TM&E NEWS: Dallas may allow single passengers to pay for HOV use

Rapid transit board is looking into such a move, which could generate $18.9 million annually

September 01, 2010

Lonely riders may be able to join an elite company out on the Texas highways. The Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) is considering allowing single-passenger motorists to use the free carpool lanes in North Texas—at a price.

DART hopes the move will relieve congestion even more on its 84 miles of HOV territory, but not everyone on the board is giving it support.

According to DART HOV Program Manager Koorosh Olyai, motorists would be charged fixed rates, between 14.5 and 33 cents a mile, depending on the time of day. For now, carpoolers will still be able to coast at no cost, but DART is looking into increasing the number of passengers a motorist must have from one to two. The move could generate as much as $18.9 million a year, with the first implementation taking place on two lanes of I-35E/U.S. 67 by 2012.

“I am feeling taxed out here,” claimed DART board member Faye Moses-Wilkins. “I’ve paid for these roads with my taxes, and I am going to be asked to pay again?”

Despite some resistance, the move may indeed pass. When polled, most on the DART board wanted more information on the new policy, while only two members outright opposed it. However, before the system is in place DART needs to negotiate a billing system and also needs to come up with the necessary technology.

“We could really gum this up if we don’t develop a well thought-out comprehensive approach,” said Dallas Regional Transportation Council Staff Director Michael Morris.

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