Monday, September 14, 2015

Top 10 things you need to know about I-405 express toll lanes

By Laura Johnson

The I-405 express toll lanes between Bellevue and Lynnwood begin operating Sept. 27. Here’s a list of things you should be familiar with to be ready for tolling on I-405.

1. Flex Pass – If you carpool on I-405, you’ll need a Flex Pass set to HOV mode and the right number of people to ride toll-free in the express toll lanes. Flex Passes work to pay tolls on any toll road in Washington. If you're not sure if you need a Flex Pass, click here.

2. Carpool rules – You’ll need three people to form a carpool during weekday peak hours (5-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.). Weekdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. only two people are required. The express toll lanes are open to all for free on weekdays from 7 p.m. - 5 a.m. and all day on weekends.

3. Activate your Flex Pass – If you got a free Flex Pass by taking our online survey or purchased a pass at one of our retail partners (Fred Meyer, QFC or Walgreens) you’ll need to go online to set up and fund a Good To Go! account and activate your pass.

4. Rate Signs – Signs will tell you everything you need to know about the current carpool requirements and toll rates so that you can make an informed choice about whether you want to choose to use the lanes for that trip. With a Good To Go! pass, you always pay the price you see when you enter, even if you see a higher toll rate further down the road. If you don’t have an account, you’ll receive a bill in the mail for the Good To Go! pass rate plus an extra $2 per toll transaction.

5. Toll Rates – Toll rates are based on current traffic and will typically vary between 75 cents to $4 per trip depending on time and distance traveled. The highest possible toll rate for a single trip is $10. The price goes up when lots of vehicles are using the express toll lanes and the price drops as demand for the lanes goes down. This dynamic pricing manages congestion in the express toll lanes to keep speeds at a minimum of 45 mph.

6. Designated entry/exit points – The express toll lanes will be separated from the regular lanes by double white lines that are illegal to cross. Vehicles can enter and exit at dashed segments in the double white lines, or at direct access ramps to NE 6th St in Bellevue or NE 128th St in Totem Lake

Interactive map: Learn where you can enter and exit the lanes and what
the toll rate signs will look like during your trip.
7. Enforcement – Washington State Patrol will enforce the express toll lanes. Troopers will know when a vehicle is using a Flex Pass or motorcycle pass to avoid tolls. There will be extra troopers in the corridor enforcing the carpool requirement.

8. Animated videos – Watch a playlist of short videos or this 4.5-minute “Everything You Need to Know” video.


9. Motorcycles – All motorcycles will need a motorcycle pass to ride toll-free in the express toll lanes. You can get a free motorcycle pass while supplies last in 2015 by taking a brief survey.

10. GoodToGo405.com – Visit the official website for the I-405 express toll lanes, with the above information and more.

Less than two weeks to go!


177 comments:

Robert Sargent said...

Hello
HOV lanes have always been free to motorcycle. I do not fit the bill for a free motorcycle togo pass. But from time to time I do ride 405. And now if I understand for me to ride the HOV I will be charge to do so by mail. When a vehicle with no togo pass is in the HOV lane it is also charge by mail. I would think that it would be possible for todays computers to determine between automobile and a motorcycle. Plates that are assign for motorcycle would be kicked out. Others would be process for billing. No more wasting money on free passes.

A Washington state motorcycle rider. Robert Sargent

WSDOT said...

Hello, Robert.

Actually, I have good news! If you occasionally ride your motorcycle on I-405, you are eligible for a free motorcycle pass. Feel free to fill out the survey and we will mail you one in 2-3 weeks. Simply install it on your headlamp and you’ll be set to go to ride toll-free on the I-405 express toll lanes when they open September 27. A motorcycle pass is necessary in order to signal our tolling equipment to not send a toll bill. This is the most reliable way for us to identify motorcycles so that they can use the I-405 express toll lanes for free.

Anonymous said...

how will you know there are two or three people in the vehicle?

WSDOT said...

The Good To Go! Flex Pass has a switch that allows for two modes: HOV mode and TOLL mode. The position of the switch tells the toll equipment if the vehicle is toll-free or not. For example, when driving during peak commute times (5-9am and 3-7pm, weekdays), when the Flex Pass is in HOV mode, the vehicle is telling the toll equipment that three or more people are present to carpool toll-free. It is the responsibility of the driver to choose the proper Flex Pass mode based on the number of people in the vehicle prior to using the express toll lanes.

Washington State Patrol (WSP) will provide express toll lane enforcement, similar to the SR 167 HOT lanes. There will be additional patrols for enforcement during the first few months of express toll lanes operation. If a driver uses the Flex Pass to declare carpool status, a beacon above the roadway will signal the driver’s HOV status to surrounding vehicles and law enforcement. WSP will use visual inspections to determine if drivers are meeting the carpool requirements.

Shawn Harju said...

If I am traveling southbound, am I required to exit the carpool lane at 6th in Bellevue or may I continue all the way to I-5?

WSDOT said...

Hello, Shawn.

If you are a carpool with two or more people, you can continue south in the HOV lane past NE 6th in Bellevue, as you do today. The HOV lane south of NE 6th will operate exactly the same after the I-405 express toll lanes open as they do today.

Anonymous said...

Can ANY vehicles in the toll lane use the direct access ramps 128th and NE 6th now? For example, you do not need to meet the 2+ or 3+ vehicle occupancy rules now to get on or off at these ramps if you're paying to use the toll lane as a non-HOV vehicle?

People are very confused about this and if this is true it needs to be made more clear on the WSDOT website as it currently says this: "Direct access ramps are open only to carpools, vanpools, buses and motorcycles 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is true even when HOV lanes are open to all traffic. For example, Eastside freeway HOV lanes are open to general purpose traffic 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., but the direct access ramps remain restricted to HOVs during those hours. This restriction stems from an interagency agreement between WSDOT and Sound Transit." http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/HOV/directaccessramps.htm

Anonymous said...

Is there any leeway granted to fleet vehicles or government vehicles? If so, what's the process for applying for such?

Rick Head said...

I have a Good to Go pass that I got for my motorcycle to travel 520. Is this the same as a free Good to Go motorcycle pass for 405?
Rick

Dennis The Tiger said...

Will the lanes be open to all from 19:00 to 05:00, as they have been for some time?

Patricia Auvil said...

Over height loads need to utilize the Toll Lane under the pedestrian bridge at MP 17.84 in Kirkland then cross back. These loads are permitted on I-405 by the WSDOT and there is no way to avoid this structure by "ramping". Will these over height and Pilot/Escort vehicles be charged for the utilization for that short time?
President, Northwest Pilot Car Association.

Anonymous said...

Where is my Good to Go motorcyclepass? I filled out the survey weeks ago.

Anonymous said...

If you have a vehicle that only holds two people, are you prohibited during the 3+ times in the Express Lanes?

Anonymous said...

If I enter HOV lane at Lynnwood and the fee is $1.00 and I take the HOV all the way to South Center and between Lynnwood and South Center the fee jumps to say $3.50 what fee am I charged and why?

