San Mateo County commuters will be able to use the carpool lane on Highway 101 starting in 2015, even if they’re driving solo.
Drivers can pay a certain amount to use the carpool lane, determined by the time of day and amount of congestion—known as congestion pricing.
The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority (VTA) created these express lanes in 2004 through AB 2032, but the authority only has jurisdiction over Santa Clara County. So northbound drivers would have to abruptly exit the lanes when entering San Mateo County, and southbound drivers would have to change lanes when entering Palo Alto.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon’s bill, AB 1105, signed into law Monday now allows the express lanes to run through San Mateo County for another six miles, rather than ending at the Santa Clara County line. It will run from Cochrane Road in Morgan Hill to Whipple Avenue in Redwood City.
Gordon said opening up the carpool lane to those willing to pay will help alleviate the congestion for thousands of commuters.
“This legislation fixes a simple loophole to ensure express lanes are consistent along the corridor,” said Assemblyman Gordon, who serves on the Assembly Local Government Committee, in a press release.
Carpoolers and public transit buses may continue to use the carpool lane for free. Others will pay the fee, which is set at a level to ensure that the lane never becomes too congested for payers and carpoolers.