I-405’s new HOV lane has everyone confused. Can I use it today the same way I used it yesterday? How do I pay? Do I have to pay? We’ve heard a few people say they’ll never use it.
“I’d rather wait in traffic than get a ticket.”
“So many rules!”
As with everything, we don’t just want to put you in a house and skip out—we want to make sure you feel at home in this growing city. We stick with our clients long after the closing paperwork gets signed, and that even includes making sure you know how to navigate through traffic.
Here’s our attempt at explaining I-405’s HOV lanes.
The new HOV lanes run between Lynnwood and Bellevue.
Between free and $10. It depends on the time, traffic conditions, and how far you drive. The current toll is displayed on the signs, and you will only be charged at the rate it displays when you ENTER the HOV lane. Yeah, we know—that’s still a huge range.
[table caption=”I-405 HOV Tolls broken down by the Real Estate Gals” colalign=”left|center|center|center|center”]
Passengers,Flex Pass during non-Peak* Hours,Flex Pass during Peak** Hours,Old Good to Go pass,No Pass
Non-carpool,Toll (varies),Toll,Toll + $0.25,Toll + $2
2-person carpool,FREE,Toll,Toll + $0.25,Toll + $2
3-person+ carpool,FREE,FREE,Toll + $0.25,Toll + $2
*Non-Peak Hours: all weekends and 9am–3pm and 7pm–5am on weekdays. During these times, anyone with a Flex Pass AND a carpool of 2+ people can use the HOV lanes for free.
**Peak Hours: 5am–9am and 3pm–7pm on weekdays. During these commuting times, only people with a Flex Pass AND a carpool of 3+ people can use the HOV lanes for free.
Key takeaway: You ALWAYS need a Flex Pass to use the HOV lanes for free.
How to pay:
Get a Good to Go Flex Pass. It’s possible to use the HOV lanes without them, but it’s easier and cheaper with a Flex pass. (the Flex pass costs $15 at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/passes.htm). You’ll then have to stock your online Good to Go account with at least $30, and the tolls will be automatically deducted from your account.
NOTE: You can ONLY enter/exit the HOV lanes in the designated areas. Don’t cross the double white lines!
To put all of this in perspective: In August of 2010, China had a traffic jam that lasted 10 days. It was 60 miles long, and most people could only move 0.6 miles per day. Some drivers were stuck in traffic for five days. Some drivers abandoned their cars.
…next to that, Seattle traffic seems downright speedy.