Anonymous said...

I had the same question Rick. I just got off the phone with a customer service rep at good to go and she told me the good to go pass I currently have on my motorcycle will work to avoid paying tolls on the new 405 Express toll lanes.

WSDOT said...

The Washington State Transportation Commission decided all exemptions for the I-405 express toll lanes as part of the commission's rate setting process. Carpools with the correct number of occupants, motorcycles, transit and vanpools are all exempt on the I-405 express toll lanes. Fleet and government vehicles were not specifically given toll exemptions.

WSDOT said...

Hello Rick-

Yes, the motorcycle pass that you have for the SR 520 Bridge will work to ride toll-free on the I-405 express toll lanes. Thanks for checking in!

Anonymous said...

Why are the rules on I-405 different from SR 167? It is confusing to have a separate set of rules for each road travelled. I can't imagine how confusing this will be for visitors - wait, actually I can.

WSDOT said...

You always pay the price you see on the toll rate sign when you enter, even if you see a higher price further down the road. This video explains how toll rates will work: http://bit.ly/1LCXODc
Please note that the I-405 express toll lanes will only be from Bellevue to Lynnwood, so you won’t see any tolls to South Center.

Anonymous said...

If the carpool lane is free for 3 or more riders in a vehicle, why am I required to keep a minimum $30 balance on the flex pass? If you **** are advertising it as *FREE*, keep it *FREE*.

Ashley said...

Can you please make a carpool only sticker similar to the motorcycle pass and drop the $30 GoodToGo account minimum?

I only drive 405 occasionally and do not qualify for a free Flex Pass. The only times I drive 405 are with my husband and 3 kids. As a family of 5 we qualify as an HOV but because of the requirement to have a Flex Pass ($15) and a GoodToGo account ($30 to open) it will cost us money just to use the HOV lanes. We will NEVER use the lanes without 3+ people in our car, so even if we open the $30 GoodToGo account, we will have our account closed and lose $5 every 24 months due to account inactivity. I know many other occasional 405 drivers are in the exact same position.

Please drop the GoodToGo account minimum for families that will never be using the toll option and provide a free Flex Pass or HOV only sticker option.

Eric said...

I use 405 as HOV only - 4 of us. I do not plan to ever pay the toll.

I read this to say i HAVE to fund and account.


Is that true? If so, how much and when can i get that money back as i never plan to pay a toll.

Anonymous said...

I don't think people realize this is the case. They will be shocked when they find out.

WSDOT said...

Hello, Ashley.

Thank you for your comment. The Flex Pass is the only pass option for those wanting to carpool toll-free on the I-405 express toll lanes. The Flex Pass is required to declare as a carpool since those who are not valid carpools may also use the express toll lanes by paying a toll. The Flex Pass tells the system and the Washington State Patrol that you are declaring as a valid carpool when it is in HOV mode. For more information on the I-405 express toll lanes and the Flex Pass, please visit our website: www.goodtogo405.org

Your account may only be closed after twenty-four months of inactivity if there is no activity whatsoever. Activity includes checking your account online, contacting the customer service center, paying a toll on a WA toll facility and many other actions.

WSDOT said...

Hello, Eric.

Thank you for your question. To travel toll-free as a carpool in the I-405 express toll lanes when they open September 27, you will need a Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account, as well as the required number of people in your vehicle. You can add the Flex Pass to an existing Good To Go! account or open a new account with a $30 pre-paid balance. The pre-paid balance is a requirement for opening any Good To Go! account. The $30 is your money to use towards tolls on any WA state toll facility and is fully refundable if you never use it upon closing your account.

Eric said...

So you're basically holding my money in perpetuity? I have no plans whatsoever to pay tolls on 405. In fact, the only time I drive that stretch of road is as a carpool for four people.

Ashley said...

Thank you for providing the information on ways to keep an account from being closed from inactivity. It is still frustrating knowing that I would need to spend $45 up front just to do so. The Good To Go $30 account minimum needs to be dropped. I will never drive in a tolled lane without 3+ people in my car. If I were to drive 405 without the HOV minimum I would just use the regular non-tolled lanes. I'm way too stubborn to pay the state money for roads I'm already taxed for.

WSDOT said...

We were a bit behind on sending out motorcycle passes but we’re catching up now.

WSDOT said...

No, the toll system will be in operation 24/7.

WSDOT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
WSDOT said...

We understand this information can cause confusion. The reason the rules on I-405 are different than on SR 167 is that I-405 has toll cameras and SR 167 does not have toll cameras.

WSDOT said...

Two person carpools will still be able to use the express toll lane during peak periods, but they will have to pay a toll (even if their car only has two seats). Two-person carpools will be able to use the express toll lanes toll free with a Flex Pass during off-peak periods from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. - 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends.

Anonymous said...

Why would I ever take my FlexPass off of HOV? No one patrols the 520 HOV and I would say half the people in the HOV lane are SOV.

Anonymous said...

WSDOT said: "Two person carpools will still be able to use the express toll lane during peak periods, but they will have to pay a toll (even if their car only has two seats). Two-person carpools will be able to use the express toll lanes toll free with a Flex Pass during off-peak periods from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and from 7 p.m. - 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends."

When can a two-person carpool use the HOV lane without a FlexPass? And how would it know whether to charge me or not?

WSDOT said...

Washington State Patrol (WSP) will provide I-405 express toll lane enforcement, similar to the SR 167 HOT lanes. There will be additional patrols for enforcement during the first few months of express toll lanes operation. If a driver uses the Flex Pass to declare carpool status, a beacon above the roadway will signal the driver’s HOV status to surrounding vehicles and law enforcement. WSP will use visual inspections to determine if drivers are meeting the carpool requirements. Failing to comply with HOV requirements or crossing the double white lines will result in a $136 ticket.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for your question. To travel toll-free as a carpool in the I-405 express toll lanes, you will always need a Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account, as well as the required number of people in your vehicle. If you use the express toll lanes without the Flex Pass, you will be charged a toll, regardless of the number of people in your vehicle.

Ted Weinberg said...

I work in an office building near the mid-point of the new 405 toll lanes. I'd estimate that 80% of the workers in the building commute via car and more than half of them drive on 405. Over the past couple weeks I've heard a lot of discussion, confusion, and even a few arguments over the new lanes, rules, tolls, passes, and enforcement.

I'd like to get some posters to put in the elevator lobby on each floor (with building management's blessing) explaining the new lanes. Does WSDOT happen to have a supply of such posters that are free to the public? If so, where can I get them? During what hours? Will the location be open this weekend?

WSDOT said...

Hello Ted,
We really appreciate that you want to help get the information out there! I would recommend that you stop by our Bellevue customer service walk-in center on Saturday and you can pick up some maps. They are pocket-sized, but do expand to 11x17 and you could hang them on the wall. They contain lots of great information. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

So what happens if you cross the double lines during your route home? Example the car in front of you is not keeping up with traffic?

