New FasTrak customers receive bonus good toward I-680 Express Lane toll


Bay Area drivers who want to avoid traffic backups on southbound Interstate Highway 680 will soon have a faster way to travel between Pleasanton and Milpitas.

Drivers who sign up for a FasTrak account starting today will receive a $10 toll credit to use on the new I-680 Express Lane set to open next month.

Only solo motorists will be required to pay the electronic toll; carpools, hybrid vehicles with a valid sticker, transit vehicles and motorcycles will continue to have free access to the high occupancy toll lane.

Express lanes already exist in Southern California in Orange and San Diego counties; the 14-mile express lane will be Northern California's first when it opens Monday, Sept. 20 along southbound I-680 between state highways 84 and 237.

Revenues from the southbound express lane will go toward transit service along the I-680 corridor and a future toll lane project on northbound lanes, according to the project's website.

A similar express lane corridor between Pleasanton and Livermore along Interstate Highway 580 is currently under study and could open as soon as 2011.

The existing I-680 southbound carpool lane was converted to the express lane, which incorporates overhead electronic signs that will display the toll assessed to drivers.

Toll costs will vary based on real-time traffic levels to ensure smoothly flowing traffic, meaning tolls will be higher during peak periods when the road is more congested.

"We're making it easier for people to decide to get FasTrak," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, who is also chair of the joint powers authority that will operate and administer the express lane.

To help reduce illegal entry, the express lane is separated from regular lanes by triple solid striping, except at the three designated entry and exit points.

"The express lane means that even if drivers don't use a bridge, they now have a good reason to get FasTrak in order to avoid congestion," said Union City Mayor Mark Green, who is chair of the Alameda County agency that will operate the new express lane.

"Clearly, now is the ideal time to get FasTrak," he said.

Drivers who open a new FasTrak account between today and Oct. 20 will receive a $10 credit good toward travel on the express lane. The credits cannot be used toward bridge tolls and will expire Nov. 20 if drivers do not travel on the express lane before that date.

Motorists can set up a new FasTrak account by calling 511 or visiting participating businesses, including Costco, Safeway and Walgreens stores.

Full details regarding the promotion can be found at


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Posted by spcwt
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:09 am

Everyone knows the FasTrak transponder allows the government to track your movements via satellite, right?

“Beacons” (secretly installed on computers without your knowledge) allow the government to monitor your Google search queries, shopping habits, and other internet activity.

The government can access your personal information (e.g. Facebook, cell phone activity, etc.) without a warrant to find out who you associate with and other personal information.

Obviously, your credit card purchases reveal a lot about you.

Imagine a world where the government no longer serves the people but instead exists primarily to serve the interests of those in power.

Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of San Ramon
on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:39 am

Another step toward Jerry Brown government. Soon, of course, there will be toll highways, privately owned to be sure. When they are worn out and full of potholes Brown will forbid repairs because production of cement used in concrete develops carbon dioxide and asphalt is produced from petroleum.

Other things we can look forward:

-- Existing cars not meeting Brown's emission standards will be taxed and gasoline for them will be rationed. Odometers will be checked periodically to assess penalties for “excessive” driving.

-- A system will be put in place so that cars with even registration plates can drive only on even numbered dates and those with odd registration numbers on odd numbered dates. This will reduce Americans’ addiction to oil and comfortable living.

-- Larger cars and small trucks will be restricted to driving only a few miles per day; owners will be hassled as to the “need” for their driving.

-- “Smart” meters will be perfected so that the government will control consumers’ use of electrical energy. Power will be turned off when the government deems it necessary. Air conditioners will be turned off when weather is hot. Use of clothes driers will be prohibited.

-- Diamond lanes will be restructured. In the first place an additional diamond lane will be added on three or more lane highways. There will ba an annual registration fee charged for using either diamond lane. The outermost will cost, say $1000 per year and the next one $750/year. This will discourage driving by making it more difficult to drive (a policy introduced by Brown DOT chief appointee Adriana Gianturco) and will bring in more money to state coffers so that it can be spent on the “era of limits” projects Brown likes.

-- Road pavement and potholes on highways will not be repaired because use of concrete will not be permitted on grounds that manufacture of cement releases carbon dioxide.

-- Snow removal duties on highways such as Highway 80 will be taken away from Department of Transportation and entrusted to private minority owned firms. This will enable such firms to demand renegotiation of their contracts at the time of heavy snowfall and thus provide them with appropriate clout that they deserve.

-- All traffic will be monitored at all times and citations will be automatically sent to potential violators. Those citiations will be charged against the driver’s equity in the car and when it reaches the 20 percent value the car will be seized by the government and sold to finance Brown’s bizarre projects.

-- Toilet tanks will be monotored by the government which will allow flushing only when enough Brown waste accumulates.

Like this comment
Posted by psmacintosh
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2010 at 8:49 am

We should picket and protest this toll lane!!!

We weren't allowed to VOTE on this taking of our roadways.

It shouldn't be allowed. It should never have happened.

Gone our California's "freeways". Our taxes used to pay for necessary governmental provisions, such as roads.

Like this comment
Posted by Julia
a resident of Alamo
on Aug 4, 2010 at 9:55 am

What a shame...what has our government become???? I'm sure there will be a long list coming from all the loyal followers of the Danville Express.

A government for the people and of the people does not exist anymore.

This is very sad folks...but we only have ourselves to blame. We are so interested in our own little life, that we can not see the trees from the forest...and the low life government officials we vote in know and play to the hills.

We need to vote ALL the incumbent's OUT of office and start fresh. If we don't, all of us will live to regret it.

I believe the first three comments are pretty much correct, maybe a little overboard but not much.

Thanks for Listening, Julia from Alamo

Like this comment
Posted by Duffy
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2010 at 11:08 am

Unless I am mistaken the 680 "freeway" was paid for with the public's tax dollars. Therefore is this not illegal seizure of the public's property by the government?

Like this comment
Posted by PE
a resident of Blackhawk
on Aug 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Wake up everybody! Even if you could afford the additional fees and taxes, one cannot buy or vote back your freedome of choice once things change because slowly your voice will be taken away too. Vote all the bums out now and follow through as concerned citizens with ending programs such as these now before it is too late! You are already paying through taxes your right to use any lane at any time on the highways.

Like this comment
Posted by Jenny
a resident of Danville
on Aug 4, 2010 at 1:36 pm

"Everyone knows the FasTrak transponder allows the government to track your movements via satellite, right?"

Seriously?! You carry a cell phone. Right? Same thing.

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of another community
on Aug 12, 2010 at 3:53 pm

You all do realize that this action is not a subtraction of a lane over the Sunol grade, rather allowing paid access to the already present HOV lane. If you carpool and use the HOV lane today, nothing will change for you when the Toll Lane goes online. If you are a solo commuter and want to use the slightly less trafficed HOV/Toll Lane, you can pay a fee. Those fees will be directed back into further road improvements (like hopefully a northbound HOV lane over the Sunol grade).

And to be honest, there really is no reason why you should be getting your knickers in a bunch. With all the other improvements being made to southbound 680 over the Sunol grade and into Milpitas, traffic flow in ALL lanes during the morning commute will usually be at full speed.

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