From the Archives: Drivers pick up extra passengers to use freeway carpool lanes

Nov. 12, 1987: Solo car driver negotiates with bus passenger for a free speedy ride to downtown in t
Nov. 12, 1987: A car driver picks up passengers at an express bus stop on Barranca Avenue in West Covina so they can take advantage of a freeway carpool lane.
(Rick Meyer / Los Angeles Times)

In 1987, buses and cars with at least three occupants in the San Bernardino Freeway diamond lane were able to zip past traffic. Drivers short of passengers found a ready supply at nearby bus stops.

Bob Baker explained in a Nov. 13, 1987, Los Angeles Times article:

Darlene McCain and Ginger Klein were in trouble. They had less than an hour to get to work downtown from their homes in the eastern San Gabriel Valley and it was sure to take longer. The San Bernardino Freeway is molasses in the morning.

Normally the women take the freeway's diamond lane, which is reserved for buses and cars carrying three or more people. But today one of their carpool members was sick and the other had an appointment.

But McCain knew what to do. She stopped in Covina and drove up to a bus stop near the freeway, where commuters line up for a popular downtown-bound express bus.

“Anybody want a ride downtown?” Klein called from the passenger window. Soon a young man in a suit stepped forward and got into the back seat. It was a match made in heaven. He was going to save the $2.60 fare and McCain and Klein were going to be at their desks with time to spare. …

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