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HOT lanes vs Slugs? Benefit or Problem?

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Category: Archived Slugging Topics
Forum Name: HOT Lanes Discussion
Forum Description: Post messages regarding High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes here.
URL: http://www.slug-lines.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4067
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Topic: HOT lanes vs Slugs? Benefit or Problem?
Posted By: Pele
Subject: HOT lanes vs Slugs? Benefit or Problem?
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 11:54am
A lot of people say they'll quit slugging when HOT lanes come into effect.

I fail to see why HOT lanes will harm the slugging system.

Driver has a choice either to pay some unknown amount or pick up slugs and get in for free.

Unless I've missed something, won't this encourage slugging?



Replies:
Posted By: Jerry Senfield
Date Posted: 04 Feb 2009 at 3:34pm
HOT lanes are a great idea for slugs. Plus you can always squeeze a few in the trunk opposed to 20 stuffed into a mini van.


Posted By: ybarra
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2009 at 12:22pm
As I said before, HOT lanes should enhance slugging and being creative folks that we are, we can "sell" our ridership to save the scapers money.


Posted By: go2grl
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2009 at 12:37pm
I believe one of the reasons is that HOT lanes will add more vehicles to the lanes, adding additional time to the drive. They also haven't answered the question of how they are going to tell if there are 3 or more in the cars, what they are going to do about the choke points at each end of the HOT lanes and if there will be a maximum number of "free" 3 or more cars allowed. I also read that they are only going to be required to maintain a 55mph rate, which goes back to the first reason. Let's not even get into the fact that they are not going to add any more room to the existing HOV lanes, just reline them to fit 3 lanes into the current space. Should I also mention the major delays that will be caused by the aforementioned relining which will probably take a year or more to complete?

I'm already looking for a job closer to Stafford.[8D]


Posted By: mpatoka
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2009 at 2:34pm
Theoretically, with HOT, slugs should have some value 24 hours a day so there should always be a demand, not just the 5.5 hours per day now. If I'm driving I-95 sometime during the day, I'll be looking for slugs to avoid paying the tolls. If I'm slugging, I would hope there are cars wanting me to ride anytime during the day.

That's the easy part. As you can see, there are a whole lot of other issues that will potentially screw up this great system.


Posted By: Jody
Date Posted: 06 Feb 2009 at 4:19pm
Carpool exemption was removed from CA. Why would anybody think that wouldn't happen here?

2 or 3 yrs ago, someone drafted a anti-hot lane petition for the I-395/I-95 corrider and asked for input. I specifically drafted a clause that stated for the length of the contract (80 yrs), carpools ride free.

I don't care how much Ybarra says carpools will ride free. Unless VDOT inserts that specific language into the contract, there is no guarantee that carpools will ride free. They haven't signed a final contract; the details are still being negotiated. Any provision can have language that states it can be renegotiated after a certain amount of time has passed. There called "amendments" folks. And the HOV exemption ending at 9 am & 6 pm? Won't exist anymore. Toll, 24/7. Any SOVs used to accessing HOV at those times will pay a toll. Bet on it.

If HOV is converted to a toll road 24/7 with no carpool exemption, there will be no incentive for drivers to pick up slugs.

Commuter Connections is going to be busy with people trying to set up carpools to split the toll and garage parking.

We live in a wealthy area. Why do you think in CA the toll roads were nicknamed the "Lexus Lanes?" If people can afford to pay the toll, there is no incentive to pick up slugs on a road that is designated a toll road 24/7.


Posted By: CallmeMrSlug
Date Posted: 07 Feb 2009 at 12:28am
Are you that naive to think we would be having hearings on it if the deal was not already done? Hearings for VDOT means they talk and we hear them talk. With new stimulus money, VDOT going to make this a priority. It sounds good to them, public project, throw money to a private business. Private business creates jobs. Personally, hot won't affect me. I have an alternative. I'll pay a little more, 40.00 a week, but I will get to work when I need to. But for anyone south of Springfield, this is your worst nightmare come true. Let us see, your home values are lost and now you face an expensive and at least 90 minute commute. And you voted for you local representative because...


