Q: What are METRO HOT (Express) Lanes?
A: METRO High-occupancy Toll (HOT) Express Lanes allow drivers without passengers Single-occupant Vehicles (SOVs) to use the High-occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane during non-peak hours – for a toll.
Q: Can carpools / motorcycles still ride for free?
A: Yes. The benefits of shared commuting remain the same. METRO HOT (Express) Lanes are designed to offer motorists another tool to add to their commute options. These vehicles should go through “HOV ONLY" lane at declaration points.
Q: Won’t SOVs slow HOV Lane speeds?
A: Traffic monitoring systems help METRO maintain traffic speeds to ensure optimal travel times for existing HOV Lane users, as well as those using the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes. The lane is closed to SOVs during peak traffic periods specific to each METRO HOT (Express) Lane corridor.
Q: Is a baby or a toddler considered an occupant for using the HOV Lane?
A: Yes, a baby or an infant is considered an occupant for meeting the HOV lane occupancy requirement.
Q: Why is METRO offering the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes program?
- Provides new options for commuters
- Increases safety and promotes quick response to accidents and issues in the lanes, thanks to additional camera monitoring
- Improves air quality by reducing traffic congestion
- Better utilizes existing HOV Lanes
- Offers increased enforcement of the HOV Lane system
- Revenue generated from tolls contributes to the operation, maintenance and enforcement costs of the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes
Q: How much will tolls be for METRO HOT (Express) Lanes?
A: Tolls are based on time of day and for each METRO HOT (Express) Lane. METRO publishes the toll rate for specific corridors prior to opening, and tolls will be
prominently displayed at the entrances of each corridor.
METRO actively monitors the lanes to ensure optimal travel times for existing HOV Lane users, as well those using the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes.
Q: Where do I access the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes?
A: Entrances and exits are the same as existing HOV Lane access and egress points.
Q: Can I use my EZ Tag on METRO’s HOT (Express) Lanes?
A: Yes. METRO HOT (Express) Lanes users will have a choice of using Harris County EZ TAG, TxDOT’s TxTAG, North Texas Toll Authority (NTTA) toll tag, Kansas Transit Authority (KTA) toll tag, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) toll tag, Dallas North Tollway (DNT) toll tag and pre-paid Banc Pass toll tags that are sold in stores.
Q: How do I pay my METRO HOT (Express) Lanes toll?
A: Clearly marked in each METRO HOT (Express) Lane are verification lanes
where drivers must declare whether they have passengers or not. At
declaration points, the lane will briefly become two lanes – all METRO
HOT (Express) Lanes users must declare single- occupant status by moving to the
lane marked “TOLL ONLY”. Vehicles driving through this lane will
automatically be charged the METRO HOT (Express) Lane toll even if they have
Q: If a SOV enters the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes
and the toll changes during the course of the trip, which toll will be
A: METRO HOT (Express) Lanes users are charged the toll listed when they enter the lane. If the toll price goes up or down during the course of the trip, the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes user is charged the price listed upon entering the lane.
Q: What if a SOV uses the METRO HOT (Express) Lane without a toll tag?
A: This is considered a toll tag violation. METRO will issue a fine of an $11 administrative fee, plus the outstanding toll to the registered owners of the violating vehicle for each toll violation incident. In lieu of administrative fees, customers have the option of calling the Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) and opening a toll tag account and pay only past due tolls. HCTRA, Customer Service
Q: What happens if a single-occupant vehicle drives in the HOV Lane verification lane?
A: A single driver using a HOV verification lane is considered a toll violation, and METRO Police will issue a violation notice. As an option to avoid automatically sending violators to court, METRO allows the violator to pay a $75 administrative fee rather than the maximum court fine of $250, as is done with an occupancy violation. HOV’s should always use the “HOV ONLY” lane. Vehicles using the “TOLL ONLY” lane will be charged a toll at all times.
Q: What happens if a single-occupant vehicle enters the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes when they are closed to single drivers?
A: A single driver’s usage of METRO HOT (Express) Lanes when designated for HOV use only is a HOV occupancy violation. METRO will issue a citation and require court appearance. The current fine assessed by the court is $170.
Q: Will METRO HOT (Express) Lanes users be refunded if there is an accident in the HOV Lane?
A: No. While you will not receive a refund if there is an accident in the HOV Lane, camera-monitoring systems are installed for faster response times to accidents and removal of obstructions.
Q: How will the money from the collected toll revenue be used?
A: Money collected from tolls contributes to the operation, maintenance and enforcement costs of the METRO HOT (Express) Lanes.