WSDOT said...

It is illegal to cross the double white lines. If you do, you are subject to a $136 ticket from the State Patrol.

Anonymous said...

If I am a single driver and don't use the good to go pass/express toll lanes, can I still exit to I 5?

Ashlee said...

So, I have a dumb question...

I drive I-405 Wednesdays through Saturdays from Everett to Bellevue, I know this may have been answered already, but I'm still confused about it, if you drive my yourself, no one else in the car daily, would we be able to get a pass or does it have to be 2 person or 3 person to qualify for the passes? If I am eligible for a pass, which one would I qualify for?

Raymond Davidson said...

Did anyone find the answer to whether a single occupant vehicle paying a toll is allowed to use the direct access ramps?

WSDOT said...

Hello Raymond-
Yes, a single-occupant vehicle, paying a toll, can use the direct access ramps at NE 6th St and at NE 128th St.

Anonymous said...

How will this work for Canadian registered vehicles from BC? Do we legally get a "free ride" in the HOT lanes at any time of day, regardless of how many (or few) people in the vehicle?

WSDOT said...

Hi Ashlee-
If you are always driving by yourself, any type of Good To Go! pass will work to pay the lowest toll on the I-405 express toll lanes. The sticker pass is the cheapest pass option at $5 plus tax and can be purchased online at MyGoodToGo.com, by calling customer service at 1-866-936-8246, or at select retail locations. If you buy your pass at a retail location, be sure to activate it on a Good To Go! account at MyGoodToGo.com.

WSDOT said...

You will still be able to access I-5 northbound or southbound from I-405 in Lynnwood as a single-occupant driver. Try out our Interactive Map to help plan your commute!

WSDOT said...

To travel toll-free as a carpool in the I-405 express toll lanes, you will need a Flex Pass set to HOV mode that is tied to a Good To Go! account, as well as the required number of people in your vehicle. If you use the express toll lanes without the Flex Pass, you will be charged a toll, regardless of the number of people in your vehicle. This applies to all vehicles using the express toll lanes.

Jonathan Padineant said...

When I'm using my Flex pass with the correct number of people carpooling, do I need to remove my older Good To Go pass-Sticker to avoid getting charged? Also, we have a second vehicle license plate registered, if I'm carrying the Flex pass and carpooling, will the flex pass void any charges?

StrongSingleChick said...

I'm confused on how to use the flex pass on 520. I don't want to pay by mail on 520 because of the higher tolls. Can I leave my good to go sticker on my windshield for 520 AND have the flex pass so I can change to HOV when I ride 405?

It would make much more sense if the sticker barcode was facing out on the flex pass. A decade of planning and this was never figured out, exactly what I've come to expect from this money hungry system...

DrToonz said...

I don't like stickers on my cars/ motorcycles.

For this reason, I registered a 'good to go' account and happily pay the extra 25-cent premium for this when crossing the 520 bridge.

Is there a similar arrangement available for the 405 HOV lanes?

WSDOT said...

Hello Jonathan-
Thanks for your question. Once you activate your Flex Pass on your Good To Go! account and install it on your windshield, please remove any other passes from your vehicle. You only want one pass in your vehicle at a time. The Flex Pass will work on any WA state toll facility, including the SR 520 Bridge. When the Flex Pass is in HOV mode and you have the required number of people in the vehicle, you won’t be charged a toll.

WSDOT said...

Hello StrongSingleChick-
Thanks for your question. The Flex Pass will work to pay the lowest toll on the SR 520 Bridge and on the new I-405 express toll lanes. Once you activate your Flex Pass on your Good To Go! account and install it on your windshield, please remove your sticker pass from your vehicle. You only want one pass in your vehicle at a time. The barcode on the Flex Pass does not need to face out as the toll system isn’t reading the barcode, it is communicating with the transponder that is inside the pass. Thanks!

WSDOT said...

Hello DrToonz-
Yes, you can use your Pay By Plate account to pay tolls on the new I-405 express toll lanes.

Bob said...

My wife and I have looked everywhere for the flex passes and they are sold out. She takes 405 every Tuesday with our daughter for an appointment. Because the flex passes are sold out I'm assuming it is acceptable for carpools to use the carpool lane without a flex pass? Thank you.

John Love said...

@WADOT@ Glad I can use my "pay-by-plate" (Now I know what it's called) account to n pay. Is it also 25-cents for the premium like the bridge?
Also...does that work for my motorcycles and/or carpoolong?

Anonymous said...

What is the recommended placement of the motorcycle sticker pass for bikes with twin headlights? Left or right side?

K Young-Neal said...

Can a single driver pay to use the express lanes? If so, which pass are we required to purchase?

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I have a good to go account, but flex pass have not showed up in the mail yet. can I use express lanes? how much extra will it cost? will I receive a bill, or will my license plate be matched to my good to go account somehow?

Shannon said...

Hello:

So, let me get this straight. I can only enter the lanes at the given access points. However, there are only 2 of those & those points are no where on my commute. So basically, you have just removed a lane of traffic from my commute making my entire commute much more difficult and longer. If yesterday was what to expect, then you have added over 30 minutes to my commute!

How exactly is this supposed to help me or anyone who uses the road? Why can't we just use the lane for a fee, wherever on our route we want & just pay the toll?

This is just insane & no help at all.

Anonymous said...

Is there a difference in toll rate based on distance?

For example, driver #1 enters southbound where the toll lane begins, and driver #2 enters southbound at Entry Point 4 (both at the same time of day). Both drivers exit at NE 6th St. Do they pay the same rate?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Are we being tolled every time we drive through the access points? Or only when first entering?

Anonymous said...

I would prefer to have Light rail or trains available from Southcenter to Everett on I-405 and along I5 instead of these silly HOV lanes and tolls. Stop the madness and do it right! We have a horrible public transportation system in WA State!!!

WSDOT said...

Hello Bob-
Sorry to hear your local stores are sold out of Flex Passes. We are working to fulfill new orders and get additional Flex Passes in the stores that have requested them. If you do choose to use the I-405 express toll lanes without a Flex Pass, you will be tolled and will receive a bill in the mail if you do not have an account.

WSDOT said...

Hello John-
Thanks for your question. Yes, you can use your Pay By Plate account to pay tolls on the I-405 express toll lanes and there is 25-cent fee per trip. For your motorcycle, I recommend getting a free motorcycle pass so that you don’t pay tolls on the express toll lanes since motorcycles are toll-exempt in these lanes. As for carpooling, without the Flex Pass, you will pay a toll regardless of how many people you have in your car if you use Pay By Plate.

WSDOT said...

You can install the motorcycle pass on either of the headlights, as long as they aren’t pointed downwards. Just try to keep the pass as far away from metal as possible. Thanks for your question!

WSDOT said...

Thanks for your comment. Glad to hear you had such a great afternoon commute!

WSDOT said...

