Harbor Freeway toll lane toll: 12,297 citations

tolltech550.jpgHow's that 110 freeway HOV lane with congestion pricing working out for you? In the first 15 days or so of use, the technology built into the freeway has caught a whole lot of people with their transponders down around their ankles. As of Monday, Metro has mailed 12,297 citations to drivers photographed in the toll lane without the required transponder in their vehicle. More from ZevWeb:

Collectively, the first batch of toll lane scofflaws owes $18,358 in outstanding fees—a total that’s expected to rise as more citations go out in the weeks ahead.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that, for now, offenders are only being asked to fork over enough to cover their tolls. They aren’t yet being hit with any fines for rolling into the new pay-as-you-go fast lanes that used to be reserved solely for carpoolers and motorcyclists. (They continue to ride for free but, like everybody else who uses the new lanes, still need to have a transponder....)

The Metro fines for those driving in the lanes without a transponder—$25 plus a $30 penalty if you pay late—kick in beginning December 10, when the pilot program hits the one-month mark. In addition, the California Highway Patrol has the authority to issue tickets of $401-plus for solo drivers who evade fares by placing their transponders on a carpool setting, and penalties of at least $154 for those driving in the lanes without the device. (To help CHP officers know who to pull over, there are sensors along the 11-mile route, along with beacons to signal to officers whether cars have transponders and whether they’re set to correctly reflect how many people are in the vehicle.)

As motorists adjust to a huge change in L.A.’s freeway culture, there’s a certain amount of confusion out there, said CHP Sergeant Terry Liu, ExpressLanes supervisor for the agency.

You think? Of course, some confusion might be expected. This is the same transit agency where bus riders have to pay up but subway and light-rail riders, while legally required to pay the fare, in practice are still largely on a turnstile-free, never-a-deputy around honor system.

Graphic explaining the technology from Metro via ZevWeb

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