Posted By: jlcnole
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 8:37am
ybarra, please don't pretend that you are one of the slugging community...


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 09 Feb 2009 at 9:11am
Love how all these newbies start posting in favor of HOT lanes. I've been slugging for 14 years and have never once, ever, met a slugrider or slugdriver who is not completely opposed to these toll roads.

I strongly suspect that Transurban/Fluor employees post on these sites to give the impression that there is some disagreement in our little community about this issue. Same tactic as the anti-global-warming minority uses. Not surprising Tu/F would do it when you consider the huge money at stake for them.

In honor of tonight's meeting, I'm going to devote some time today to playing some of Spongebob's historic (and histrionic) hits. Like the quote from the local transportation official about limiting HOV access to ensure sufficient revenue for the tolling company.


Posted By: Pele
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2009 at 8:37am
Oh, I wasn't aware that the car pool exemption was NOT in the contract... I also did not know about California kicking the carpoolers out.

Given this info, I'm now against the HOT lanes...


Posted By: scottt
Date Posted: 11 Feb 2009 at 9:13am
quote:
Originally posted by Pele

Oh, I wasn't aware that the car pool exemption was NOT in the contract... I also did not know about California kicking the carpoolers out.

Given this info, I'm now against the HOT lanes...



They didn't kick the carpoolers out, they just started charging them. Something that was promised would never happen.

Hence why I have NO faith that the "HOV will always be free" statements made here will be true.


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 12 Feb 2009 at 4:09pm
Here, Scottt, you have it exactly right.


Posted By: UriahAKiser
Date Posted: 12 Feb 2009 at 10:15pm
Hello everyone, I am a reporter with the News & Messenger in Prince William County and have been covering the proposed HOT Lanes. As a resident of Prince William County of more than 20 years I know for a fact how well slugging has worked in the Northern Virginia area, and how some are worried about how HOT Lanes could damper their success. I also know how many people are looking for congestion relief and would pay anything to get it no matter the cost. I can see some of the comments inside this forum are heated and have some emotional attachments. I would like to speak with you about what the HOT Lanes mean to you, and I hope you will keep me informed of anything related to slugging in the area, as I aim to keep slugging issues in the headlines. I have reached out to a few of you who have listed a personal email address listed, but please feel free to contact me either by phone 703-878-8065, or by email. I would like to feature some local opinion in my story, aside from just the transportation officials. Thanks!


Posted By: n/a
Date Posted: 24 Feb 2009 at 10:38am
OK, consider this:

HOT will take something that has already been paid for by tax allocations as part of the Interstate Highway System (thank you President Eisenhower!), and will charge citizens to use it all over again. But before that happens, the HOT contractors will build toll booths and access roads partly funded by taxpayer subsidies. That's three fees to ride on the same road, so far!

But that's not all; when carpoolers exceed a certain level of the traffic volume, HOT contractors will recieve taxpayer funded compensation to make up for "lost" potential revenue.

And there's more: VDOT is prohibited from building, widening or improving roads adjacent to HOT lanes, that may compete with the HOT lanes and reduce "potential" revenue. So forget about any non-HOT road improvements in the future!

And as far as the promises that "HOV riders will always be free," no technology exists that can identify and exclude HOV cars from toll paying cars! One proposal that I have heard would charge ALL cars the prevailing toll and require HOV cars to petition for any toll refund.

OK so if all of this is not offensive enough, consider this: every dollar spent on HOT tolls erodes the discretionary income base and will not be spent in support of local economies. Those dollars will not be spent in the local stores, they will not pay local salaries, they will not fund local bake sales, and they will not contribute to the local tax base. HOT tolls paid are monies that leave the local communities, they will leave the country as revenue for foriegn HOT contractors. HOT tolls are robbing the lifeblood of local communities!

