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Readers React: Carpool lanes are for carpoolers, period — not solo toll-paying or clean-car drivers

Commuters clog the regular and express lanes during rush hour on the 110 Freeway in Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I appreciate the article, “Commuters who drive alone in zero-emission cars will no longer get free trips in L.A.'s toll lanes.” Of course emission reduction is a big priority, but what about reducing the number of vehicles?

The original intent of carpool lanes was to encourage ridesharing, carpooling and the use of public transportation. Giving ride-sharers access to a “special” lane was a reward for getting one more car off the road.

Now, with Caltrans allowing solitary drivers to use carpool lanes at no cost, those lanes are saturated during rush hour. It’s good that single drivers will have to start paying to use toll lanes.

We should go back to restricting carpool lanes to those sharing their cars with passengers (and buses, of course). We are already seeing more and more zero-emission vehicles being built, so rewarding solitary drivers is not sustainable.

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Greg Golden, Van Nuys

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To the editor: Carpool lanes are a joke.

As someone who drives various freeways frequently, the number of single drivers not in a zero-emission car continues to increase. Why? Because it is virtually impossible for police to get these drivers out of the lanes. I’ve seen Highway Patrol vehicles pass right by these drivers.

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What’s the answer? Southern California should do what other metro areas and states already do and allow all drivers to use carpool lanes during specified times of non-peak traffic — say, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day.

Anais Ruiz, Northridge

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To the editor: Public freeways are a public trust. Carpool lanes make sense only if they pull cars off the road.

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Tolls are about making revenue from roads the public has already paid for and about favoring the wealthy at public expense.

I bought an electric car to reduce emissions and to help the environment for all Californians, and I appreciate having been able to use the carpool lanes as a reward. I can live with the government going back on its promise for the public good, but not to enable a Mercedes to zoom by my Chevy on a road I helped pay for.

Steve Sewell, Brea

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