Thursday, November 12, 2015

I-405 Express Toll Lanes: You Only Need One Pass

By: Emily Pace Glad

Note: This post has been updated from the original version to reflect new hours of operation for the I-405 express toll lanes.

Anyone can use the I-405 express toll lanes. You don’t need a pass to pay the toll, but you might want one. And what if you want to ride for free as a carpool? We know you still have questions, so we compiled the top 5 things you need to know about passes and the express toll lanes below. Also, check out the first episode of Backseat Driver, where we talked to two commuters to answer their questions about passes.

Here are the top 5 things you need to know:
  1. You don’t need a pass to use the lanes when tolls are being collected – enter the lanes anytime without a pass or an account and you’ll receive a bill in the mail for the toll and a $2.00 fee. Any Good To Go! pass will work to pay the toll – so if you tend to ride alone and you have a Good To Go! Sticker pass, you’re all set.
  2. The Flex Pass is the ONLY way carpoolers travel free in the express toll lanes during operating hours - when you are carpooling, you can flip the Flex Pass to HOV mode for a free trip. Remember, you must have the required number of passengers in your vehicle for the free trip: at least three people weekdays from 5-9 a.m., two or more people from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., and three or more people from 3-7 p.m.
  3. The express toll lanes are open to all at night from 7pm – 5am and all day on weekends. You do not need a pass or a carpool at these times.
  4. You can use the Flex Pass on any toll facility – it gives you the options to pay the toll or ride free as a carpool in the express toll lanes and the SR 167 HOT Lanes. It also works to pay the toll on all other state facilities.
  5. You only need ONE Good To Go! pass in your vehicle – All Good To Go! passes, whether it’s the Sticker Pass or the Flex Pass, work to pay the toll on all state toll facilities: SR 520 bridge, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, SR 167 HOT Lanes and the I-405 express toll lanes. If you’re worried about having the option to ride for free, see #4 above.

13 comments:

Helena said...

These toll lanes are the biggest mistake in transportation history. WSDOT should be ashamed of itself for lieing and cheating the public. We would all be better off if the toll lane was disbanded and turned into a general purpose lane. The new configuration would be 4 general purpose lanes and an HOV lane.

Tyler said...

I agree with Helena, and I'll take it one step further, WSDOT's GoodToGo is lying through their teeth about it being "Free" for carpoolers. I figured, hey I'm gonna be commuting on 405 for a few weeks and will have plenty of passengers in the car with me to avoid paying the toll, but nowhere does it state that on top of paying $15 for the Flex Pass, I'd also have to pay $30 just to have an account with GoodToGo, one that in my opinion I shouldn't need considering I'll always be carpooling if in the lane, if I don't have enough to carpool, I'm taking the general purpose lanes.

Michael said...

Question:
The flexpass in our family car stays in HOV because it is only used when the whole family is traveling. If I travel down the ETLs in HOV mode and then cross the 520 bridge or Tacoma Narrows can I leave it in HOV mode or do I need to switch it to Toll?

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Hi Michael, Thanks for your question. Since all drivers are subject to a toll on the SR 520 bridge and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, it doesn't matter what mode your Flex Pass is in. If you have your Flex Pass in HOV mode when you cross either of those bridges, you will still receive a toll. Thanks for checking!

Sara & Greg Pearson said...

I'm needing to commute more often on 405 as a carpool. I ordered my flex pass 2 weeks ago and still no sign of it. After waiting on hold for 45 minutes to talk to customer service I was told they are "back logged" and it still may take another couple of weeks for it to arrive. Really - a month (at the earliest)? If I would have known this I would have tried to buy one at Fred Meyer, oh yeah, that's right - they don't have any either! Surely someone in charge of this could have anticipated the demand for these passes?

WSDOT said...

Tyler – A Good To Go! account is the best way to go if you plan to use toll facilities in Washington state. When you choose to use express toll lanes, and don't meet HOV requirements, the toll you pay will come directly from that $30 deposit rather than from a bill in the mail with a $2 additional fee. Additionally, if you are a regular carpooler, you may be eligible for a free Flex Pass. If you haven't got one yet, check out the instructions here: wsdot.wa.gov/Tolling/405/freepass.

WSDOT said...

Sara & Greg – We anticipated a high demand for Flex Passes, but we certainly could not predict the volume of orders we have received through the incentive program, Good To Go!, and at retail locations. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to get caught up on orders very soon. Thanks so much for your patience!

Unknown said...

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/all-lanes-northbound-i-405-lanes-blocked-bellevue-/npPhH/

You can see this mess is just north of the area where the transition occurs.

Robert

WSDOT said...

Robert – Our project team is actively monitoring accessibility of the lanes to see how drivers are using them and if there are needs for improvements. We understand that the system is new to drivers and there will be an adjustment period while people learn to navigate the entry and exit points along the corridor. On Tuesday, the cause of the collision was a single driver going too fast and following too close in the general purpose lanes. I encourage you to follow us on Twitter for more updates: twitter.com/wsdot_traffic.

Caroline C said...

Will you be posting these videos to WSDOT's YouTube Channel or just Vimeo? Thanks!

WSDOT said...

At this point, just Vimeo. We’ll keep you posted though, Caroline.

Geoff in Bellevue said...

I like the new pay lanes. I've been happy to pay 75 cents to get from Bellevue to Bothell quicker. I don't drive that way often but when I do, I want to get where I'm going. I'm surprised more people don't take advantage of it.

That said, I see people (often) cutting across the white line when traffic jams up after an entrance. If you don't get on at the short spot in Bellevue, it's a long haul with lots of chances to get stuck until the next one.

WSDOT Toll Division said...

Geoff in Bellevue - Glad to hear you're using and enjoying the lanes! Thanks for the feedback about the ETL access in Bellevue, if you have more specifics on the location of specific area of concern, please send those details to us at 405carpool@WSDOT.WA.GOV. We're tracking those types of comments so we can make changes, if needed.

WSDOT comment policy

Post a Comment