And if you are still not convinced, look to the history of urban planning. For decades urban planners have fought to discourage the one thing that erodes inner-cities faster than any other factor: affluent urban flight. HOT lanes encourages affluent urban flight by allowing those who can afford the tolls to move out to the exurbs! HOT lanes have earned the moniker, "Lexus Lanes" to describe the evening flight of affluent commuters away from the cities where they earn their big paychecks.

Still not convinced? What abouth the decades of lessons learned about the benefits of carpooling? Reduced pollution, reduced traffic congestion, reduced fossil fuel consumption! HOT lanes provides an option that includes NONE of these smart options. Given the easy "pay-to-ride-alone" commuter option, those who can afford to will snub these proven benefits of carpooling. And every single occupant vehicle puts two other cars back on the road (the two HOV riders who now must drive).

There are some things for your article!


Posted By: TWO
Date Posted: 03 Mar 2009 at 3:54pm
quote:
Originally posted by raymond

Given the easy "pay-to-ride-alone" commuter option, those who can afford to will snub these proven benefits of carpooling. And every single occupant vehicle puts two other cars back on the road (the two HOV riders who now must drive).

There are some things for your article!


Don't you think the popularity (and multiple extensions of the law) of the hybrids made it obvious that people will PAY to ride in the HOV lanes? How many people went out and bought a hybrid solely for that reason? I personally know a couple people that bought them for that reason (no, I'm not one of them).

HOT lanes are BAD news, but I do like the idea of 24 hour HOV rules!


Posted By: toomuchcoffeelady
Date Posted: 10 Jun 2009 at 9:07am
quote:
Originally posted by ybarra

As I said before, HOT lanes should enhance slugging and being creative folks that we are, we can "sell" our ridership to save the scapers money.



You are a corrupt politician, and you have no business being on these boards. Look after the best interests of those who elected you to represent them, not your own pockets!

ain't free speech a wonderful thing, until you don't like the views being stated? - Ceejay2


Posted By: n/a
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2009 at 10:59am
quote:
Originally posted by toomuchcoffeelady

quote:
Originally posted by ybarra

As I said before, HOT lanes should enhance slugging and being creative folks that we are, we can "sell" our ridership to save the scapers money.



You are a corrupt politician, and you have no business being on these boards. Look after the best interests of those who elected you to represent them, not your own pockets!

ain't free speech a wonderful thing, until you don't like the views being stated? - Ceejay2



Ybarra, was never elected. She was appointed to a cushy VDOT post and now works for the special interest groups / contractors hired by VDOT when she oversaw those contracts. Conflict of interest? Not when her interest was never to represent VA commuters.


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 17 Aug 2009 at 6:10pm
Plus, she lives in the Watergate Apartments! She DOES NOT EVEN LIVE IN VIRGINIA!

What a total maroon, as my pal Bugs would say.

Not to mention that she is such a noobish troll she actually used her own last name rather than an alias during her 10 pathetic attempts to post on here. As if we wouldn't know who she was!



Posted By: Pele
Date Posted: 17 Jun 2011 at 1:03pm
quote:
Originally posted by Pele

Oh, I wasn't aware that the car pool exemption was NOT in the contract...



Apparently I wasn't the only one not aware... Many people whom I talk to are also not aware that the carpool exemption is not in the written contract...

Is there a published version of the contract that can be distributed? This info needs to be publicized.

-------------------------
Times to beat:
Horner Rd to/from Pentagon: 12 mins Without Slugs - 17 mins With slugs
Dale City exit to/from 3rd St Tunnel, D.C. 18 mins (No slugs - Holiday)


Posted By: Jody
Date Posted: 20 Jun 2011 at 11:43am
Years ago I asked for a copy of the contract and Fluor/Transurban/VDOT said the contract was not available because it was still being negotiated.

