Here’s the difference between carpool, HOV, express and FasTrak lanes
By Amy Bentley
Q: Mike Gonzalez of San Jacinto wrote to ask if we could explain the differences between the carpool lane, the HOV lane, the express lanes and FasTrak.
A: We appreciate Gonzalez’s letter because it’s important for Southern California drivers to know these differences so they drive in the correct lanes. For starters, carpool lanes and HOV lanes are the same thing: restricted traffic lanes for vehicles with a driver and one or more occupants. HOV is an acronym for “high occupancy vehicle.” These lanes also may be called diamond lanes. Solo vehicle drivers with no passengers cannot occupy these lanes in Southern California. There are some exemptions including motorcycles and some environmentally friendly cars with stickers from the Department of Motor Vehicles. According to Caltrans, the purpose of HOV lanes is to move more people than more cars; some HOV lanes carry almost half of the people on the entire freeway at a given time.
FasTrak in California is an electronic tolling account for drivers (typically commuters) to pay tolls automatically from a pre-established account that can be prepaid. If you sign up for FasTrak, transponders are issued for your vehicles and drivers can pay the highway tolls electronically. With a FasTrak transponder, you can use the Toll Roads – state routes 73, 133, 241 and 261. These are limited-access, private highways in Orange County operated by The Transportation Corridor Agencies, not the state of California.
The 91 Express Lanes is a four-lane, 18-mile toll road built in the median of the 91 between the 55 and 91 interchange and the 91 interchange with I15. All vehicles using the 91 Express Lanes must display a FasTrak transponder linked to a valid account.
Gonzalez can learn more by visiting www.91expresslanes.com and www.thetollroads.com/accounts/fastrak/california.
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