A new toll lane opening on the 10 Freeway, which runs east-west from Santa Monica through Los Angeles, could ease traffic for some UCLA commuters this weekend.
Starting Saturday, solo drivers will be able to use the carpool lane on the 14-mile stretch from Los Angeles Union Station to the 605 Freeway if they pay a fee anywhere from 25 cents to $1.40 a mile depending on congestion and time of day, according to Metro.
To use the toll lanes, solo drivers will have to get an ExpressLanes FasTrak transponder, a device placed in cars that collects tolls electronically. Carpool drivers can travel toll-free if they have a switchable FasTrak transponder that shows how many people are in the vehicle, according to Metro.
About 3,000 to 5,000 people who work or go to school at UCLA use the 10 Freeway to go to campus every day, said David Karwaski, planning and policy manager for UCLA Transportation.
Last November, a similar toll lane opened on the 110 Freeway, marking the first toll lane in Los Angeles County.
But the 10 Freeway will have two toll lanes – compared to only one on the 110 – to allow more drivers to use the lanes in more congested areas, said Rick Jager, a Metro spokesman.
Drivers must have three or more people traveling during peak hours, which are 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., while drivers on the 110 only need two, Jager said.
He said he considers the 110 toll lane to be a success so far. About 100,000 people use the toll lanes, he said.
The toll lanes are part of a one-year pilot program and Metro will determine whether to extend the lanes or make them permanent in December 2014, Jager said.
Alex Liu, a fourth-year world arts and cultures student, said he uses the 10 Freeway to drive home late at night some weekends to avoid the traffic.
He said he would only use the toll lanes if he was running late because he wouldn’t want to pay the fee.
Karwaski said although he has not heard much feedback about the lanes, he expects people will use them, which will help ease traffic on the busy freeways.
“It is difficult to say (whether the lanes will stay),” he said. “(But), in the long run it should be a good thing.”