August 13, 2008
How the Katy Freeway toll lanes will work

Ready or not, here come the rules.

Under the proposal, motorists wishing to use the high-occupancy lanes would have to buy an EZ Tag or get a TxTag from the Texas Turnpike Authority.

EZ Tags cost $15 and require a minimum account balance of $40.

Each time a motorist uses the lanes during rush hour, automated toll readers will detect a tag number registered to a high-occupancy vehicle, resulting in no charge. During non-peak hours, the usual toll will be charged.

Registered vehicles also would activate an alert, prompting a deputy constable to observe whether there was more than one person on board, while other deputies patrol the lanes, HCTRA says.

Metro estimates 11,000 vehicles a day use the existing HOV lane on the Katy Freeway. The proposed system should make it harder to cheat, said HCTRA deputy director Peter Key.

Color me skeptical of this. It still boils down to having a constable peek in vehicles' windows, doesn't it? I guess the difference is that now a constable can know ahead of time which windows he needs to peek in, assuming he can make out the license plates as they approach. Bottom line, I think people are going to cheat about as much as they did before.

Other proposals including a requirement of only two occupants to use the HOV lanes, and shorter hours for the free ride for such vehicles. Whether you like these ideas or not, you can give your feedback at the various public meetings, the first one of which is tomorrow night.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 13, 2008 to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Logically, it seems to make the most sense to allow 2-passenger cars until the HOV lane nears capacity, then reduce access to require 3 or more only, with a lighted sign to announce the change.

I can't make it in person, but let's hope this idea seems obvious to others besides me.

Posted by: melior on August 14, 2008 11:38 PM
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