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FAQs

  1. What are express lanes?

  2. Where are they?

  3. How do express lanes work?

  4. How are tolls calculated at any particular time?

  5. Where is the toll rate posted?

  6. What if I use the lanes without a current FasTrak account?

  7. What are the hours of operation?

  8. What if I have a FasTrak, but on this trip I have passengers—do I still pay?

  9. Do I need both FasTrak and FasTrak Flex?

  10. What type of vehicles can use the express lanes?

  11. Why does my toll tag keep beeping while I"m in the express lane?

  12. What is FasTrak?

  13. What is FasTrak Flex®?

  14. How do I sign up for FasTrak?

  15. Can my FasTrak toll tag be moved between vehicles?

  16. What happens if my toll tag is lost or stolen?

  17. How do I use the Express Lanes with a rental car?

1. What are express lanes?

Express lanes offer faster, more reliable travel to bypass traffic congestion. In the Bay Area, express lanes allow toll-free travel for carpools, vanpools, motorcycles, transit buses and eligible zero- and low-emission vehicles, while giving solo drivers the option to pay to use the lane(s) to avoid congestion and have a reliable commute time.

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2. Where are they?

In the San Francisco Bay Area there are three express lanes in operation:

  • The I-680 Sunol Express Lane located on a 14-mile stretch of southbound I-680 between SR 84 in Pleasanton to the north and SR 237 in Milpitas to the south, operated by Alameda CTC;
  • The I-580 Express Lanes east- and westbound in the Tri-Valley through Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore, operated by Alameda CTC; and
  • The SR 237/I-880 corridor express lanes in Santa Clara County, operated by VTA.

A fourth express lane on north- and southbound I-680 in Contra Costa County will be open as of October 9, 2017.

Learn more about the planned 550 miles of express lanes throughout the Bay Area: www.bayareaexpresslanes.org

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3. How do the I-680 Sunol and I-580 express lanes work?

The I-680 Sunol Southbound Express Lane operates as follows:

Carpool vehicles with two or more people, motorcycles, eligible zero and low-emission vehicles and transit buses can use the lanes for free either by using a FasTrak Flex tag set to 2 or 3+, by driving the corridor without a FasTrak tag, or by placing your standard FasTrak tag in a Mylar bag so that it doesn't get charged the solo driver rate.

Solo drivers who want to use the express lane must have a valid FasTrak account and must mount a FasTrak toll tag on their windshield prior to entering the express lane. They are charged a toll each time they choose to use the express lanes.

The I-680 Sunol express lane has specific entry and exit points, overhead electronic signs and a FasTrak electronic toll collection (ETC) system. The express lane is separated from general- purpose lanes by double solid lines, except at entry and exit points.

Motorists can enter the express lanes at designated places. An overhead electronic sign displays the current toll being assessed to travel to the destination(s) shown.

The operation is fully electronic. There are no tollbooths or traffic gates, so customers do not need to slow down or stop to make a toll payment. Toll costs vary based on time of day.

The I-680 Sunol Express Lane operates from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The I-580 Express Lanes operate as follows:

ALL vehicles must carry a valid FasTrak toll tag to use the express lanes.

Carpool vehicles with two or more people, motorcycles, eligible zero and low-emission vehicles and transit buses can use the lanes for free ONLY by using a have a FasTrak Flex® toll tag set to 2 or 3+ active FasTrak account. Order yours today.

Solo drivers who want to use the express lane must have a valid FasTrak account and must mount a FasTrak toll tag on their windshield before entering the express lane. They are charged a toll each time they choose to use the express lanes.

The I-580 Express Lane has near continuous access, which means that for the most part there will not be specific entry and exit points. Rather, drivers will have more access to the lanes throughout the corridor. See map of the I-580 Express Lanes.

Overhead signs display the current toll being assessed to travel to the destination(s) shown if you enter at that location, allowing the driver to make a decision to enter as deems most appropriate for the individual's commute need. Solo drivers are charged based on the tolls displayed when you first enter the express lane. If you exit the express lane between the first posted destination and the final posted zone, you may be charged a price between the two.

The operation is fully electronic. There are no tollbooths or traffic gates, so customers do not need to slow down or stop to make a toll payment. Toll costs vary based on real-time traffic levels on the express lanes to ensure that traffic in the lanes flows smoothly.

The I-580 Express Lane operates from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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4. How are tolls calculated at any particular time?

On I-680 Sunol, toll rates have been established based on historic traffic conditions. The pricing varies by day of the week and by time of day; it can change as frequently as every 15 minutes.

On I-580, toll rates are calculated based on real-time traffic conditions (speed and volume) in both the express lanes and the general purpose lanes and can change as frequently as every 3 minutes.

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5. Where is the toll rate posted?

On I-680 Sunol, an electronic sign located before each entrance to the express lane gives customers advance notice of the current toll if they enter at the next entry point.

On I-580, Electronic signs located throughout the corridor give customers advance notice of the current toll to enter the lane at that point.

For both I-680 Sunol and I-580, the toll rate is locked in at the time the vehicle is first detected in the express lane, even if the toll amount changes while they are in the lane.

Find a carpool and ride in the express lanes toll-free!

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6. What if I use the lanes without a current FasTrak® account?

A solo driver without a valid FasTrak toll tag will be in violation of state law and subject to a citation by CHP. Anyone using the I-580 Express Lanes without a FasTrak toll tag (either a standard FasTrak or a FasTrak Flex) and a valid FasTrak account may receive a notice of toll violation in the mail.

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7. What are the hours of operation?

The I-680 Sunol and I-580 Express Lanes operate 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of the hours of operation, these express lanes are free for all vehicles and a FasTrak toll tag is not needed.

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8. What if I have FasTrak, but on this trip I have passengers—do I still pay?

