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Using Express Lanes FAQ

Q: Everyone who drives in the new I-580 Express Lanes in Alameda County needs a FasTrak transponder. Are all drivers, solo and carpoolers, required to have a FasTrak transponder on SR 237 Express Lanes?

A: No. The only drivers who need a FasTrak transponder on SR 237 are those who drive alone during toll hours. Carpoolers do not need a transponder, and those who have one should place their transponder in the Mylar bag to avoid being charged the toll. Express lane users with the new FasTrak Flex transponder (required on the new I-580 Express Lanes) should switch their tag to match the number of people in the car.

Q: I have a FasTrak flex, and can set it to 2 or 3 when I carpool. Can I set my transponder to the 2 or 3 passenger position when I drive in the 237 Express Lanes and not be charged the toll?

A: Yes. When you carpool on 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.

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: No. Unlike the Bay Area bridge toll equipment, there are currently no cameras to capture vehicle license plates on 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.

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: Can I use my FasTrak the entire length of 237? I want to drive from Milpitas all the way to 101 in Mountain View a lot faster.

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 design phase of extending the Express Lanes on SR 237 to Mathilda Avenue. More information is available on our Projects and Programs website.

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 (mid-day, night time, weekends) the Express Lanes are open to all traffic for free.

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 appropriate clean air decal. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) issues the "Access OK" decal.