Hello K Young-Neal –
Thanks for your question. Yes, a single-occupant vehicle can pay to drive in the I-405 express toll lanes. If you never plan to carpool, any Good To Go! pass will work to pay a toll. If you do plan to carpool, the Flex Pass is the only one that will allow you to carpool toll-free. See the types of passes we offer here.

WSDOT said...

Thanks for your question. While you await your Flex Pass, you may use the I-405 express toll lanes by paying a toll. Since it sounds like you already have a Good To Go! account and your license plate is on the account, the toll will be deducted from your account balance. The toll you pay will change depending on how many people are using the express toll lanes, but we anticipate the average toll to range between $0.75-$4.00.

Anonymous said...

WSDOT - Thank you very much for your quick response! Saved me an hours waiting for a customer service rep! looking forward to an easy commute home today!

cheeze whiz said...

They won't. I suggest getting a pass and just setting it to HOV mode especially if you have tinted windows.

cheeze whiz said...

So the WSP's primary responsibility is to be tax collectors. Your money at work, Washingtonians.

cheeze whiz said...

Nope. These aren't HOV lanes anymore.

cheeze whiz said...

That is not true. The scope plan on file states the long term expectation is the party lane will extend to 167 eventually.

cheeze whiz said...

Nope. That's why this is a TAX.

cheeze whiz said...

Absolutely.

cheeze whiz said...

So what? They aren't going to patrol. Ask them how many 'hands-free' tickets have been written. Almost none.

cheeze whiz said...

It is NOT illegal. It is a moving violation. That is a big and legal difference.

cheeze whiz said...

They will be unable to charge you because they have no access to your registration records.

cheeze whiz said...

Notice they are specifically ignoring these types of questions. At some point , They will be challenged legally for this.

WSDOT said...

You only pay the toll for the distance that you travel in the I-405 express toll lanes. In this scenario, Driver #1 would pay the rate that they see when/where they enter the lanes to travel to NE 6th St, and Driver #2 would pay the toll rate they see when/where they enter the lanes to travel to NE 6th St. The toll rate does change based on congestion, but if they both enter the lanes at the exact same time in two different locations, it’s pretty safe to say that the driver traveling the shorter distance would pay the same or less than the driver going the longer distance.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for your comment. The I-405 express toll lanes have 12 entry points and 11 exit points. WSDOT factored in many issues when locating and designing the access points including:

• Making sure there is adequate room to safely weave between the access point and interchange ramps
• Symmetry in the northbound and southbound directions if possible
• Accommodating the highest number of trips between locations
• Making sure the access point length is long enough to allow for safe movement in an out the ETLs
• Minimizing conflicting weaving volumes when possible

WSDOT also coordinated closely with transit agencies when developing the I-405 express toll lane system entry and exit points in order to support existing routes. We will be monitoring traffic in and out of the access points closely, and we are prepared to make changes if it becomes apparent they are needed.

The online interactive map is the best tool to plan your route in the new express toll lanes. Drivers can plug in their starting point and destination to see the most efficient route.

WSDOT said...

The toll system monitors where you enter the system and where you exit the system. By looking at your entire trip, it determines what the tolls were that were posted when you entered the system and which of the posted rates you’ll pay based on the length of your trip. You only pay one toll rate for each trip.

Anonymous said...

I only take side streets on the eastside now. 405 is dead to me. I'm sure that was part of your plan. Kirkland thanks you for the extra traffic.

Lina Harris said...

How do I calculate the toll I need to pay. This morning I entered at 160th Southbound - entry point 3 - and exited at end of the toll lanes. When I entered the rate said 75cents. How much is my toll rate?

WSDOT said...

Hello Lina Harris-
Thanks for the question! You will pay the price that you see when you enter the lanes. So if your destination was showing $0.75, then you’ll pay $0.75 even if you see a higher price further along in your trip.

Rick Head said...

I ride a motorcycle and got a Good To Go pass for the 520 Bridge when they first came out. My understanding is that this pass will work on 405 as a Free Motorcycle Pass. My question: when I looked up my Good To Go account I do not see any designation that this pass was issued to a motorcycle. Is there supposed to be a special motorcycle designation in my account or on my pass?

Eric said...

This is such garbage!

I use 405 occasionally and when I do it's an HOV with my family.
We have two cars.

I have to buy two passes at $15 each PLUS SALES TAX
I have to fund an account with $30.
SO this is costing me over $60 today.

What do I get for this? The privilege of driving in HOV lanes as a High Occupancy Vehicle.

Who holds my $30 pre-paid account money?

Can I ever get that money back without closing my account?

What happens if I never pay a toll, but use the lanes as HOV? The terms are unclear - it would appear that my account will be closed and I will charged a closing fee.

See: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/FormsAccountFees.htm
"Inactive account closing fee* This fee is charged when customer service closes an account after 24 consecutive months of inactivity (no toll usage)* $5 per account"


So basically, to continue to use the HOV lanes as an HOV, I have to shell out a bunch of money upfront that is held and then I am charged when I don't pay tolls. This stinks of stuff the AG should be looking into (seems pretty similar to consumer protection issues related to gift card balances - I guess it's A-OK when the government is doing it though)



Tommy Arends said...

I certainly agree with Eric. I'm in the same position. Also why can't a Flex Pass be moved between two different vehicles with that have the same owner?

WSDOT said...

Hello Rick –
Thanks for your question. If you have a motorcycle pass installed on your headlamp that you got for the SR 520 Bridge, it will work to travel toll-free on the I-405 express toll lanes. The toll equipment knows the difference between the different pass types, so you should be all set! If you have additional questions about your account, please contact customer service. Thanks!

neglected farms said...

I don't have a pass and I don't want to use the toll lanes. I go to Totem Lake about 5 times a year and on my return, I typically enter 405 going south at 128th. Do I have to seek a different entry in order to avoid the toll?

WSDOT said...

Hello neglected farms –
If you don’t want to use the express toll lanes, yes, you will need to enter I-405 southbound at a different on-ramp. The only entrance at NE 128th St is a direct access ramp to the express toll lanes. Thanks for your question!

neglected farms said...

Thanks- very helpful!

Minglewood said...

Motorcycles are permitted under federal law to use HOV lanes (23 USC 166(b)(2)). How can you reconcile with federal law your requirement that a motorcycle display a pass to use the HOV/HOT lanes or be subject to a bill in the mail? Has the WA Attorney General's office opined that the State has the right to charge motorcycles that don't display a pass? Or are you expecting motorcyclists to know federal law and ignore the bill? Surely if your database can find an address by capturing the picture of a license plate it can determine that the license plate is associated with a motorcycle and not send the unlawful bill in the mail.

John Love said...

This is a very interesting question. I look forward to the reply from WSDOT.

WSDOT said...

