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Want to Drive the Carpool Lane Alone? OK, But It'll Cost You

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If you've ever stared longingly as cars whiz past you in the carpool lane, wishing you could join them but still not wanting to have to make small talk with a passenger, you may soon find that you have the best of both worlds -- but it won't be cheap. The OC Register reports that starting next year, two stretches of carpool lanes -- 14 miles on the I-10 between Alameda Street and the 605, and 11 miles on the I-110 between Adams Boulevard and the Artesia Transit Center -- will be converted into high-occupancy toll lanes, or HOT lanes, as part of a one-year pilot project.

The lanes will accommodate solo drivers who pay a toll, which will range in cost from $0.25 to $1.50 a mile, depending on how heavy traffic is. According to a statement put out by Metro and CalTrans, traffic conditions in HOT lanes will be monitored, and once speeds get below 45 mph, they will be closed to those driving alone. The lanes will still be free of charge for carpoolers.

To access HOT lanes, drivers will need to buy a transponder for $75, which will include prepaid toll fees of $50 and a transponder deposit of $25, refundable if and when the device is returned in good condition.