Michelle Valles, Scott Spiro
Since the new toll lanes opened on the 110 freeway, more than 12,000 drivers have received warning citations for using toll lanes without a transponder. That's slightly more than $18,000 in outstanding fees since the program began nearly three weeks ago. Michelle Valles reports from Downtown LA for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Nov. 29, 2012.
Metro has sent out more than 12,000 citation warnings to drivers who have violated the toll express lanes Harbor (110) Freeway, which were implemented earlier this month to allow solo drivers access to carpool lanes -- for a price.
That's just over $18,000 in in fees to motorists caught on camera without the required FasTrak transponders, according to a blog post on LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky's website, as reported by the Orange County Register.
For now, offenders are only being asked to pay enough to cover their tolls, the Orange County Register reports, and aren't yet being hit with fines for driving in the new fast lanes, according to Yaroslavsky's site.
But the grace period ends Dec. 10.
Every motorist who drives in the lanes is required to have a FasTrak transponder, even if they have enough people in the car for a carpool.
"The message signs have been out there for a good six to seven months, prior to opening," said Metro's Rick Jager. "It's a learning curve for LA County. LA County has never had toll lanes."
Inside the express lanes command center, violators are showing up non-stop on the monitors. On the first day of the program, 75 percent of drivers violated the toll. That number is dropping daily.
"We're seeing about 67 percent of people who have transponders," said Vinit Deshpande, of LA Metro ExpressLanes.
Still, that means nearly a third are continuing to break the new law.
Jager believes the main confusion still present among drivers is that while carpooling motorists are not charged a toll, they still have to open an account and use a transponder.