Hello Eric –
Your $30 pre-paid deposit is held in a WSDOT account and is yours to use to pay tolls on any toll facility in Washington state. Your account must have a positive balance to be able to use your Flex Pass on the I-405 express lanes for toll-free carpool trips. Your account may be closed if it is inactive for a full twenty-four month period. Many actions are considered activity on your account, including checking your balance and/or transactions online, calling the customer service center or paying a toll. Thank you for your questions.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for your question. The Flex Pass should not be moved between vehicles. Repeated moving of the pass may have a number of unintended consequences:
- The velcro may become less effective with repeated use, risking that the Flex Pass will fall off the windshield while driving
- The Flex Pass must be installed in a specific place on the windshield in a specific position. Repeated installation introduces errors to installing it correctly. An incorrectly installed Flex Pass may not communicate with the toll system as effectively.
- Forgetting to move the Flex Pass into the car you are using would cause you to pay a toll, potentially getting the toll as a bill in the mail, without the Flex Pass in your vehicle.

WSDOT said...

A motorcycle pass is needed to signal our tolling equipment not to charge bikes a toll on the express toll lanes. We looked into several other options, including comparing license plates with vehicle registration data, but unfortunately a comprehensive list of all motorcycle license plates does not exist and our tolling equipment just isn’t able to tell that a bike is a bike 100% of the time without it. We worked with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Washington State Attorney General to confirm that the requirement for motorcycles to have a pass met federal guidelines. FHWA confirmed that motorcycles must be given access to HOV lanes, and that it was totally appropriate for us to require motorcycles to install a pass so that we can accurately tell them apart from toll paying vehicles. In fact, we were informed that it would be perfectly legal for us to charge a fee for the motorcycle pass and to require that it be linked to an active Good To Go! account with a positive balance, but after hearing considerable feedback from motorcyclists we listened to their concerns and decided to offer the passes for free without being linked to a Good To Go! account.

Eric said...

Wow. So it *is* possible to get an HOV only pass without funding an account? How do we do that for cars?

WSDOT said...

Hello Eric-
Yes, for motorcycles, you can get one free motorcycle pass by filling out a survey and you will have it mailed to you. See our website for details. It is not required to attach the motorcycle pass to an account. There is no option for vehicle (car) passes to be activated without a Good To Go! account.

corey mcgrath said...

Hello, WSDOt. I emailed this question to customer service but have not received a reply so thought I would try here. If you have flex pass and use the toll lane how long does it take for the Toll charge to show up on your good to go account? I used the Toll Lane on Wednesday and it does not show in my good to go account yet? Also, how do the cameras pick up your account number or good to go account to charge you on the flex pass as all it can see is either the white (toll) or red (hov) on the pass? I'm concerned it is not recognizing it and will be the pay by mail higher rate?

thanks!

WSDOT said...

Hello corey mcgrath:
Thanks for your questions. Happy to answer them. It will take about 4 days for your I-405 express toll lane transactions to show up on your Good To Go! account. Since there are multiple entry/exit locations and toll points along the corridor, it takes more time to develop toll trips and ensure accuracy for each before posting them to your account. Toll facilities like SR 520 only have one toll point, so the trip is created more quickly in the system and therefore posted to the account faster.

To your other question, the Flex Pass has a transponder in it that communicates with the toll system. The toll system doesn’t need to visibly see a bar code or anything like that. Not to worry, as long as the pass is installed correctly, everything should be working just fine!

corey mcgrath said...

Thank you for your reply. Just thought of another question. Do you get charged extra to use the carpool or hov exits like at 128th in Kirkland? Like for example entered Toll lane on I-405 Northbound at 6th St in Bellevue and exited at 128th HOV exit in Kirkland but right before that exit and also on the off ramp I went through 2 more toll cameras so was I charged 2 more times going through those?


thanks!

WSDOT said...

Hello again corey mcgrath:
Great question. The price you pay for your trip is the price you see when you enter the lanes. When you enter driving northbound where the express toll lanes start, you will see the price for three destinations. Depending on where you get out of the lanes further north, you will pay only one of those three prices listed on that first sign. If the price to your destination goes up or down while you are driving, you still pay the price for your destination that you saw when you entered the lanes. It isn’t about how many toll cameras you pass by on your trip. Hope that helps clarify!

Tris Marr said...

WSDOT -- If I enter and exit the toll lanes more than once on a single trip, am I charged the toll multiple times? I admire your composure at all the grumpy posts.

Mindy Engelberg said...

In my experience, it was very rare to have backups on I-405 on the weekend. However, yesterday (Saturday) it was pretty congested getting from I-5 down to 527 at around 2pm. Is this because of the new toll lanes? If so, do you expect it to improve over the next few weeks? If it turns out the new lanes are making traffic worse as opposed to better, will they be removed?

Becko said...

Coming from Tacoma on a Monday, Northbound on I5 + I405 N, driving alone, and need to get off at Exit #18 (NE 85th St to Kirkland). As long as I stay in regular lanes I don't need a pass, and won't be charged, correct? Thank you!

Jaeisaguy said...

I just emailed them the same question!

WSDOT said...

Hello Becko-
That’s correct. If you’re in the regular, general purpose lanes on I-405, you will not be charged a toll. Thanks!

WSDOT said...

As with any big changes to the roadway, it will take time for drivers to get used to the new express toll lanes system. Drivers are learning the access points and what works best for them and their commute. We do expect it will take some time for traffic to settle out and for drivers to get comfortable with the new lanes. We have created an Interactive Map for drivers to help plan their trip. Check it out!

WSDOT said...

Hell Tris Marr-
Thanks for your comment. If you enter the express toll lanes, exit them, and reenter going the same direction (always northbound, for example) then you may be charged once or twice, depending on how long you are gone from the express toll lanes. If you reenter within a few minutes, it will probably only be a single toll, but without specifics, it is hard to say one way or the other.

Chains said...

I see the signs prohibiting 10000 gvw / combos have been removed. Are Commercial Vehicles now allowed to use the Toll Lanes with a GoodtoGo Pass?

WSDOT said...

Hello Chains:
Vehicles over 10,000 GVW are not allowed in the I-405 express toll lanes. Express toll lanes are a part of the HOV system and are under the same restriction that prohibits vehicles over 10,000 GVW from conventional HOV lanes. We will be installing signs shortly to inform drivers of this rule. WSDOT will continue to monitor the operations of express toll lane and may consider adjusting the restriction to allow delivery trucks.

WSDOT said...

Hello Chains:
Vehicles over 10,000 GVW are not allowed in the I-405 express toll lanes. Express toll lanes are a part of the HOV system and are under the same restriction that prohibits vehicles over 10,000 GVW from conventional HOV lanes. We will be installing signs shortly to inform drivers of this rule. WSDOT will continue to monitor the operations of express toll lane and may consider adjusting the restriction to allow delivery trucks.

WSDOT said...

Hello Chains:
Vehicles over 10,000 GVW are not allowed in the I-405 express toll lanes. Express toll lanes are a part of the HOV system and are under the same restriction that prohibits vehicles over 10,000 GVW from conventional HOV lanes. We will be installing signs shortly to inform drivers of this rule. WSDOT will continue to monitor the operations of express toll lane and may consider adjusting the restriction to allow delivery trucks.

