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Cornelius News

Bumps ahead: Process to use HOV lanes requires planning or transponder

Oct. 15. By Dave Vieser. Even in a pandemic, the toll lanes which continue to haunt Lake Norman area politicians, also haunt local motorists.

For example, motorists with three passengers or more traveling from Cornelius to Charlotte and seeking to use the toll lanes for free must navigate a rather difficult process while being clairvoyant. According to I-77 Mobility Partners: “All High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV3+) with at least three occupants are entitled to use the express lanes for free.”

Sounds good, but there’s a catch. Unless you buy something called a flex transponder, which costs $16.49, you must notify NC Quick Pass 15 minutes before you intend to use the HOV lanes to get the discount.

Considering that the use of toll lanes is often a last minute decision—congestion in the general purpose lanes is unpredictable—this sounds like a real Catch 22.

We contacted I-77 Mobility Partners to be sure we were correct about that 15 minute notification.

“The 15-minutes prior notification that you mention occurs if a driver is declaring HOV3+ status through the NC Quick Pass app,” said spokeswoman Jean Leier. “If a driver has the Flex transponder, they just slide the switch to HOV3+ before entering the express lanes.”

Local officials expressed concern over the process established by I-77 Mobility Partners.


“It’s one of the many reasons why I don’t support having a private for-profit company in control of our major highway,” said NC Sen. Natasha Marcus. “They do what they can to make a profit and we are at their mercy.”

Any chance this somewhat convoluted procedure could change? Don’t bet the Rambler, especially with toll revenues bottoming out this year thanks to COVID-19.



4 Responses to “Bumps ahead: Process to use HOV lanes requires planning or transponder”

  1. One can register your vehicle for 3 or more passengers first thing in the morning if you even suspect you might use the HOV lanes with the Flex Pass; in other words, it isn’t just 15 minutes before. In addition, just because you register your vehicle for the HOV lane, doesn’t mean you have to. Hope that helps. And it is easy with their app to sign up for the HOV lane.

    Posted by Dora Dalmas | October 15, 2020, 12:59 pm
  2. This is, without a doubt, the most hair brain, ridiculous, idiotic way to handle express lanes, and, for that matter, traffic flow, than I have ever seen in all my travels. This is a travesty to our citizens and travelers. This is EXACTLY why I will never use these lanes.

    Posted by Deborah Coppa | October 15, 2020, 2:13 pm
  3. Speeding tickets only in Toll Lanes. Those that can afford pay tolls can also get caught for speeding. State troopers and police only set up mainly in the fast lanes because of the traffic and no where for them to catch speeders.

    Posted by Heath | October 15, 2020, 7:50 pm
  4. You can thank John Bradford, Thom Tillis, Chuck Travis, Lynette Rinker, Pat McCrory, and Vi Lyles for bringing these dangerous and costly toll lanes to Charlotte.

    Posted by Mariel Carr | October 16, 2020, 10:40 am

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