I asked if a provision existed that carpools would ride free for the length of the contract and received a marketing reply thanking me for my interest and to visit their website for latest updates.





Posted By: keelhauld
Date Posted: 14 Nov 2011 at 2:04pm
The link below should take you to a PDF transcript of testimony Shirley J. Ybarra gave to the House Committee on Government Reform, Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Natural Resources and Regulatory Affairs back in 2004. It paints a pretty good picture of her utopian views on public private partnerships in transportation. I'm not much for big government but I believe that transportation is one area where government should maintain complete control of capital assets and those assets should be democratically available i.e. they should be available for all to use equally not just those who can afford to pay. Great nations are built on great transportation networks that permit unfettered access to all with as few barriers as possible to the flow of traffic. Tolls are not democratic and they establish financial and physical barriers in our transportation system. If we continue to follow the model Ms. Ybarra discusses in her testimony we will soon find ourselves in a nation divided by its private infrastructure and the only commerce that will move effectively and efficiently will be commerce with adequate financial backing. That may sound farfetched on the surface but when you read some of the details of the 95 HOT Lanes contract I think you might agree that the idea is not as paranoid as it first sounds sounds.

http://www.ncppp.org/councilinstitutes/ybarra_testimony.pdf - www.ncppp.org/councilinstitutes/ybarra_testimony.pdf


Posted By: VABeachSluggo
Date Posted: 08 May 2012 at 3:29am
OK i see this topic and can give info on it from another perspective...I currently live in the Atlanta area, HOT Lanes are a way of life here now, ecspecially on GA Route 400/US 19 South from Sandy Springs into Buckhead/Atlanta, in my view heres how this works...i never use it but... a driver with less than 3 occupants can pay a toll of $3.00 to drive in the HOV lane, however 3+ occupants is still free, as far as i understand, at least here in Atlanta. Carpooling has actually incrased to somewhere like a 30% increase since the new HOT lane came into effect in August of last year....now mind that GA 400 through Buckhead was already a Toll Road, so you pay $2 to drive on GA 400 regardless and to use the HOT lane without any passengers in an extra dollar, a couple people i work with actually carpool in the HOT lane and just split the $3 everyday. Hope this gives a semi idea of how HOT lanes work somewhere.


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 18 Jul 2012 at 2:58pm
My last post on this thread was in 2009. Wow, how things have (not) changed.

I gave up on this Lost Cause some years ago because it was obvious that we had lost. We are still losing.

The Randian forces of privatization continue to dominate discussion of government services. Things that you and I rely on to make our country great - from roads and schools, to clean air and water, to parks and beaches - are being handed over to corporations to "manage" on our behalf. Which means they get to wring a personal profit out of public resources. Nice deal if you can get it.

Giving our shared road, that our parents built and paid for (I'm talking I-395 here, in case you're wondering,)to an Australian company to own and manage for the next 70+ years, with guaranteed profits for them and laughably weak protections for you and me, is a right-wing concept that we have to find some way to stop.

But will we? Hell no. Because we are weak and they are strong. And they know it. I remember going to a Fluor/Transurban and VDOT presentation on this and all these fat motherf*ckers from Fluor tried to physically intimidate me and drag me off to a corner to "talk". At the time, we all knew it was over. They'd already won - they just didn't want sad wet Sponges to sob too loudly during their victory parade.


Posted By: Pele
Date Posted: 18 Jul 2012 at 9:36pm
quote:
Originally posted by SpongeBob

I remember going to a Fluor/Transurban and VDOT presentation on this and all these fat motherf*ckers from Fluor tried to physically intimidate me and drag me off to a corner to "talk".



Really?!

I would have liked to have been there... So long as the meeting was not held at a federal building or school.

-------------------------
Times to beat:
Horner Rd to/from Pentagon: 12 mins Without Slugs - 17 mins With slugs
Dale City exit to/from 3rd St Tunnel, D.C. 18 mins (No slugs - Holiday)


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 09 Aug 2012 at 12:08pm
Yeah, that was at one of their regular public forums. I've been to three, one at Potomac H.S., one at Woodbridge Jr, and this one, which I can't recall where it was held.