ARMF said...

Currently WSDOT does have an smartphone app, but it does not tell you what the dynamic tolls will be either on SR167 or I405. Any chance that dynamic toll rates will be integrated into the app?

WSDOT on SR167 removed the double white lines any chance this will also be done to I405?

What is the recommended passing while traveling in the 2-lane ETL? Right or left? (Ref: RCW 46.61.100) Right lane driving will usually impede Entry/Exit to the ETL.

Robin McDannald said...

Hello,

I opened an account and requested a flexpass, but haven't received it yet. In the mean time, if I've driven in the toll lane, will I be charged the extra $2, or the 25 cent pay by plate fee? I can't tell if I have to open a separate goodtogo account in order to pay the pay by plate fee....

Jim Rice said...

Today I entered the Toll-Express lane at the I-527/Canyon Park entrance. I did not see a posted toll rate anywhere until I got down to the 128th St. exit, near Totem Lake in Kirkland. The posted toll rate this morning at that location was $0.75. It was written earlier on this site that we pay the toll rate we see when we enter the toll-lane. Is there some way to know the toll rate BEFORE I get into the toll-lane? If I choose to drive in the toll-lane I should know what rate I am going to be charged BEFORE I enter into the agreement to pay the toll. Thank you.

WSDOT said...

Hello ARMF:
Thanks for your questions. There are no current plans to include the dynamic toll rates for either the SR 167 HOT lanes or the I-405 express toll lanes on the smart phone app.

In regards to the different types of access on the two facilities, WSDOT is testing this new continuous access on the SR 167 HOT lanes pilot project first. This is not a common method of access for HOT lanes or express toll lanes, but thanks to a federal grant and this ideal pilot location, we can see how well this access option works and determine if we want to use it at other places in the future. WSDOT is partnering with the University of Washington on a formal evaluation of SR 167 and the results were not complete by the time express toll lanes went live on I-405.

The question about passing is more appropriately answered by the Washington State Patrol.

Arnel said...

Hello-
I switch cars every week going to work. Does this mean that I need to purchase two flex passes for both cars (or for every other car) that I personally use?

Thank you.

WSDOT said...

Hello Arnel:
The Flex Pass should not be moved between vehicles. You will need a Flex Pass in each vehicle that you plan to use to carpool toll-free on the I-405 express toll lanes. Thanks for your question!

Joe Hanick said...

What happens if someone forgets to switch off their hov/flex pass sign? Seems like WSDOT is encouraging distracted driving here.

WSDOT said...

Hello Joe Hanick:
Thanks for your question. We recommend that you set your Flex Pass to HOV or TOLL mode prior to hitting the road, or having a passenger switch it to prevent any distraction while driving. If you happen to forget to switch your pass to HOV mode, you can call customer service after the fact and they will work with you.

Janpack said...

Arnel asked my question. I have quite a few cars, and never know which I will drive. Just like the Discover Pass, you have effectively forced me out of using the service. I don't commute regularly, but when I have to travel from Whidbey Island to Portland or further, I plan my trip carefully, with two people in the car, using the HOV lanes on 405. I guess I'll never be able to do that again. Quite unfair to taxpayers.

Penny said...

I drove 405 Friday as a test to see if would make a difference in my commute time, and how much it will cost me. I drove all sections except the last leg, beginning at aprox. 3:45. I drive from Dupont to Camano Island every Friday evening (on I-5), and the Toll Lane cut an 1 1/2 hours off my commute. That alone is a plus for me. So, now I wait for the bill, but I cant seem to locate how much the GoodToGo pass is. I want to compare buying the pass just to using the toll lane on Fridays and being charged just for Fridays.

Taidu Fenzi said...

Solid answer :)

Taidu Fenzi said...

+1 on the composure comment

alicia_louise said...

Is it planned at some point to add the dynamic toll rates for 405 to the WSDOT app with real time updates? Similar to WA Ferries real time wait times/vehicle loading.

I work in Bellevue and live in MLT. I can do 520 to I-5, back roads, or 405 to 522, 527, or I-5.

I have a budget for 520 tolls that I can use with the 405 tolls, but I would rather know what the toll is prior to committing to 405 in Bellevue.

Thank you!
Alicia

WSDOT said...

Penny – We are so glad to hear that you have found use of the express lanes to be helpful. You are always welcome to use the lanes – with or without a Good To Go! Pass of some kind. If you are interested in comparing Good To Go! Pass prices, you can visit WSDOT Good To Go! Pass website page to determine which pass is best for you.
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/Passes.htm

WSDOT said...

Janpack, Arnel – Planning your trips is always a good idea, especially when using the new I-405 express toll lane system. If you are planning to drive in the express toll lanes on I-405 as a carpool, having a Good To Go! Flex pass enables you to make your trip for free during off-peak hours with two or more people and during peak hours with three or more people.

WSDOT said...

Alecia Louise – At this point, current toll rates are not being posted anywhere, though we have heard several suggestions to add a feature like this to the WSDOT website. In the meantime, you can check current traffic conditions of all Washington state roadways on the WSDOT website. Oftentimes you can see toll rates in the pictures displayed by our traffic cameras.

Qmax alterego said...

Are 2 seat vehicles disallowed from using the commuter lanes?

WSDOT said...

@ Qmax alterego - Any vehicle can choose to pay a toll to enter the express toll lanes by paying a toll. Carpools the posted number of occupants can drive in the express toll lanes for free with a Flex Pass in HOV mode. Two or more people qualify as a carpool during non-peak hours from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 7 p.m. - 5 a.m. and all day on weekends. During peak hours, 3 occupants are required to ride for free as a carpool regardless of the number of seats in the vehicle; but 2-person carpools still have the option to pay a toll if they want a faster trip. Of course, the regular lanes are free and open to all vehicles all the time.

WSDOT said...

@ Qmax alterego - Any vehicle can choose to pay a toll to enter the express toll lanes by paying a toll. Carpools the posted number of occupants can drive in the express toll lanes for free with a Flex Pass in HOV mode. Two or more people qualify as a carpool during non-peak hours from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., 7 p.m. - 5 a.m. and all day on weekends. During peak hours, 3 occupants are required to ride for free as a carpool regardless of the number of seats in the vehicle; but 2-person carpools still have the option to pay a toll if they want a faster trip. Of course, the regular lanes are free and open to all vehicles all the time.

Linda Gertz said...

I'm from BC Canada and use I-405 often. I filled in the application for a flex pass, but the site would not accept a Canadian postal code configuration. I called the number on the site and they told me that if we have a BC license plate there are 2 people in the car that we can use the new toll lanes free of charge, at any time of the day. I am jus confirming that this is correct.

Mike said...

Assuming I enter the toll lane at 6th Street in Bellevue, and the toll sign says ".75 124th, 1.50 522, 2.00 I5"; when I exit the direct access ramp at 128th, am I charged .75 or 1.50? I ask this because technically I am passing 124th as my destination.

WSDOT said...

