Programs

HOV 3 FAQ

  1. Why did the HOV requirement have to change from 2+ to 3+?

    In February 2013, CDOT's Transportation Commission passed a resolution stating that all CDOT High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Express Lanes would change from HOV 2+ to HOV 3+ on Jan. 1, 2017. HOV 3+ equals a driver and at least two passengers. The Denver Regional Council of Governments also approved this change on US 36 and I-25, the two corridors with HOV Express Lanes in operation or development.

    The change was necessary for two main reasons:
    1. To ensure trip reliability for those in the Express Lanes—especially reliable mass transit—well into the future as Colorado's population grows; and
    2. To help provide funding to offset the costs of adding transportation infrastructure, and ongoing operations and maintenance.
    Colorado's population is expected to increase 47 percent to 7.8 million residents by 2040. Colorado cannot build its way out of congestion. Express Lanes help to meet the needs of a growing population with no funding for increased capacity.

    Colorado's Express Lanes only achieve the goal of providing uncongested travel if most or all of the vehicles using them pay the market price. As the population continues to grow and funding continues to shrink, HOV 3+ helps guarantee uncongested travel in the Express Lanes.

    The move to HOV 3+ also ensures congestion relief and trip reliability for transit, carpoolers and drivers who choose to pay a toll well into the future as the population continues to grow. At the same time, additional riders in a carpool and transit users are reducing vehicle emissions and congestion.

  2. Where are the Express Lanes?

    CDOT's Express Lanes are located: US 36, from Table Mesa to I-25; I-25 from downtown Denver to US 36; I-25 North from US 36 to 120th, and I-70 Mountain, from Empire to Idaho Springs. Express Lanes are currently being constructed on North I-25 from 120th to Northwest Parkway/E-470; are planned for C-470 and I-25 North from Johnstown to Fort Collins; and with potential plans for Express Lanes on I-70 East, from I-25 to Chambers Road.

  3. Where is HOV 3+?

    HOV 3+ is currently on CDOT Express Lanes that offer HOV and toll options, on US 36 and all the I-25 Express Lanes: I-25 Central, North I-25 Express Lanes (from US 36 to 120th Avenue) and US 36 Express Lanes.

  4. Who counts as a passenger? Does my baby count as an additional passenger?

    Any additional human in the car counts as a passenger, so, yes, babies count.

  5. I'm pregnant. Do I count as one person or two?

    In the HOV world you count as one person. Once your baby is born, he or she will be considered an additional passenger.

  6. Where do I get my pass?

    All ExpressToll passes can be ordered online at www.expresstoll.com or you can call the ExpressToll Service Center at 303-537-3470. The customer service team can help you decide what pass is right for you.

  7. How much does a regular pass (sticker) cost?

    There is no charge for the ExpressToll sticker tag for your vehicle or motorcycle, but when you open an ExpressToll account, you are required to have a $35 prepaid balance. Your account can have more than one vehicle on it, too.

  8. How much does a Switchable HOV Transponder cost?

    If you are planning to carpool and use the HOV Express Lanes for free, you need a Switchable HOV Transponder. The switchable transponder is the only transponder that allows you to choose the carpool/HOV option and use the lanes for free. This transponder costs $15. When you open an ExpressToll account, you are required to have a $35 prepaid toll balance. It will automatically take out $15 for a transponder, leaving a $20 prepaid toll balance.

    HOV purists (people who carpool only) can get transponders after spring 2017 for free as long as they exclusively carpool, but if they use it in TOLL mode, their credit card will be charged the $15 cost of the transponder, the account balance for the tolls, as well as any tolls incurred.

  9. I want to use the Express Lanes for carpooling, toll and on toll roads. What pass should I get and what does it cost?

    The Switchable HOV Transponder allows drivers options to travel as a toll-paying driver or in free carpool mode (where available) as HOV3. The switchable transponder will cost $15 and if you do not already have an account, you will be required to set up one with ExpressToll with a $35 prepaid balance. After the purchase of your switchable transponder, your balance will then be $20 in your account to be used for tolls.

  10. Who is eligible to get Switchable HOV Transponder reimbursements?

    HOV purists, people who only use their transponders in HOV mode for six months, never use in toll, are eligible for reimbursements.

    Gift card rebates were mailed to HOV purists through Sept. 11, 2016, and accounts that became HOV purists after that date can proactively call ExpressToll in spring 2017 to get their reimbursement.

    Purists can get transponders after spring 2017 for free but if they use it in TOLL mode, their credit card or account will be charged for the transponder, the account balance for the tolls, as well as any tolls incurred.

