Solo Drivers in L.A. May Soon Access Carpool Lanes—For Free

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It seems like changes to our decades-old carpool lane system are becoming more and more frequent. Recently, Metro opened up portions of the 10 and 110’s HOV lanes to solo drivers willing to pay to use them. Now, Glendale Assemblyman Mike Gatto wants solo drivers to have access to more carpool lanes, and this time for free.

Gatto’s bill already passed the Assembly and just cleared a Senate transpo committee this week. If it passes, it’ll mean that carpool lanes on the 134 and 210—mostly through Pasadena and San Gabriel Valley cities—will be accessible to solo drivers during “non-peak” travel times. The impetus for the legislation were those late-night traffic accidents and construction work that mean gridlock at 11 p.m. (or 2 a.m. or 4:15…).

“It’s happened to anyone who lives in Southern California,” Gatto said in a statement. “A late-night accident or mysterious slowing clogs the rightmost freeway lanes, while the carpool lane sits empty. AB 210 is a cost-effective way to expand capacity on the state’s highway system and ensure that non-peak hour travelers can travel to and from home and work and deliver goods and services efficiently.”

What exactly constitutes “non-peak” is not clear. The bill next heads to the full Senate.