Dr. Darryl Willoughby, a Carson orthopedic surgeon, frequently travels to hospitals in downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, Lynwood and Willowbrook. Considering the challenges of LA traffic, he often had to find ingenious ways to circumvent the gridlock. So, he purchased a FasTrak transponder when the Metro Express Lanes first opened on the I-110 freeway last November, happy to jump into the carpool lane as a solo driver and bypass traffic jams.
“When you have to go places, you have to prepare for traffic,” said Willoughby. “I have to get around town. Traffic is something that you have to navigate through and the FasTrak pass helps you navigate.”
He is so satisfied with his transponder that last month he bought one for his son. Little did he know that he had purchased the 200,000 transponder sold under the county’s program and received a $200 credit on his FasTrak account. According to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, so far the one year Metro Express Lane program has been a success, with many drivers opting to pay a toll as solo drivers by using the carpool lane. Since it is a one-year pilot program, it will be reviewed next spring by the 13- member Metro Board.
“This is a huge milestone,” said Stephanie Wiggins, executive officer for the congestion reduction initiative for Metro. “We only expected 100,000 transponders to be issued during the pilot program. This has far exceeded our expectations and demonstrates a growing public acceptance for the new program.”
Willoughby is just glad he can cruise at 65 miles per hour in the car pool lane. Before purchasing the transponder, it use to take him anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes to get from Carson to his office in downtown Los Angeles but the transponder has cut his drive time in half.
“I can get to my office in 15 minutes from home,” said Willoughby. “I can get to most of the hospitals within 15 to 20 minutes. It’s very, very convenient. “
Transponders, which cost $40, may be purchased by visiting www.metroexpresslanes.net, Albertsons supermarkets, Costco and the Auto Club of Southern California. For information on how the Express Lanes work visit: https://www.metroexpresslanes.net/en/about/howit.shtml