If you are using the I-680 Sunol Express Lane and have a FasTrak Flex toll tag, just switch it to 2 or 3+ (depending on your occupancy) for toll-free travel. If you have a standard FasTrak toll tag, you will need to remove the toll tag from your windshield and place it in the Mylar bag that was provided to you by FasTrak so you’re not charged for that particular trip. It’s important to make sure that after your carpool trip you properly re-install your toll tag onto your windshield. If you need a new Mylar bag, please call the FasTrak Customer Service Center at 1-877-BAY-TOLL (1-877-229-8655).

On the I-580 Express Lanes, carpoolers and carpool-eligible vehicles MUST OBTAIN A FASTRAK FLEX® toll tag, MUST have a valid FasTrak account, and MUST properly mount the toll tag in the vehicle and set the occupancy to 2 or 3+ prior to entering the express lane, in order to receive toll-free travel.

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9. Do I need both FasTrak and FasTrak Flex®?

No. Drivers only need one toll tag in the vehicle so standard tags may be returned when it is replaced with a flex tag. If multiple tags are in a vehicle, the toll system may detect the additional tag(s) and the trip may result in multiple toll charges.

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10. What type of vehicles can use the express lanes?

Larger trucks or cars towing a trailer (three or more total axles) may not drive in the express lanes, even if they qualify for carpool. Passenger vehicles and trucks with two axles may use the lanes. Public and private transit buses, and motorcycles can use the lanes. Vehicles allowed in express lanes must follow requirements for either carpool-eligible or solo travel, see above.

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11. Why does my toll tag keep beeping while I'm in the express lane?

On the I-580 Express Lanes and I-680 Sunol Express Lane, your toll tag will beep twice every time it is detected by one of the overhead toll gantries. This is how you know that your toll tag is properly mounted and being read by the toll system. The express lane toll assessed is based on the first and last gantry location the toll tag is detected.

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12. What is FasTrak?

FasTrak® is a registered trademark and is the standard for electronic toll collection in the state of California. Interoperable on all toll roads and bridges statewide,

A Fastrak toll tag is required for all I-580 Express Lane users. In order to use the I-580 Express Lanes toll-free, carpools, vanpools and others eligible to use carpool lanes must have a FasTrak Flex® toll tag (see below).

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13. What is FasTrak Flex®?

FasTrak Flex is a new type of toll tag that helps provide additional enforcement to support the safe and proper use of express lanes. FasTrak Flex allows a driver to set the tag in the switch position that matches the number of people in their vehicle or other toll- exempt status, and travel free in the express lane.

You need to get a FasTrak Flex toll tag if you use the I-580 Express Lanes and are a carpool or other toll-exempt vehicles. They are also available at at retailers including Costco, Safeway and Walgreens.

While FasTrak Flex is currently only required on the I-580 Express Lanes, it works on the other Bay Area Express Lanes to pay to drive solo or to carpool for free (when set to 2 or 3+).

On Bay Area toll bridges, carpools must be in the carpool lane to get a toll discount and only need a standard FasTrak tag (although FasTrak Flex will work).

If you are not a carpool or other toll-exempt vehicle, you only need a standard FasTrak tag to pay to drive on Bay Area Express Lanes, however your Flex tag will work at all FasTrak Toll Facilities in the Bay Area.

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14. How do I sign up for FasTrak?

Getting FasTrak is easy—simply go to a select Costco, Safeway or Walgreens location to pick up a retail toll tag, or sign up online at www.bayareafastrak.org. A list of select retail locations can be found at the FasTrak website. You can also contact the FasTrak Customer Service Center by calling 1-877-BAY-TOLL (1-877-229-8655). You may sign up for a FasTrak account using a major credit card, cash or check. FasTrak Flex is currently only available online, through the customer service center, or at select Costco, Safeway and Walgreens locations in the 580/680 corridor.

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15. Can my FasTrak toll tag be moved between vehicles?

Yes. The toll tag mounted to your windshield can be moved from vehicle to vehicle as long as it is properly mounted at each location, as described in the Mounting Instructions. It is recommended that the vehicle information, including license plate number, make, and model for each vehicle, be listed on your account. However, to avoid potential problems, we recommend that you obtain toll tags for each vehicle.

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16. What happens if my toll tag is lost or stolen?

If a toll tag is lost or stolen, please call the FasTrak Customer Service Center immediately at 1-877-229-8655, or log into your account at www.bayareafastrak.org and report your toll tag as lost or stolen. You remain liable for all tolls charged to your toll tag until you have notified the Customer Service Center that your toll tag has been lost or stolen. In addition, you will be charged $20 for each toll tag entrusted to your possession that has been stolen, unless an official police report is provided.

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17. How do I use the Express Lanes with a rental car?

If you have a valid FasTrak toll tag – either your own or one obtained through the rental car company – you can use the Express Lanes the same way any other vehicle can.

On I-680:

  • If you are a solo driver, you must have a valid FasTrak properly mounted in the vehicle or you are subject to citation by CHP.
  • If you are a carpool, you do not need a FasTrak. You must place any toll tag in the vehicle into a Mylar bag in order to avoid being charged a toll.

On I-580:

  • If you are a solo driver, you must either have a valid FasTrak properly mounted in the vehicle or you must have signed up for a rental car tolling program or you will be responsible for a violation notice which will include the tolls plus penalties and fees. It is a violation of the toll evasion statutes under California Vehicle Code Section 23302 et seq. and Streets and Highways Code Section 30843 if you fail to pay the established toll.
  • If you are a carpool, you must have a properly mounted FasTrak Flex toll tag set to the 2 or 3+ position for toll-free travel. Failure to do so will result in the vehicle being treated as a solo occupancy vehicle.

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