  11. I'm an HOV purist. How will I receive my reimbursement and when?

    If you purchase a transponder before spring 2017, you will have to pay $15 for the transponder and have the remaining $20 balance in your ExpressToll account (after putting down the $35 deposit.)

    Gift card rebates were mailed to HOV purists through Sept. 11, 2016, and accounts that became HOV purists after that date can proactively call ExpressToll in spring 2017 to get their reimbursement.

    Purists can get transponders after spring 2017 for free but if they use it in TOLL mode, their credit card or account will be charged for the transponder, the account balance for the tolls, as well as any tolls incurred.

  12. I don't have a Switchable HOV Transponder yet, and I'm only planning to carpool. Can I get my switchable transponder for free?

    If you purchase a transponder before spring 2017, you will have to pay $15 for the transponder and have the remaining $20 balance in your ExpressToll account ( after putting down the $35 deposit.) Eligible purists who did not receive a reimbursement this Fall, can proactively call ExpressToll in spring 2017 to get their reimbursement.

    Purists can get transponders after spring 2017 for free but if they use it in TOLL mode, their credit card or account will be charged for the transponder, the account balance for the tolls, as well as any tolls incurred.

  13. I have a two-seater vehicle. Can I use the HOV 3 Express Lanes for free?

    No, in order to use the Express Lanes for free you have to have three or more people in your car. You also need to have a switchable HOV Transponder, and have it in the HOV mode to use the Express Lanes for free.

  14. Are there any incentives for carpoolers?

    Stay up to date on all the incentives by visiting CDOT's Express Lanes website.

  15. Are there any incentives for hybrid vehicles?

    Currently, Colorado has a limited list of hybrid vehicles that can use Express Lanes for free. The list is full, but you can get on the waiting list.

  16. I'm from out of state. How can I save on using the Express Lanes?

    If you are visiting Colorado, make sure you plan ahead and know if you are going to use the Express Lanes. If you are traveling by motorcycle, you don't need a pass to use CDOT's HOV Express Lanes for free.

    If you are travelling by car, you need a Switchable HOV transponder and an ExpressToll account, as well as three or more people in your vehicle to use CDOT's HOV Express Lanes for free.

    If you accidentally take the Express Lanes without a pass, you will be billed through a License Plate Toll. A bill will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle, and you will pay a toll rate plus administrative charges.

    If you are driving a rental car, the bill will be sent to the rental car company and you will likely incur charges based on that company's policy.

    To save money on tolls while in Colorado:
    • Set up an ExpressToll account and a pass – specifically ask for the Switchable HOV Transponder – this switchable pass lets you change between the non-paying HOV mode when you carpool and the toll-paying mode when you travel alone.

    • Any pass acquired through ExpressToll can be used on all Colorado Express Lanes highways but only the switchable one can be used for HOV.
  17. I'm renting a car. How can I save on using the Express Lanes?

    ExpressToll customers can add a rental car license plate number to their toll account. To ensure the tolls are properly billed to the account, a customer must add the vehicle to the account BEFORE driving on the toll road and include a start and end date for when the car will drive the road.

    Adding a rental plate to an ExpressToll account allows customers to pay the tolls only and avoid the additional administrative fees charged by rental car companies for driving in the Express Lanes. Rental vehicles not properly added to an account are billed through the rental car agency.

    All major rental car agencies register their vehicles with ExpressToll. The rental car agency will bill the tolls to the customer based on the terms written in the rental agreement. In addition, rental car agencies may apply additional administrative fees for toll road usage.

    Some rental car agencies equip their cars with a non-removeable ExpressToll transponder. If so, the customer is automatically opted-in to the rental agency's toll plan. Be sure to contact the rental car agency and ExpressToll directly BEFORE you go to travel.

  18. If I get a Switchable HOV Transponder and use it in toll mode, what happens?

    If you are an HOV purist and received transponder for free, using it in TOLL mode will result in credit card or charges to your account for the transponder, the account balance for the tolls and any tolls incurred. If you have already purchased your Switchable HOV Transponder, your prepaid account balance will be charged the toll.

  19. I always use HOV Express Lanes on US 36 and I-25, but I also use the I-70 Mountain Express Lane. Do I qualify for the Switchable HOV Transponder reimbursement?

    No; you are not an HOV "purist."

  20. I ride a motorcycle. Can I use the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes for free?

    Yes. You can use the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes for free. As of Oct. 15, 2016, motorcyclists no longer need a sticker pass to use the US 36 and I-25 Express Lanes for free. However, if you use the I-70 Mountain Express Lane or E-470 and Northwest Parkway toll roads, we recommend getting a sticker pass to save money on tolls. Find more information.

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