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495 Express Lanes Usage Update - April 2014

Apr 18, 2014

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During the March 2014 quarter, drivers in the Washington, D.C. Metro area were significantly impacted by winter weather.  More severe weather days required the closing of Federal government offices and area schools.

Traffic and Tolling
Average daily trips for the March 2014 quarter increased 36.3 percent compared to the prior corresponding quarter, March 2013.  There was an average of 37,969 workday trips for the March 2014 quarter – a 44.4 percent increase from 26,294 in the March 2013 quarter.

The average dynamic toll charged during the March quarter was $2.38 and 89 percent of toll-paying customers paid less than $5.00 per trip.

Traffic and Revenue Data (March Quarter 2014)

495 EXPRESS LANES DEC. 13 QUARTER MAR. 14 QUARTER
Average Daily Trips 30,417 28,637
Average Workday Trips 37,969 37,969

Note: There were two holidays during the March quarter (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Presidents’ Day)  

HOV Travel
High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV 3+) and exempt vehicles make up approximately 9 percent of customers.

Safety on the Express Lanes
The 495 Express Lanes Assist crews continue to patrol the Express Lanes to help travelers in case of an incident.  They also patrol the Express Lanes for debris to keep the Express Lanes safe and clean for customers.  Express Assist aided approximately 97 travelers in disabled vehicles during the March 2014 quarter.  Since the Express Lanes opened, Express Assist has aided approximately 622 travelers. 

The operations teams for both the Express Lanes facility and on-road activities continued their focus on safety with 50,846 hours in the March 2014 quarter with zero lost-time work hours.  Since opening in November 2012, the team has achieved 295,695 hours with zero lost-time work hours.

E-ZPass® Update
While the vast majority of customers travel on the Express Lanes with a valid E-ZPass properly mounted in their vehicle, there are some drivers using the lanes without an E-ZPass – or using an E-ZPass incorrectly – and there are consequences for not following the rules of the road.  

Using E-ZPass is the best way to travel on the 495 Express Lanes – traveling on the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass can result in invoices and escalating fees.  To ensure a smooth trip on the Express Lanes, it’s important that customers make sure to properly mount their E-ZPass transponders, ensure their account is in good standing and confirm that their license plate is properly linked to their E-ZPass account.  We recommend drivers set up their accounts with auto replenishment to ensure they have sufficient account funds at all times.

Travelers with questions about E-ZPass should contact the E-ZPass agency that manages their account.  Travelers can learn more about E-ZPass on the 495 Express Lanes website.  Or, they may view additional information about the Express Lanes enforcement process.  Travelers who take the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass can pay their toll and a small fee within five days of travel, at 495ExpressLanes.com/missedatoll.  

Customer Care and Feedback
The Express Lanes Team continues to receive feedback from customers on social media channels, through emails and calls to the customer service center.  The feedback varies, but comments have included, “That $10.50 made an hour long commute become a ½ hour quick painless 65mph ride [on the] @495ExpressLanes” and “Thank God for [the] @495ExpressLanes this morning! Inner loop a mess #vatraffic.”

495 Express Lanes Customer Care
Travelers have made use of the 495 Express Lanes Customer Service Center via email, chat or by phone.  In the December quarter, customers contacted the customer service center about several topics, including:

  • E-ZPass questions
  • Questions about using the Express Lanes
  • Missed a toll inquiries
  • Payment of toll invoices

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