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680 Toll Lane Frustrations

Original post made by John F. on Jun 4, 2012

I've been wanting to write something about this for a long time--so here it goes:

I *love* the toll lane on Highway 680. However, I have a giant pet peeve that is driving me bonkers, and I just don't get it. Here's the deal---Why do people get into the toll lane, and then either drive under the speed limit OR they do not pass anybody in the other lanes??? After all, the purpose of the toll lane is so that you can get to your destination quicker.

I see this all the time---some idiot gets into the toll lane and then just put-puts along while traffic in the regular lanes is passing THEM by. I try to imagine what could possibly be going through the driver's mind.....what on earth are they thinking?? "I think I'll get into this nice toll lane and then drive slowly and upset everyone behind me".

So that's my rant. I hope if you are "one of those" that does this, please rethink your decision next time!

Comments (37)

Posted by Cheryl, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 4, 2012 at 9:01 am

I confess I was one of those put-putting along, going the speed limit in the toll lane. And I appreciate how those behind me wanted to break the law by speeding. (Doesn't this make you all illegals just like illegal aliens? Just asking.) But to get back to my tale. That morning while I was going the speed limit I was thinking about my mother dying of cancer. Sorry. I should have been more sensitive to the needs of those behind me who were chomping on the bit to break the law.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2012 at 9:54 am

John F - Boo-hoo, cry me a freak'in river. Your stupid Express Lane has caused congestion on Hwy 84/i680 interchange where none existed before. There is now congestion on Pleasanton city streets that are backed up because of your stupid Express Lane metering lights. The Express Lane added significant bonds to California's already huge 360 billion dollar debt obligation. The north bound i680 carpool lane is now 10 years behind schedule thanks to your Express Lane. The Express Lane made it more difficult to carpool to work due to the lack of exits.

And your complaining about having to spend a couple of extra minutes in the Express Lane because people actually drive the speed limit? Maybe Alameda County Transportation can assign you a flashing light and siren so we can all pull over to allow you free access to your precious Express Lane. Then you can break the sound barrier going to wherever you need to be in such a hurry.

Posted by John F. , a resident of Avila
on Jun 4, 2012 at 11:38 am

Hah hah hah!! You two are hilarious. You're also a glittering jewel of colossal ignorance. Now get out of the $-/) lane and let us get to work. If you're not going to pass, then you have no business being in there. Come to think of it, you have no business having a drivers license. And to the first boo hoo hoo'er, we've all got problems in life lady. Don't make us all suffer because of your personal woes. Geez.

Posted by Drexl, a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

Carpools are to keep the traffic going, anyone in there going same speed as regular lanes need to get out; I don't care if you are going the speed limit; we have highway patrol for that. Actually, when I have a little more time later, I will look up the dmv code, but, you can get a ticket for slowing down traffic in the left lanes.

Posted by Drexl, a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm

As I said...mover over to the right.

V C Section 21654 Slow Moving Vehicles
Slow-Moving Vehicles
21654. (a) Notwithstanding the prima facie speed limits, any vehicle proceeding upon a highway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time shall be driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction or when preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway.
(b) If a vehicle is being driven at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at such time, and is not being driven in the right-hand lane for traffic or as close as practicable to the right-hand edge or curb, it shall constitute prima facie evidence that the driver is operating the vehicle in violation of subdivision (a) of this section.

(c) The Department of Transportation, with respect to state highways, and local authorities, with respect to highways under their jurisdiction, may place and maintain upon highways official signs directing slow-moving traffic to use the right-hand traffic lane except when overtaking and passing another vehicle or preparing for a left turn.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm

What is colossal ignorance is the money that wasted on the Express Lane on i680 and the flyover rebuild of Hwy 262 (Mission Blvd) to 880 connector.

Express Lane because it discourages carpooling and added congestion where none existed before.

The 262 flyover because nothing changed. The stated reason for rebuilding this connector was to add the HOV lanes. Problem is that in order to make the HOV lanes effective, you have to turn on the metering lights. CalTrans will not do this because the back-up onto Mission Blvd and i680 would be horrendous.

Total price tag for these money wasting do-nothing construction projects is 450 million dollars. And get this...Scott Haggerty admits that they made a huge mistake on the Hwy 84/ i680 interchange...but....there is no money to fix it! Now Alameda County Transportation commission wants the voters to approve a perpetual tax so they can fix the mistakes they have made on these two idiotic projects.

By the way John F - I do not drive in the Express Lane. Why should I, the traffic in the normal lanes is moving faster, as you mentioned in your comments. Don't blame me because you are running 5 seconds late.

Posted by Drexl, a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Irrelevent facts about the cost or need of the express lane, period. The point is, there are people in carpool/express lanes driving at same speed and slower than in regular lanes. Which is absurd, and they should get ticketed for. I do not care if you are a carpool with seven driving age adults; if regular traffic is same speed as you, get out of the carpool lane. Hell, sometimes I drive slow too, and even though I "can" drive in carpool, I do not. Anyone that slows people down in carpool lane, are the most oblivious people or most inconsiderate. You pick which one you are.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Drexl-what is stupid is your comments about the motor vehicle code which has no relevance to the Express Toll Lane. You are not allowed to move over into the normal lanes once you enter the Express Lane. Maybe the two solid lines would give a clue? How did you pass your driver's license exam?

