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OPINION
March 10, 2013
Re "FasTrak computer may not be so swift," Column, March 5 Modern digital systems and their associated sensors can be troublesome occasionally. The automated toll collector FasTrak is such a system. I have been a FasTrak user since it was initiated on the 91 Express Lane between Orange and Riverside counties. After I bought a new car, I started getting violation notices. I called the Orange County Transportation Authority to resolve the problem, which turned out to be the result of an old transponder, the sensors on my car and the placement of the transponder in my car. The violations were removed from my record, I paid no fines and I've sorted out the transponder placement.
ARTICLES BY DATE
BUSINESS
March 6, 2014 | David Lazarus
How much should public entities spend trying to collect a charge that runs only a few cents? Lawmakers might want to sit up and take note. Maybe, just maybe, it would make sense to waive charges any time collection of cash costs more than the amount of cash being collected. Bruce and Pat West were driving recently on the 110 Freeway near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They merged into the express lane, for which they didn't have a FasTrak transponder in their car to pay the requisite toll.
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BUSINESS
March 5, 2013 | David Lazarus
If you want to dance, you've got to pay the piper. And if you want to zip along the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, you have to pay a toll of as much as $9.55 per trip. James Kritikson, 72, of La Verne never paid the toll, so he received a notice in the mail saying he had to cough up the unpaid fee, plus a penalty of $25. If he didn't come clean by March 28, the penalty would jump to $100. There was just one problem: On the date - Jan. 25 - and at the time - 10:16 p.m. - that the notice said Kritikson was sneering at the 91 Express Lanes' toll system, he was in fact home with his wife watching TV, and his car was in the garage.
OPINION
April 27, 2013
Re "405 stuck in slow lane," April 25 The Times was kind enough to print a letter I wrote nearly six years ago, on June 23, 2007, on the 405 Freeway widening project. I will take the opportunity to say "I told you so. " To recap, I wrote: "Everybody will lose with this freeway expansion, because 10 minutes after it opens, the 405 Freeway will look exactly like it does today, only wider. "People will have suffered through the construction mess, traffic congestion and inconvenience, some losing their homes, all to give Caltrans more to do and a bunch of contractors cost overruns that we will be paying for as we sit in the bumper-to-bumper traffic a week after the expanded carpool lane opens.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2013 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County's venture into toll roads advanced early Saturday with the opening of 14 miles of express lanes on the San Bernardino Freeway - the second project of its type to begin operation in the region since November. At 12:01 a.m., the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority allowed drivers to travel the 10 Freeway's new high occupancy toll lanes - so-called HOT lanes - between Interstate 605 in El Monte and Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles. "This shows we are willing to address traffic, gridlock and congestion in the region," said Los Angeles Mayor and MTA board member Antonio Villaraigosa at a dedication ceremony in El Monte on Friday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 2012 | By Mike Reicher, Los Angeles Times
Operators of Orange County's toll road network are planning to eliminate cash payments and toll booth jobs as they try to squeeze more out of their financially strapped pay-to-drive highways. Drivers who use the route 73, 261, 241 and 133 toll roads will need to have payment accounts linked to their transponders or their license plates in order to use the corridors. Cash payments will be phased out over the next 16 months. The FasTrak transponders or the license-plate accounts electronically deduct money from a driver's credit line.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2013 | By Maria L. La Ganga
SAN FRANCISCO -- Keep your wallet in your pocket. At least when you're crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into the City That Knows How. Starting Wednesday morning, the humans will be gone from the iconic structure's toll booths, the windows will be covered and all-electronic tolling will go live. Regular bridge crossers are advised to open a FasTrak account, which can be done online at www.bayareafastrak.org . Motorists using the system's dashboard transponders get discounted toll rates ($5 instead of the usual $6)
BUSINESS
March 6, 2014 | David Lazarus
How much should public entities spend trying to collect a charge that runs only a few cents? Lawmakers might want to sit up and take note. Maybe, just maybe, it would make sense to waive charges any time collection of cash costs more than the amount of cash being collected. Bruce and Pat West were driving recently on the 110 Freeway near the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. They merged into the express lane, for which they didn't have a FasTrak transponder in their car to pay the requisite toll.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2013 | By Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
When Los Angeles County's inaugural toll lanes opened on the 110 Freeway late last year, Scott Sternad decided he could do without. "Nearly $1,000 a year?" said the 24-year-old engineering student, who commutes from Hermosa Beach to USC three times a week. "That's a lot of dinners and drinks. " But remaining in the free lanes has cost Sternad time. His commute now takes 15 minutes longer than it did before the carpool lanes were reconfigured, he says. That's not what was supposed to happen.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 1999
Re Dec. 22 letters: I love the 91 Express Lanes! I work in Carson and live in Corona; my hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. I don't use the toll road in the morning; it wouldn't do me any good. To get out of Corona I need to leave home by 5 a.m. at the latest. Coming home, however, the $3.20-$3.50 that I pay eastbound saves me anywhere from an hour to two hours and enormously reduces the stress and strain on my 30-year-old Lincoln Mark III, which has 222,000 miles on the original engine and drive train.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 9, 2013 | By Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
