LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 03: Cars drive in the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane (R), also called the diamond or commuter lane, on the 118 or Ronald Reagan Freeway on February 3, 2005 near Simi Valley, California. To encourage sales of environmentally-friendly hybrid cars, lawmakers are contemplating legislation that would allow states to determine whether to allow hybrid vehicles with no additional passengers to be driven in highway HOV lanes, currently reserved only for motorcycles and vehicles carrying multiple passengers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Solo drivers in the Bay Area who want to travel in the carpool lane without the worry of getting a ticket will soon be able to do just that -- for a price.
Caltrans announced Wednesday that the Bay Area's first express lanes, which are still under construction, will be ready for drivers on September 20.
Drivers with no passengers on southbound Interstate 680 along the Sunol Grade will pay weekday 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. tolls ranging from 30 cents up to $6 to travel carpool lanes along the 14-mile stretch between Pleasanton and Milpitas. Carpoolers, motorcyclists and hybrids with special stickers still get a free ride.
Drivers will need FasTrak transponders to take advantage of the express lane. Cheaters risk a $381 ticket, and $200,000 a year is being set aside for additional California Highway Patrol enforcement.