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Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership
Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County
News Release
Thursday, January 12, 2012


METRO and the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) are entering an agreement that will give drivers a chance to conveniently pay for a faster commute using a multi-use electronic tag to ride one of the largest High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) systems in the nation. 

The 83-mile METRO operated HOV network will soon include High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes with IH-45 Gulf Freeway the first to undergo the transformation. It’s slated to open early 2012. The other corridors to follow are: US 59 South, IH-45 North, US 290 and US-59 North.

METRO HOT Lanes will allow Single Occupant Vehicles (SOV), or solo drivers to use the HOV lanes for a toll. The price of the tolls, ranging from $1 to $4.50, will be based on the time of day and level of congestion, and will be posted in advance of the entrance ramps. 

To avoid bottlenecks at the entrance ramps, tolls will be paid using a universal tag which can be used by other tolling agencies. By partnering with HCTRA, drivers with an EZ tag, or those who purchase a METRO Toll Tag, will also be able to use the HOT Lanes, HCTRA-operated toll roads and those of its regional tolling partners (North Texas Tollway Authority and the Texas Department of Transportation), and vice versa – no second tag needed. 

The METRO Toll Tags go on sale late January and will be available for purchase at METRO’s RideStore at 1001 Travis or at  

For those who ride METRO, vanpool or carpool, your trip will remain the same – free of charge. METRO will monitor the flow of the HOT Lanes to ensure traffic flows smoothly and does not dip below 50 mph.   

The HOT Lane corridors will have a camera-monitoring system. This safety feature will alert MPD or other emergency units of any incidents within in the lanes and allow for faster response time to the scene. The lanes will also include an automated gate and control system, replacing the existing manual gates - a great tool should emergency vehicles need immediate access to the lanes. For more on METRO’s HOT Lanes project, click here.

Dannenbaum Engineering BayTran
Remembering Jim Guidry

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