Los Angeles News

Bill allows limited solo driving in carpool lanes of select LA freeways

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The California Legislature has approved a bill to allow L.A. drivers to cruise in certain carpool lanes without being ticketed. The bill now goes to Governor Jerry Brown.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) says it's a way to ease congestion while still promoting ride-sharing and carpooling during the busiest travel hours.

"It just makes sense: Making those lanes flexible is both safer and it also adds capacity to our freeways during times where people don't typically carpool anyway," said Gatto.

The bill would allow solo drivers to use carpool lanes during off-peak hours on the Ventura (134) Freeway between Studio City and Pasadena; the Foothill (210) Freeway from Pasadena to Glendora; and other L.A. County freeways the Department of Transportation may decide to include.

The bill gives Caltrans the authority to set off-peak hours.

Similar exemptions to the carpool lane requirements already exist on the Antelope Valley Freeway and on certain freeways in Northern California.

Current fines for a ticket for solo driving in a carpool lane is $340.

"Metro has looked at this. Our board has taken a support position on this bill," said Doug Failing, Metro Highway Programs executive director. "If it's something that helps reduce congestion here in Los Angeles, at Metro we're always in favor of that."

The Senate passed the bill unanimously Monday, and the Assembly voted 69-1 in favor of the bill Tuesday. The governor must sign the bill by October 13 for it to go into effect on July 1, 2014.

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