When Los Angeles County's inaugural toll lanes opened on the 110 Freeway late last year, Scott Sternad decided he could do without. "Nearly $1,000 a year?" said the 24-year-old engineering student, who commutes from Hermosa Beach to USC three times a week. "That's a lot of dinners and drinks. " But remaining in the free lanes has cost Sternad time. His commute now takes 15 minutes longer than it did before the carpool lanes were reconfigured, he says. That's not what was supposed to happen.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2013 | By Maria L. La Ganga
SAN FRANCISCO -- Keep your wallet in your pocket. At least when you're crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into the City That Knows How. Starting Wednesday morning, the humans will be gone from the iconic structure's toll booths, the windows will be covered and all-electronic tolling will go live. Regular bridge crossers are advised to open a FasTrak account, which can be done online at www.bayareafastrak.org . Motorists using the system's dashboard transponders get discounted toll rates ($5 instead of the usual $6)
OPINION
March 10, 2013
Re "FasTrak computer may not be so swift," Column, March 5 Modern digital systems and their associated sensors can be troublesome occasionally. The automated toll collector FasTrak is such a system. I have been a FasTrak user since it was initiated on the 91 Express Lane between Orange and Riverside counties. After I bought a new car, I started getting violation notices. I called the Orange County Transportation Authority to resolve the problem, which turned out to be the result of an old transponder, the sensors on my car and the placement of the transponder in my car. The violations were removed from my record, I paid no fines and I've sorted out the transponder placement.
BUSINESS
March 5, 2013 | David Lazarus
If you want to dance, you've got to pay the piper. And if you want to zip along the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, you have to pay a toll of as much as $9.55 per trip. James Kritikson, 72, of La Verne never paid the toll, so he received a notice in the mail saying he had to cough up the unpaid fee, plus a penalty of $25. If he didn't come clean by March 28, the penalty would jump to $100. There was just one problem: On the date - Jan. 25 - and at the time - 10:16 p.m. - that the notice said Kritikson was sneering at the 91 Express Lanes' toll system, he was in fact home with his wife watching TV, and his car was in the garage.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2013 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles County's venture into toll roads advanced early Saturday with the opening of 14 miles of express lanes on the San Bernardino Freeway - the second project of its type to begin operation in the region since November. At 12:01 a.m., the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority allowed drivers to travel the 10 Freeway's new high occupancy toll lanes - so-called HOT lanes - between Interstate 605 in El Monte and Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles. "This shows we are willing to address traffic, gridlock and congestion in the region," said Los Angeles Mayor and MTA board member Antonio Villaraigosa at a dedication ceremony in El Monte on Friday.
OPINION
July 4, 2012
Re "O.C. tollways to stop taking cash," July 1 So let me make sure I understand. If you have a product for which you are losing customers, and you want to increase revenue, you should raise prices and make it less convenient to use? That appears to be the strategy of the Transportation Corridor Agencies as it raises prices 5% to 10% and eliminates the use of cash on the tollways, requiring all users to have a FasTrak or other account. Who is the business strategy genius they're getting their advice from?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 29, 2001
Re "Toll Transponder Thefts: a Mess of Happy Meals," July 23: So now our FasTrak transponders, promoted as a needed convenience for drivers who pay to drive to work every day, should be treated as credit cards and kept out of sight when the car is parked. The Transportation Corridor Agencies folks cut a deal with McDonald's. Therefore, I now have to worry about playing hide-the-transponder to prevent theft from illicit hamburger-buyers. In our overloaded and "over-convenienced" lives, do we really need to add another item to our daily lists of things to think about?
NEWS
May 12, 2002
Re "When the Growing Gets Tough," commentary, April 28 Orange County residents haven't uniformly rejected public transportation, including buses and rail. Nobody likes paying tolls, but the toll roads were built because the state claimed it didn't have the funds to build them as freeways. The consolidation of the two Transportation Corridor Agencies boards is a sensible way to cut red tape and make the toll road system financially viable. We need a healthy toll-road system as a part of our ground transportation solution.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 2012 | By Mike Reicher, Los Angeles Times
Operators of Orange County's toll road network are planning to eliminate cash payments and toll booth jobs as they try to squeeze more out of their financially strapped pay-to-drive highways. Drivers who use the route 73, 261, 241 and 133 toll roads will need to have payment accounts linked to their transponders or their license plates in order to use the corridors. Cash payments will be phased out over the next 16 months. The FasTrak transponders or the license-plate accounts electronically deduct money from a driver's credit line.
AUTOS
May 29, 2002 | JEANNE WRIGHT, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Question: I read your article on tollway cheaters ("Cracking Down on Repeat Tollway Violators," Highway 1, May 15), and I would like to point out that there is a flip side to this issue. Last summer I received three notices of tollway violations for the 91 Freeway's FasTrak lanes--all stating that my car was there about 5:30 a.m. The problem is I have never driven in these lanes.
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