As of now, there is no place where we are posting the live toll rates. We suggest you check WSDOT traffic cameras before you leave, some of which do show the toll rate signs and will show traffic on the roadway as well.

BZ said...

Have not used 405 for a while. I accidentally entered express lane southbound of 405 from NE 128 St,Kirkland and exited NE 85 towards Redmond at Saturday evening. I drove by myself, and only had 520 good to go pass on my car. Will I be charged? If yes, how much? It was raining and very dark, thus I didn't see any express lane sign before entering and fee info. Please advise, thanks.

Ib S said...

In response to Linda Gertz from BC, Canada:

Greetings from another Canadian in Vancouver BC. Some weeks ago, I actually emailed GoodToGo regarding the very question you pose, since I too travel I405 on a regular basis. I have some good news for you. Us Canadians get a totally free ride in these new I405 express toll lanes at any time of day or night, regardless of how many (or few) people in the car, as long as you have BC plates. The reason being, BC does not share plate information with WA state. In fact, I have been crossing the tolled 520 bridge for years and never received a bill - again, all totally legal.

Here is the response I received from GoodToGo:

"We do not have reciprocity agreements with Canada or any provinces to share registration data. Therefore, vehicles with Canadian plates do not get charged tolls on facilities with photo enforcement equipment. Using our facilities with British Columbian or other provincial plates is not a moving violation, so feel free to use our toll facilities."

So there you have it. There is also an interesting article online about this. See

http://mynorthwest.com/1024/2825742/Why-Canadians-dont-have-to-pay-for-tolls-on-I405

I drove in the I405 express lanes on Canadian Thanksgiving Monday during the rush hour and was amazed to almost have the entire 2 lanes all to myself. Perhaps rather cheekily, I had mounted a Canadian stick flag to my rear right side window, which would have been blowing away in the breeze at 60mph.

Anyhow, hope that answers your question. Maybe see you in the express lanes "eh". :)

Knoydart said...

I occasionally car pool with 3 people in the HOV lane on the I405, so I qualify for free HOV lane use.

However, for this "free use" I am now expected to pay $15 for a stupid pass & fund the account with $30 even though I'll never use the Toll Lanes.

So this "free use" ends up costing me $45!

This is a massive con job, WA DOT is effectively getting a minimum $30, interest free loan from every member of the public for driving on a Federal, not a State road. Any HONEST department would issue "HOV Only" permits too. Obviously the WA DOT is dishonest, or incompetent, or both.

emiaj zerolf said...

I entered the restricted lanes in Kirkland and drove all the way down to Renton at 9:00 pm.I have now received a bill in the mail for $2.75. I understood the restricted lanes were free to all from 7:00 pm to 5 am.

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Hi Linda and Ib S – Ib S is correct. We aren’t able to toll Canadian drivers. Ib S - Thanks also for sharing this article that explains the situation well - http://mynorthwest.com/1024/2825742/Why-Canadians-dont-have-to-pay-for-tolls-on-I405

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Hi Mike - $1.50. The toll rates shown on the signs indicate that exits at or up to the exit listed are that toll rate, exits beyond the first exit listed, are the next toll rate. For example, the sign shows:
• NE 124th Street $1.25
• JCT SR 522 $1.50
• JCT I-5 $2.00

If you enter at NE 6th and exit at 128th, you’ll pay $1.50. If you exit at NE 70th, you’ll pay $1.25. Check out our interactive map: www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/405/map/Default.aspx

WSDOT said...

Emiaj, the new I-405 express toll lanes are in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There would have been a sign displaying the Good To Go! toll rate of 75 cents when you entered the lanes; the extra $2 is for processing, printing and mailing the bill to you.

WSDOT said...

Knowydart – Anyone can use the express toll lanes. The express toll lanes provide a choice for drivers who want the option of a more reliable, efficient trip. Also, if you are a regular carpooler along the I-405 corridor and live, work, or play in King or Snohomish county, you are eligible to request a free Flex Pass and cut down the cost. The $30 put into your Good To Go! account stays in your account so that if you choose to use the express toll lanes without qualifying as an HOV, you have the option to pay the toll from your account, rather than receive a toll bill in the mail.

WSDOT said...

Hi Jim Rice - Thank you for reaching out to us with your concerns. I’m sorry to hear about your frustrating experience on southbound I-405. It will take time to get used to the new system and adjust, but in the meantime, we’re happy to help make your trip as easy as possible. The next time you take the southbound express toll lanes from SR 527, you’ll have two opportunities to view the toll rates before you hit NE 128th Street. First, you will see a toll rate sign about 350 feet prior to the SR 527 access point. That gives you the chance to see the rate before you enter the system. If for some reason you miss that, another toll rate sign is located at NE 160th Street. Hopefully this helps with your future trips!

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Hi BZ - Last Saturday, Oct 17, the rate for the trip on southbound I-405 from NE 128th St to NE 6th was $0.75, for the entire day. Since you have a GTG pass, you should only be charged $0.75. If you have any questions about how to pay your toll bill, feel free to email us at GoodToGoTolling@WSDOT.WA.GOV.

Tris Marr said...

Hi. On October 5th I called the service center to purchase 2 $5 good-to-go passes but I still have not received them in the mail. I've called twice to ask them if they are on the way, or if there is some problem and they didn't get sent, but they seem not to know and both times said "well, they are probably still processing them and you should receive them soon". But, I have gotten 2 bills in the mail, just not my passes. What should I do? The service people aren't giving me concrete answers.

mw said...

What if my flex pass has hov selected because I had 3 passengers from a previous 405 trip. Now I am going over 520, and my flex pass is still job... will it not collect my discounted toll and view my flex pass as "off" and charge full fare? thanks.

WSDOT said...

mw, it doesn't matter what mode your Flex Pass is in when you cross the SR 520 Bridge, our system will know to charge you the Good To Go! rate.

WSDOT said...

Tris – Thank you for your patience with Good To Go! customer service and we apologize for the inconvenience of waiting for your passes. Customer service is working hard to expedite the delivery of passes to customers who are ordering them through their accounts. If you have specific questions about your passes, you can also email Good To Go! customer service at goodtogo@goodtogo.wsdot.wa.gov.

Rachel Barnard said...

If I'm Northbound and I want to exit on SR 527, do I pay the I-5 listed price to go that far? Because there's usually a substantial difference between the 522 and I-5 exit prices.

Sharon W said...

Hello,

Does veterans day (Nov. 11) count as off-peak days in the 405 express toll lanes? For example, can I use the HOV lane as a 2 person carpool on that day? Thanks

WSDOT said...

Weekend rates are utilized on the following holidays: New Years Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Unfortunately, Veterans Day is not one of them.

WSDOT said...

Rachel, once you pass the exit for 522 you’ll be paying the toll rate for the next exit listed. As you continue in the lanes, you should eventually see a toll rate sign that lists the exit point for 527 and the corresponding price.

PeachyAlison said...