The speed driven on the Express Lane follows state law, in this case the speed on i680 is between 45mph and 65mph (minimum, maximum). If you feel that someone is driving too slow to suit you, tough beans. Take this issue up with the Alameda County Transportation commission and the Bay Area MTC. They are the ones that made the rules.

Posted by Drexl, a resident of Ironwood
on Jun 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Bill, I know you are frustrated that you pay money for express lane and people are passing you on the right, next time, save the money, and stay out of there. While you at it, stick on the far right lane or take city roads where you are more comfortable. I just saved you a few bucks! You are welcome.

Posted by Arroyo, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 5, 2012 at 11:58 pm

I would like to comment on dumb drivers who clog up commuter lanes, along with dumb engineers at Cal-Trans, but it would take too long. Truly, a target rich environment....!!

And, Cal-Trans REFUSES to put the message "Slower Traffic Move Right" on the message boards -- probably because it might offend some Prius drivers doing 55 in the far left lane.

Posted by Joe, a resident of Siena
on Jun 6, 2012 at 7:00 am

Arroyo: Love the Prius comment! They are the WORST drivers---the absolute worst. They are usually clogging up traffic, and when you finally get a chance to pass them, you glance over and they have a big old grin on their face (because they're probably thinking to themselves, "I'm saving the planet right now". Hah hah!). Even worse are the Prius drivers with a certain political bumper sticker that talks about hope and change.

Posted by Harry Ankeles, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jun 6, 2012 at 7:53 am

Anybody who owns a Prius is stupid. Really stupid. I drive my Hummer fast and in the left lane. Get out of my way you stupid liberal clowns!

Posted by Ben Johansen, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 6, 2012 at 9:09 am

It's called Social Engineering...and we have only ourselves to blame for allowing it to happen. Isn't it funny that only a select few get to use carpool lanes, but in any other form of society, people would not allow a select few to engage in an activity without making possible for everyone?

Posted by Chris, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 6, 2012 at 10:11 am

Slow traffic => stay right.
i680 toll lane => waste of money because all it did was push the congestion north to Pleasanton and Sunol. If they want to make money in order to pay for road repairs fine. Just do what cities like Chicago do => all lanes pay a small toll.
Cal trans => stupid because they repeated their mistake by creating a toll lane on 237 and will continue to do so on other (not) freeways. It now takes 45 minutes just to drive from Santa Clara to Milpitas during afternoon rush hour.

Posted by hyrbid owner, a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jun 6, 2012 at 12:55 pm

It seems many of you read an entirely different post than what I am seeing here. John F's original comment stated he was upset by people driving UNDER THE SPEED LIMIT. This is unsafe no matter what lane you are in and creates a traffic hazard. I don't see that he ever made a reference to wanting to exceed the speed limit, only to be able to attain the actual speed limit being impeded by those cruizing UNDER the limit.

No matter what your opinion is on the subject of HOV or any other subject, it might be wise to actually READ AND UNDERSTAND the actual text of the post before you pop-off with comments that insult or accuse someone for saying something they actually didn't. Makes YOU look like the idiot. Just my two cents. Now can we all just get along? :)~

Posted by Betsy W., a resident of Birdland
on Jun 6, 2012 at 1:06 pm

How odd, that in almost every other state, especially anywhere on the East Coast and particularly New England and the deep south, the "Left" or #1 lane is simply referred to as the "Passing Lane."

You speed up, pass slower traffic (and those who have obeyed the previously mentioned, V C Section 21654, Slow Moving Vehicles)and move yourself into the #2, #3, etc. lane.

Pretty simple huh?

But no, in the entitlement state of California every driver believes that he, she or shem is worthy of their 8th place participation award from 9th grade social & culture studies that they ought to be able to occupy any lane, drive any speed with no consequences whatsoever.

Or am I overstepping?

Posted by Mr Soccer, a resident of Fairlands Elementary School
on Jun 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm

People driving in the left lanes and having people pass them on the right is that not a BIG reminder that "They Are Not Were They Should Be"!? As a bike/motorcycle rider I see most of you are clueless. Now you add texting or talking on the phone and you have instant accident. Cali drivers are as bad as the roads they drive on. They all, or 95% suck!! Take some lessons or just do us all a favor and MOVE TO THE RIGHT!! That go's for your politics also.

Posted by Melanie, a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Jun 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Okay Cheryl THANK YOU we all needed you...the self appointed Speed Patrol save us from us. Just a huntch but do you work in goverment? Get out of other peoples lives...and if someone is driving wrecklessly just do what the Cal-Trans sign says and report it to 911.

Posted by Dan, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jun 6, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Those people going slow in the left lane are the same people who just voted for Pete Stark.