It was disheartening. Maybe I'm blocking the memory.


Posted By: Pele
Date Posted: 30 Sep 2012 at 8:29pm
quote:
Originally posted by SpongeBob

Yeah, that was at one of their regular public forums. I've been to three, one at Potomac H.S., one at Woodbridge Jr, and this one, which I can't recall where it was held.

It was disheartening. Maybe I'm blocking the memory.



The reason I say non federal or school building is that I have a CCW permit.

Can't carry a handgun at a school or federal building.


Maybe they set it up like that for that specific purpose in making sure the attendees are unarmed... Those of us that object to the HOT lanes can be assaulted in the parking lot.


Posted By: Materij
Date Posted: 12 Jun 2013 at 3:19am
I think it's just names of one good thing. You can share your car, reducing your expenses as well as air pollution. It doesn't matter whether it's free at all or you compensate expenses partially.

http://greenautobook.com/


Posted By: popsx2
Date Posted: 12 Nov 2014 at 7:22am
These posts about HOT lanes on I-395 are old. Now that the HOT lanes are almost upon us, what are the latest thoughts about the impact on slugging?


Posted By: USA
Date Posted: 13 Nov 2014 at 12:09pm
I don't think anyone will really know what, if any, impact it will have until the lanes have been operating for a few months.

It'll be interesting to see whether slug riders have any success at getting rides outside the current HOV hours. That is, the reversible lanes between the Pentagon and the Turkeycock ramps just south of Duke Street will operate just as they do today, requiring HOV-3 from 3:30 to 6:00 and then open to all traffic after 6:00. South of there, however, the HO/T operation will be in effect 24/7 except while the lanes are closed to reverse the direction. So even after 6:00, it will be in some drivers' best interest to pick up slugs to obtain the toll-free ride, as I think it's reasonable to assume many SOVs who use the reversible lanes after 6:00 PM today will no longer do so such that there will be a real benefit to using the reversible lanes between, say, 6:00 and 7:30 or so. (I wonder how much of a difference that would have made last night. Traffic was horrible.)

Obviously, that's the sort of thing that takes time, and it relies on fragile trust from (a) the riders that drivers will swing by the lines after 6:00 and (b) the drivers that it'll be worth swinging by the lines because there will be riders there.


Posted By: mpatoka
Date Posted: 13 Nov 2014 at 1:29pm
I think it's going to change the slugging dynamic that will take some time to adjust itself, as USA mentioned. What it should do is eliminate the pre-6am and pre-3:30pm bottlenecks that happen when all the SOVs try to get on before the HOV rules kick in or the post-9am and post-6pm rush when SOV cars will sit and wait on the ramps for the HOV rules to end.

If those early and late drivers now decide to pick up slugs it should also shorten the early slug lines since those slugs that show up early, before the HOV hours kick in, should now be getting rides instead of having to wait for the HOV window to open.

It could also open up a few more carpool opportunities for those that travel from Stafford to Woodbridge now that there are additional HOT access points.


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Date Posted: 13 Dec 2014 at 1:00am
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Posted By: NoSUV
Date Posted: 22 Dec 2014 at 11:27am
mpatoka, You might not be familiar with the history of the limited access lanes. When the lanes went HOV, that was a significant change, but even greater was when the Commonwealth allowed a hybrid exemption to meet HOV requirements during peak commuting hours. The result was hybrids everywhere, as many people were willing to pay the premium for a hybrid then to pick up slugs.

If people were willing to pay $15K more for a car, don't you think they would be willing to pay $5-10/day to not pick up slugs? Remember, the propaganda for the toll lanes is about time savings, and time is NOT saved picking up slugs.


