SAN JOSE (KRON) — The ride on congested Highway 237 across the South Bay just got a little better.
Seven more miles of express lanes opened Friday that could save commuters as much as 20 minutes between I-880 and Highway 101.
Along with the new lanes come some new rules says the VTA’s Brandi Childress.
“We’ve had a small segment of express lanes open since 2012, but today we have seven more miles of express lanes where people can opt to use those lanes if they pay a toll,” Childress said.
That toll could range from $0.50 to $8 depending on congestion.
Everyone needs a transponder.
The old legacy units will still work but vta says these new flex tags are best.
“Fast track flex is a transponder or tag that indicates how many people are in your car, if you’re a solo driver you place it to one and pay the toll that’s showing on the gantry above you. If you’re a car pool you still ride free, you just have to indicate whether you have two or three people in your car,” Childress said.
From VTA’s control center, technicians keep tabs on the system and can make real-time adjustments to improve the flow.
“So we can see what’s happening in those express lanes and how they’re performing,” she said. “We just saw how the chp had to stop all lanes to clear an accident so this is really a bird’s eye view to make sure everything is operating fine.”
VTA has expanded express lane hours from 5 a.m. to 8 pm.
Outside those hours the lanes are free.
Clean-air vehicles also need a transponder but they pay half price.
Video enhancement will help catch cheaters.
“We now know if people have the transponder or not,” Childress said. “If they don’t, we take pictures of the vehicle and the license plate and they will get a notice of express lane violation in the mail.”