If I have a flex pass do I also need to register my plate? If both are registered, what happens if my pass is set to HOV but the camera picks up my plate? Will I be charged?

WSDOT said...

PeachyAlison – As long as your pass is properly installed in your vehicle, the tolling equipment will recognize your pass is set to HOV and will not charge your account. If your pass is unreadable for some reason, then your license plate will be read instead.

prudence said...

If there was an accident in the HOV lane that slows down the traffic so much that it is "stop & go", and the normal lanes are moving much faster, is it okay to move out of the HOV lane (safely) to get past the accident, and then move back into the HOV lane even though it means crossing the double solid white lines? I ended up paying $6.50 to get to the I5 interchange, and the traffic in the HOV lane (single lane) was moving at a snail's pace. The regular lanes were moving much faster for at least several miles.

WSDOT said...

Prudence – Crossing the double white lines is illegal, unless directed to do so by a WSP officer. Should there be an accident that prevents either general purpose lanes or express toll lanes from moving traffic efficiently, adjustments to the roadway will be made accordingly. In past incidents, we have adjusted toll signs to accommodate these types of scenarios and get traffic moving at a safe and efficient pace.

Marty Dennison said...

When I'm driving northbound on I-405 I normally enter the toll lanes at NE 6th in Bellevue. There are only 3 toll destinations listed at this point, those are for 124th, Hwy 522 and I-5. My exit is Hwy 527. How am I to know the cost of the toll for that exit, and make the decision if I want to pay that or enter the general purpose lanes, when it's not posted until I've passed the Hwy 522 exit point?

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Marty Dennison - Good question. The toll rate signs above the lanes should be read as 'up and to destination listed' and corresponding toll rate.

Meaning, when you travel northbound from NE 6th to SR 527, the toll rate sign will show a toll for drivers exiting at I-5, that is your toll rate. Here's a helpful online route planning tool - www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/405/map/

Tris Marr said...

Today I used the toll lanes both going south and north. On both trips I ended up behind drivers who either were carpools, or simply did not understand the purpose of "express" as they were not going any faster than the general purpose lanes (which were going less than the speed limit). This is very annoying when this happens, because after committing to the toll, you are then stuck behind people who aren't using the lanes properly (for a quicker trip). What should be done in this case? Basically these daydreamers are wasting my money.

WSDOT said...

Tris Marr – I’m sorry you got stuck behind some slower drivers. While we certainly understand your frustration, there isn’t anything we can do on our end to prevent this from happening. Like any speed limit, obstruction of traffic is enforced by WSP.

Andrew Cherin said...

How do the express lanes determine how many people are in your car? How can they tell?

WSDOT said...

Andrew, the express toll lane system cannot tell how many people are in your car. That's why carpoolers need a Flex pass – allowing drivers to indicate whether or not they are a carpool. By sliding the pass to HOV mode, the driver will indicate the vehicle is a carpool. If they are not a carpool, the driver will slide the lever to Toll mode and will be charged a toll to use the express toll lane. Washington State Patrol monitors vehicles who claim exemption in HOV mode without having the right amount of occupants.

John Love said...

How can I UNSUBSCRIBE to this blog?
Every time I hit the "unsubscribe" link I get a message saying that I am already unsubscribed.
And every day I keep getting emails.
Very frustrating.

WSDOT said...

Hi, John. To unsubscribe from email updates, please click the unsubscribe link in one of the comment emails you have received, or click the unsubscribe link on the blog's comment page.

subhani said...

I use I 405 from renton to Bellevue and Bellevue to Renton, and I drive alone every single day, Will I be charged if I use HOV lane, since there is no express lane. THANKS

WSDOT said...

Subhani – South of NE 6th Street in Bellevue, the HOV lanes remain free. The express toll lanes only run north of Bellevue to Lynnwood.

Marius Lukosevicius said...

Question:
If I am in the 405 toll lanes, and I find that the toll lane(s) are going slower than the rest of traffic in the free lanes, can I exit the express lanes for a mile or two and then get back in?
Will this charge me twice? Or do I get to keep my original price-stamp for my destination?

Thank you for your time.

P.S. PLEASE make the accounts payable online when they fall below $0.00... I'm so tired of waiting on hold for 40+ min to pay off a $0.75 overcharge. I could get you the payment SO MUCH faster if you just made it possible to pay overcharge accounts on MyGoodToGo.com.

Rachel Barnard said...

Subhani, between the hours of 5AM - 7PM, I believe, the HOV lanes stated above are free but you must be a carpool, not a single occupant.

WSDOT said...

Marius, if you choose to exit the express toll lanes at any point along your trip, you have 30 minutes to re-enter the lanes before you would be tolled again.

Ray Lin said...

Today I forgot to switch HOV mode to Toll Mode after I dropped off my baby. State Patrol noticed I didn't do it in this way. He just gave me the warning. I am just curious: Is there any law to define this? Can state patrol issue drivers fine tickets in this situation?

My personal thought: State patrol should pay more attention to speeding or someone breaks the law instead of hov/toll mode issue. Good camera system should handle it nicely. Do you think so?

WSDOT said...

Ray - Drivers using HOV mode on I-405 who are not meeting carpool occupancy requirements are subject to a $136 citation as a carpool violation. Solo drivers can use both the SR 167 HOT lanes and I-405 express toll lanes without having additional passengers in their car, as long as they’re following the requirements to pay a toll.

The tolling system in place is not designed to count the number of occupants in the vehicle, but instead will pick up signals from Good To Go! passes and snap photos of license plates.

Commuter said...

I live in Seattle, and commute daily to/from Redmond on 520. While I am stuck in traffic on my way home from work every night, I am struck by the high percentage of single and double occupancy cars flying past me in the 3- person carpool lane. I estimate that more than 70% of the cars in the carpool lane are violating the occupancy requirement. And in all of 2015 and 2016, I've seen police patrolling the lane only a handful of times.

This lack of enforcement, coupled with the high rate of violation, is doubtlessly encouraging more people to break the law because they have no fear at all of getting caught. I've even begun to see more and more cars driving in the shoulder heading westbound between 405 and where the carpool lane begins. Meanwhile, traffic backups get worse and worse for those of us adhering to the law, and the 520 toll rates keep increasing.

This level of violation and lack of enforcement is not fair. I urge the police to do something about it. If the police were diligent about enforcing the law, they would more than cover the increased cost of enforcement through the revenue from the tickets they issued. And it would reduce the level of road rage and anxiety among people currently following the law but feeling like idiots for doing so.

WSDOT said...

Thank you for sharing your comments, @Commuter. We have and continue to work closely with Washington State Patrol to educate officers and drivers about the rules of the road, and changes to carpool requirements since the express toll lanes opened last year. We appreciate your concern and will continue to encourage consistent patrolling on express toll lanes moving forward.

Commuter said...

To be clear, I'm not talking about the express toll lanes on 405 -- I am talking about the 3+ HOV lane on westbound 520. The level of abuse is appalling. It has gotten to the point that I am almost embarrassed for following the law.