Posted By: eao
Date Posted: 23 Dec 2014 at 10:08am
I was at Giant a few weeks ago; there was someone who was buying an Ez-Pass. He was asked if he wanted a regular or flex. He didn't know the difference so it was explained to him. His response was 'a regular one, I'm not picking anyone up I would rather pay the toll'. That does not bode well for the "express' concept of these lanes. I agree with NoSUV - if they are willing to pay the money for the exemption they are going to do it, which means the Express lanes will be slower than the main lanes. That happened last Friday, the traffic report on the radio advised taking the main lanes because they were moving faster. One can only hope people will eventually decide that they are not willing to pay to be stuck in traffic and ditch the Express lanes. Last night it was 30 minutes to get off the Express lanes and there was a back up getting on at 5:30 this morning. So far I haven't seen much improvement in the travel times. I am afraid this fact could hurt slugging.


Posted By: USA
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2015 at 10:16am
So, how did it go this morning? There was a big wreck in the local lanes in Newington that may have prompted some people to pay the toll, but I'm more curious about how many slug drivers had their E-ZPass Flex devices and were prepared for the new regime. WTOP was reporting on the first "regular" commute using the new rules ("regular" denoting that last week's traffic was still very light due to Christmas and New Year's), and the WTOP reporter was at the Horner Road lot interviewing a driver who was picking up slugs but who had no E-ZPass whatsoever, neither the standard device nor the Flex. It wasn't really clear why he didn't have a transponder.

I suspect there are a fair number of drivers who are in that same position who may receive a bill in the mail in a few weeks and who will then try to create an imaginary scandal despite the ample publicity saying you need an E-ZPass. The key is, if you don't have one, GO ONLINE THIS WEEK TO PAY THE TOLL because the fee is a lot less if you pay online before they mail you an invoice.

(I also recall several years ago some members of this forum talked real big about refusing to get E-ZPasses and then using the lanes anyway and refusing to pay the tolls. Dumb idea. WTOP also had a report about a woman whose license was revoked by the DMV. She refused to pay her toll bill, then refused to show up in court to contest it, so the court entered a default judgment against her. Then she refused to pay again. At that point, it's contempt of court. State law required the DMV to suspend her license. Stupid thing to do on her part.)


Posted By: Jody
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2015 at 3:16pm
Former slugger here. I'm glad I moved from the state and no longer have to deal with this issue. I am not convinced no matter what toll Fluor sets it will discourage drivers from accessing the HOT lanes. It will be interesting to see how much time is added to the riders commute in the morning and evening.


Posted By: DC2RV
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2015 at 3:28pm
I'm normally a rider, but I bought an EZ Pass flex back in November so I'd have it if I needed to drive (or felt like it). Picked up 3 slugs at Rolling Valley around 6:05 and cruised in. I noticed a few solo drivers, but they exited at the 495 or Edsal Rd off ramp.

While I'm opposed to the HOT concept, the extra lanes and new pavement are nice. I can imagine that later in the AM, merging onto the HOT lanes in the Springfield area could be a headache...


Posted By: SpongeBob
Date Posted: 05 Jan 2015 at 5:51pm
Hey USA, I resemble that remark! Talking big is what we sponges do, ya know. But I'm a law-abiding sponge with a Flex transponder linked directly to my main financial arteries.

No, I never said I'd go on there with malice aforethought, or dare them to do their worst. I do wonder how they are going to know, at night, how many people are in a car with tinted windows, or in a panel van, or whether the couple in that sedan has a wee sponge in a rear-facing carseat. So if you have a second rider, at least, you can probably set the Flex to HOV Only and cruise along, giving the big sponge finger to your Aussie overlord.

(And I am so over their brand of "football.")


Posted By: Ramblinman
Date Posted: 13 Jan 2016 at 1:18pm
I'm confused. If the drivers get paid by using HOT lanes, why do some ask for gas money donations?


Posted By: lstumpy
Date Posted: 18 Jan 2016 at 10:47pm
No one should be asking for gas donations.



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