Tolling on Bay Area Express Lanes To Resume Next Week
In light of steadily rising traffic volumes on Bay Area freeways as shelter-in-place restrictions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic begin to ease, the region’s three Express Lane operators — the Alameda County Transportation Commission, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission — will resume weekday tolling on Monday, June 1 to ensure that travelers in key corridors have an option for a fast, reliable trip.
Beginning Monday at 5 a.m., Express Lanes on Interstate 580 in Alameda County; Interstate 680 in Contra Costa County; State Route 237 in Santa Clara County; and southbound I-680 over the Sunol Grade in Alameda and Santa Clara counties will reinstate the variable-rate tolling policies that were temporarily suspended March 20. On weekdays from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., changeable electronic signs over the Express Lanes will once again display current toll rates for solo drivers who wish to travel in the Express Lane. Tolls rise or fall based on congestion in the corridor.
Along with the return of Express Lane tolling, commuters can expect several Bay Area transit agencies in the coming weeks to resume express bus services that had been temporarily suspended earlier this spring. Weekday traffic volume in most Bay Area freeway corridors is now reaching at least 60 percent of spring 2019 levels. Traffic counts in some Express Lane corridors, including I-580 through Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore; and Highway 237 in Milpitas, San Jose and Sunnyvale this month registered close to 80 percent of last year’s levels during certain high-travel periods.
All vehicles using the I-580 Express Lanes, the State Route 237 Express Lanes and the 680 Contra Costa Express Lanes during weekday operating hours must be equipped with a FasTrak toll tag or an adjustable FasTrak Flex tag. Carpoolers and motorcyclists can use these lanes free of charge with a FasTrak Flex tag set to the “2” or “3+” position. While solo drivers must have FasTrak to use the southbound I-680 Sunol Express Lane, carpools and motorcycles can still use this lane without FasTrak.