Los Angeles opens first toll lanes

Nov. 10, 2012 at 7:49 PM

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 10 (UPI) -- Los Angeles officials hope that charging drivers to use some "carpool lanes" on what had been freeways will relieve some of the region's legendary traffic jams.

The first tollway, from downtown Los Angeles to South Bay, was scheduled to open Saturday night on the 110 Freeway, the Los Angeles Times reported. With congestion pricing, the tariff for the

11-mile trip could be as much as $15.40 at peak times with officials saying drivers who pay up could save 2 to 3 minutes every mile.

Los Angeles County is a latecomer to congestion pricing in Southern California, which has already been adopted in Orange County. Doug Failing of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said officials are now examining all the designated carpool lanes to see if they should become tollways.

At least 30,000 drivers have paid $40 for transponders, which are required to use the toll lanes. Drivers with the required number of passengers will not have to pay the tolls but must still purchase the transponders.

While some drivers said they resent the additional charges, one planner welcomed the tollways.

"It's about time," Donald Shoup, an urban planner at UCLA, said. "They work in San Diego; they work in many other cities. We have the worst congestion ... and it's odd that we're one of the last cities to try it out."

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