If you’re driving in the Express Lanes on State Route 237 in Santa Clara County, whether you mean to or not, you must do so with a FasTrak transponder. This new requirement to be able to access express lanes gives commuters an option to bypass congested lanes in one of the most crowded arteries in the South Bay. The requirement to have a FasTrak applies to everyone in the lane – even motorcycles, carpoolers and previously exempt clean air vehicles.
VTA’s SR 237 Express Lane extension has been open since mid-November 2019, saving approximately 12,000 daily commuters anywhere between 7 and 20 minutes depending on the time of day. But some drivers are not getting the message that everyone must have a transponder in order to use the lane.
Violation Enforcement System (VES) cameras are in use along the Express Lane corridor and snap license plate images of vehicles using the lanes without a transponder. To date, 17% of Express Lane drivers have received a violation notice for using the lane without a transponder or valid FasTrak account.
Here are the rules that you should know to use the SR 237 Express Lane:
Every driver using the Express Lanes must have a FasTrak transponder.
In the past, carpoolers, motorcyclists, and clean-air vehicles with eligible decals were able to use the Express Lane without FasTrak. Carpoolers and motorcyclists can continue to use the lane for free, but only with the adjustable FasTrak Flex toll tag. Motorcyclists should move the switch to the 3+ position before beginning their trip. While the need for a transponder is new to SR 237, this has been the practice on all Bay Area bridges and for Express Lanes on I-580 and on I-680 in Contra Costa County for several years.
Clean Air Vehicles (CAVs) now pay a toll for Express Lane use but are eligible for a 50% discount.
Clean Air Vehicles with eligible decals are no longer able to use the Express Lane toll-free, though they are eligible for a 50% discount with a registered CAV toll tag. A CAV toll tag must be obtained online and drivers must upload a copy of their CAV certificate for verification to receive one. Previous versions of the FasTrak Flex tag that instruct CAV drivers to switch the tag to the 3+ position will not receive the discount and should be replaced with the CAV toll tag. A solo driver operating a vehicle with a tag in the “2” or “3+” position risks receiving a carpooling violation from the California Highway Patrol.
Express Lanes operating hours have been extended to run from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Monday thru Friday.
These hours are consistent with all other Bay Area Express Lanes facilities.
As more drivers return to work after the holidays, we want to see everyone educated about proper use of the Express Lanes. To date, violators have seen their penalties waived by signing up for FasTrak and/or paying the original toll amount, but that grace period won’t last forever! Visit bayareafastrak.org today to sign up for your account and avoid future penalties.