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12,297 Tickets Are Being Sent Out Because Of Those New Toll Lanes

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We've told you that if you want to ride in the new toll lanes on the 110 Freeway just south of downtown, you need to buy a transponder. But (unshockingly) not everyone has gotten the memo.

Since the new lanes opened up on November 10, Metro has sent out 12,297 tickets to drivers who were caught taking new toll lanes without using a transponder, according to Zev Yaroslavsky's website (h/t Curbed LA).

CHP Sergeant Terry Liu said, "A lot of [drivers] don't understand that every vehicle has to have a transponder regardless of whether or not you satisfy the car pool requirement. We are seeing people crossing over the double white lines, and then, when we pull them over, we notice they have no transponder."

For now, Metro is only charging drivers for whatever it would have cost them to pay the toll if they were solo drivers. Those 12,297 tickets will cost drivers $18,358, so it averages to about $1.50 a ticket. Along with a ticket, they're sending an application to get a transponder (here's more information about how much it costs).

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Stephanie Wiggins, the project manager for Metro, said, "If they apply, they can get a waiver of the penalty. We want good customers, good transactions. It's partly a marketing tool."

But fines will start when the lanes hit the one month mark. Carpoolers or motorcycles —who are allowed to use the lane for free—will have to cough up $25 for not having a transponder. Single-occupant cars who don't use a transponder will have to pay up to $154. Single-occupant cars who own a transponder and try to game the system by claiming they're carpooling could face more than $401 in penalties.

So far the toll lanes are staying pretty fast. The goal was to keep them flowing at more than 45 mph, and they've exceeded that at 63 mph in the northbound lanes and 58 mph in the southbound lanes. Unfortunately, traffic on the rest of the freeway has gotten more congested. Metro says motorists have been slowing down as they try to figure out the new program.

What You Need To Know About L.A.'s First Toll Lanes Opening This Weekend