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CA Green stickers & HOV/Express toll lanes

Discussion in 'Toyota Prius Plug-in' started by elmofongo, Mar 25, 2012.

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  1. elmofongo

    elmofongo Member

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    Dual use HOV/Express toll lanes have been popping out in the Bay Area lately and I've been wondering how they fit in with a commuters like me who will own both a Green Sticker AND a Fastrak transponder on their vehicles.

    What will prevent the sensors from charging my Fastrak account every time I use the dual purpose HOV/Express Toll lane?

    Thanks
  2. tarantoga

    tarantoga Junior Member

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    Same as for regular carpools (i.e. more than one person in vehicle) that have a Fastrak transponder - you'll have to hide it; I think an electrostatic bag should work.
  3. pfile

    pfile Member

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    yes, the fastrak transponder comes in a translucent grey plastic sleeve, which is an electrostatic/conductive bag. putting it in there should prevent it from responding to the fastrak antennas.
  4. elmofongo

    elmofongo Member

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    So does that mean that cheaters don't get cited by cameras?
  5. pfile

    pfile Member

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    that is a very good question, i have wondered this myself. lots of times on the various bridges my transponder will not beep, but due to the cameras i'm still okay. i think it's likely that if i were paying to run in the express lane that my transponder would not beep from time to time, and then what? as you say if they use cameras then people with stickers are sunk. unless they are going to put a flag in their database indicating that some cars get to run in the express lane for free?

    i suppose the alternative is that you get charged even if you have stickers. the express lane website does not cover that case but they do talk about what to do when you have an actual carpool - hide the transponder...
  6. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #00005

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    If a facility has a fee dependent only on, say, the number of axles of the vehicle (like the toll bridges in the SF Bay Area), then with Fastrak, they can (and do) photograph the license plate and send a notice to the registered owner if the Fastrak registers a no-pay. OTOH, if the toll is contingent on something like a minimum number of occupants, or displaying certain decals, then enforcement is by visual inspection by a police officer. If there is no police officer, then you got off. But a $300+ a pop for infractions, that can be an expensive gamble. Taking a picture just won't work in the carpool case, since it won't be able to notice, for example, an infant in a car seat in the rear seat.

    And yes, Fastrak users who qualify for not paying the toll need to put their transponder in the mylar jacket it is shipped with, or else they will be charged. People who have transponders permanently attached to their bumper (due to, say metallic tinting on their windows that blocks the signal) are just *****, according to our local newspaper traffic reporter.
  7. calbear

    calbear Member

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    I thought that carpool discounts on the bridges are now 50% off, not free. In which case, you still need to have the transponder. Here's what it says on the Fastrak website for say the San Mateo bridge:


    Carpool -
    The following types of vehicles will be charged a discounted carpool toll of $2.50 in the designated carpool lane during the designated carpool hours:.

    • Any 2-axle vehicle, without a trailer, carrying two or more persons
    • Any single-occupancy inherently-low-emission vehicle (ILEV) with DMV-issued decals
    • Any 2-axle vehicle, without a trailer, designated by the manufacturer to be occupied by no more than two person, carrying two persons
    • Any motorcycle
    Note: All carpool vehicles must use designated carpool lanes and use a FasTrak toll tag to pay for tolls.


    I just used my stickers for the first time in the new HOT express lanes and simply put the transponder in the mylar bag - didn't beep.
  8. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #00005

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    But I believe that in this case that the eligibility as a carpool is manually verified by a "toll taker" (who actually cannot take any toll). Your quote seems to suggest that the decals qualify you for the carpool rate. I think that is new; I remember it being discussed in the newspaper that at least the old expired yellow decals did NOT qualify you for the carpool rate.
  9. calbear

    calbear Member

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    It says in bullet 2: "Any single-occupancy inherently-low-emission vehicle (ILEV) with DMV-issued decals" would qualify for the discounted bridge toll rate. You go through the carpool lanes specifically, with your fastrak, to get the discount.
  10. mmstuart

    mmstuart New Member

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    On all of the Bay area bridges that take tolls you just drive through the car pool lane and the system automatically charges the car pool rate. ONLY ON THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE DO YOU HAVE TO STOP and have a toll check discount the rate manually if you have a sticker or are a car pool.
  11. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #00005

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    So is eligibility for the carpool toll rate enforced by a police officer who may be lurking nearby, like for ordinary carpool lanes?

    A couple of years back (while the yellow decals were valid), I recall it being specifically mentioned by our local newspaper traffic columnist that (at that time, anyway) the decals gave you the right to drive in the carpool lanes approaching the toll bridges, but did not qualify you for the carpool toll rate on the bridge itself. It's good to know that that has apparently changed.
  12. mmstuart

    mmstuart New Member

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    True back with the yellow stickers we had to first get a Hybrid transponder and were suppose to use that one in the Hybrid when we crossed bridges so that we would be charged for our toll crossing. My friends who used the bridges said they never were actually charged.

    I think it changed officially when they went to charging carpools 50% of the normal rate. There would be no way to manage having people keep two transponders, one when they were a single in the HOV lane and one when they were a carpool.

    The change is why we didn't have to get a special transponder this time.
  13. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #00005

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    I am not sure how I did it, but I never went through the special process to get a Fastrak when I got the yellow decals for my 2002 Prius. I happen to have a transponder in it, but I just ordered it the usual way from Fastrak.
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