you have your car (with at least temporary license plates). (Apparently, it's the VIN that matter most.)
  • Be sure to fill out the application form accurately, clearly and fully. I recommend using a pdf form on the computer that can be double-checked and printed out neat and tidy.
  • Make sure your return address on the application and file with DMV (via prior licenses and registrations) is up-to-date.
  • And MAKE SURE to include a valid check for the correct application fee (was $22 in March 2021).
  • Send your application (to the correct address) using a postal method that allows you to track when it is delivered.
  • Look for DMV to cash your check in about 2-3 months. (!?).
  • Expect delivery of your stickers in an oversize envelope in from 7-14 days after that. (Try not to throw out an important delivery with the junk mail.)
  • If those events don't happen on schedule, rather than passively waiting maybe try to contact DMV to be sure something has not gone wrong. (Various TMC posts have discussed reaching live people in Sacramento.)
Good luck.
 
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phayze one

Member
Apr 9, 2021
307
677
LA (818)
Has anyone recently ordered a sequential non-personalized CA legacy (black and yellow) plate? The DMV site says 4-6 weeks but I'm curious how accurate that is these days. I have a count-up timer on my phone reminding me I'm on week 5 of waiting. Hopefully it's another week away.
Just in case anyone is in the same boat, here‘s my timeline:

June 6th: Took delivery.
June 14th: Went out on a limb and applied for HOV stickers using VIN only.
June 28th: Received regular plates in the mail.
June 28th: Ordered sequential CA Legacy plates.
August 5th: An unexpected tracking number appeared in my USPS informed delivery account. There was no movement on the package until August 11th.
August 12th: Package delivered! As I suspected/hoped, it turned out to be my new plates.
 

Maxters

Member
May 10, 2021
182
162
94565
I'm tempted to put in for the HOV tag in late October, and dating everything including the check January 1 2122 and see if I get the new sticker.

Does anyone have past experience with this idea?
 
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scooter77

Member
Jun 11, 2021
19
2
CA
I'm tempted to put in for the HOV tag in late October, and dating everything including the check January 1 2122 and see if I get the new sticker.

Does anyone have past experience with this idea?
Considering this as well so that we'll have HOV access as early into Jan 2022 as possible. Would be a shame to receive a blue HOV on 12/31/2021 haha
 

Falcon73

Member
Jul 29, 2021
32
17
Mission Viejo, CA USA
It took just over 2 months for the DMV to cash the HOV tag check on the PHEV I submitted on 4/13. It was cashed on 6/16.

We are still awaiting for one that I mailed just over 2 months ago on another car (a Volvo P8 EV). It's my wife's car or will be once the sticker comes!

I remember when I got my Prius Prime (since sold) it took about as long, so long that I wished I had waited for an orange sticker, but the point is now moot.

The 4/13 check is for a Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid (PHEV), which is being moved out of state after the MYLR is delivered, so that sticker will also be defunct long before it expires.

The irony is that I started working from home with Covid, so I only used the Prius Prime HOV sticker for about 3 months!

These stickers should be given out when purchased...
 

STS-134

Member
Aug 8, 2021
27
7
SF Bay Area
Considering this as well so that we'll have HOV access as early into Jan 2022 as possible. Would be a shame to receive a blue HOV on 12/31/2021 haha
I'm wondering if they'll switch to the new color stickers on September 30, given that these stickers will expire on September 30, 2025. If we see reports of this happening starting on October 1, then I'm sending in my application immediately.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
481
302
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
I'm wondering if they'll switch to the new color stickers on September 30, given that these stickers will expire on September 30, 2025. If we see reports of this happening starting on October 1, then I'm sending in my application immediately.

With a likely increase in BEV sales among all brands, will the program even be continued after 2025? Every other car will be cable to use carpool lanes, sort of defeating the purpose. Enjoy the HOV stockers while you can.
 

STS-134

Member
Aug 8, 2021
27
7
SF Bay Area
With a likely increase in BEV sales among all brands, will the program even be continued after 2025? Every other car will be cable to use carpool lanes, sort of defeating the purpose. Enjoy the HOV stockers while you can.
I highly doubt the program will be extended. It will have achieved its purpose. Maybe it'll continue for solar-powered vehicles without a plug or some other type of vehicle that is not numerous enough to clog up the HOV lanes. But personally, I don't think solar-powered cars without a plug are very environmentally friendly. It's way better to put the solar panels on a building and then charge the battery from the mains than put them on cars where they might not be generating any power if the car is parked indoors or has a battery that's already full.
 

tps5352

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 30, 2019
481
302
Bay-Delta Region, California, USA
I highly doubt the program will be extended. It will have achieved its purpose. Maybe it'll continue for solar-powered vehicles without a plug or some other type of vehicle that is not numerous enough to clog up the HOV lanes. But personally, I don't think solar-powered cars without a plug are very environmentally friendly. It's way better to put the solar panels on a building and then charge the battery from the mains than put them on cars where they might not be generating any power if the car is parked indoors or has a battery that's already full.

See my response at the bottom of Post #1 of this Thread (copied there so it could be corrected, as needed).
 

planetary

Member
Dec 29, 2018
238
516
Danville, CA
At this point, I definitely intend to submit HOV paperwork in late December to get a 2022 sticker to last the full remaining lifetime of the program. No brainer.
 

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