Using Express Lanes FAQ
Q: Are all drivers including motorcycles, solo drivers in clean air vehicles, and carpoolers required to have a FasTrak transponder on SR 237 Express Lanes?
A: Not at this time. The only drivers who need a FasTrak transponder on SR 237 are those who drive alone in non-clean air vehicles during toll hours. Carpoolers, motorcycles, and Clean Air Vehicles (CAVs) with the valid sticker do not need a transponder, and those who have a standard transponder should place it in the Mylar bag to avoid being charged the toll. Express lane users with the new FasTrak Flex transponder (required on the new 1-580 Express Lanes) should switch their tag to match the number of people in the car.
When the 237 Phase 2 extension opens in Fall 2019, everyone using the express lane during carpool hours will need to have a FasTrak transponder which includes solo drivers in a non-clean air vehicle, carpoolers, motorcycles and eligible CAVs. You can order a transponder today at http://www.bayareafastrak.org.
Q: Can I set my FasTrak Flex transponder to the 2 or 3 passenger position when I drive accompanied in the 237 Express Lanes and not pay the toll?
A: Yes. When you carpool on SR 237, the FasTrak tolling equipment will see that your FasTrak Flex is in the 2 or 3 position and you will not be charged the toll. Currently, vehicles with 2 or more people ride for free in the 237 Express Lanes. Fore more information on FasTrak Flex, visit https://www.bayareafastrak.org/en/guide/doINeedFlex.shtml
Q: I am a solo driver in a regular gasoline-powered car. Can I use my FasTrak and pay to remain in the Express Lane the entire length of 237?
A: Not yet. The current 237 Express Lanes are 6.5 miles long in the Westbound direction, and 4.5 miles long in the Eastbound direction. VTA is currently in the construction phase of extending the Express Lanes on SR 237 to Mathilda Avenue, slated to open in Summer 2019. More information is available on our Projects and Programs webpage.
Q: I just bought an electric car. Can I use the Express Lanes for free, right away?
A: You can use the Express Lanes for free if you are driving a clean air vehicle and have the valid decal sticker. The sticker program is changing and the California Air Resources Board provides a list of vehicles that will qualify for the new sticker program, which goes into effect January 1, 2019. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues the "Access OK" decal.
Q: Will the cameras on 237 take a picture of my license plate and charge me the toll automatically, so I can pay the toll without my FasTrak transponder?
A: Right now, no. Unlike the Bay Area bridge toll equipment, there are currently no cameras to capture vehicle license plates on SR 237 Express Lanes. A single occupant driver must carry a FasTrak transponder or risk being cited for a carpool violation by the California Highway Patrol.
When the Phase 2 extension opens in Fall 2019, VTA plans to have a Violation Enforcement System Camera (VES) to capture license plate images of vehicles.
Q: Are the costs of building the Express Lanes covered by the toll revenue you collect?
A: Yes. The VTA-led 237 Express Lanes have been operating with net revenue since they opened in March 2012.
Q: How does VTA spend the Express Lane toll revenue?
A: The decision of how net revenues will be spent will be based on a future expenditure plan that will have to be approved by the VTA Board of Directors.
Q: Is it true that during non-HOV hours, there will be fewer lanes and more congestion?
A: The opposite is true. Our Express Lanes only operate during the peak commute hours. During non-commute hours (night time, weekends) the Express Lanes are open to all traffic for free.