Posted by Prius Drivers are the Worst, a resident of Foothill High School
on Jun 6, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Prius drivers are the worst and the most selfish drivers in the world. They try to drive under 25 mph so their cars only use battery power and not gas. They are a road hazard because they drive so slow in the fast lane.

And the too lane...why didnt the paint the double line YELLOW? I see so many drivers in and out of that lane!

Posted by Cheryl, a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Jun 6, 2012 at 9:55 pm

Just a wreckless huntch, but I bet Melanie is a barefoot Tea Party member who relishes corndogs.

Posted by Alamedacountynative, a resident of Foothill Farms
on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

Cheryl, you can't put relish on a corndog. It just slides off.

Posted by Debbie, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 7, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have used the toll lane on occasion, doing 69-70 mph and had drivers on my tail for doing those speeds. I take it this is too slow for you? If you exceed the speed limits unsafely then you are as bad as those that drive less than the maximum posted limit. I suggest you leave point A sooner to give you more time to get to point B safely. We all have to travel the roads together and we all want to stay alive while we do it. I have commuted for over 30 years on 280, 101, 680, 580, Vasco Road and they all have their problems and congestion times. Take it in stride or your blood pressure will get the best of you. Drive safely! PS....I own Prius and get 50 mpg driving at 70 mph. Not ALL Prius owners are as states in earlier posts. You're just jealous you can't get that kind of has mileage in your car.

Posted by DeeeeShaaaawn, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2012 at 10:30 am

You just knew that the toll lane, which was conceived by left wing loons, would be clogged by left wing loons daydreaming about whatever looniness they dream about.

Cheryl, you are a sadistic idiot (and probably a left wing loon). You probably delight in paying the toll just so you can putt (er, putz) along knowing that you are hacking people off that have a job and need to get to work.

Damn, it's just amazing how many loons there are in the Bay Area. It's enough to make one revive the Whack-A-Mole arcade game and retitle it Whack-A-Loon. It would really be good stress relief after you have spent an hour commuting behind jackasses putzing along in the fast land.

Posted by eldee, a resident of Castlewood Heights
on Jun 7, 2012 at 11:34 am

All of you are colossal bozo's. Your comments are funnier than middle school children's taunts- R2-Rnot-R2 ad nauseum!!!!!!!

Posted by Vanessa, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm

To the original poster, I feel your pain. That was my commute and it was seriously the most annoying thing to have idiots who know darn well they are going to go slower than the traffic enter the express lane and clog it up with a long line of pissed off drivers behind them. Better yet are the huge carpool buses who are even WORSE. They know darn well once they start going up the Sunol Grade they'll be doing 45 MPH max and yet there they go, right into the Express lane with yet another long line of pissed off drivers behind them. The entitlement is beyond insane.

95% of Prius and other hybrid drivers piss me off with their entitlement as well. If you are going to go under the speed limit to save your precious gas, get the frick over to the right and do your crawl in the SLOW lane, where you belong, not in the fast lane with a long line of pissed off drivers behind you. Mind you, this is not directed at hybrid drivers who actually go the speed limit or 5-10 MPH over it...

I swear, where is the CHP when you need them to ticket these people... serious hazard to the road.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

You knuckle-draggers are funny and un-educated. You complain about the Toll lane as "social engineering" and an "entitlement" because all you know are the official Fox News/Tea Party rant lines for hating everything.

But did you ever think that it's actually a very capitalistic concept?? I for one bought a Prius for the yellow stickers, and now I have a plug-in Prius for the green stickers. That's using free-market money to buy something and get the benefit. ANYONE is allowed to buy one of these cars and get the stickers. Sorry if you don't have the money -- THAT is capitalism. Pure and simple.

And for the record, I drive 70+ in the toll lane in my Prius thank you very much... What you all need to look out for is that black Saturn SUV around 8:15am every day that uses the carpool merge lane until the very last second and then drives up the far right shoulder (off the lanes) passing the trucks up the grade. That guy is f-ing nuts.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 7, 2012 at 5:51 pm

Government controls the roads, and they receive the tolls from the express lane. They have determined that more traffic and less carpoolers increases revenue. So they refuse to make real traffic reduction through improved mass transit or more lanes, and they reduce carpooling through the lack of exits.

Anon -- The express lanes are far more akin to socialism than capitalism. The government controls the means of production and sets/controls prices. A capitalist system would provide some means of competition without government involvement or help. When does that happen? Never with roads or mass transit. If government wasn't involved with BART or the bridge tolls, I think we'd see dramatically lower prices. So please continue to drive your tax payer subsidized Prius (getting 40 MPG -- like my non-Hybrid Civic) slowly in the express lane so I can laugh at the suckers drving behind you.

If CALTRANS really wanted to create "Express" Lanes, they would create two additional lanes in the middle of 680 and 237. They would be Southbound in the morning and Northbound at night. The left lane would strictly be for passing. They would also put up barriers separating the lanes from the rest of the freeway to prevent people from exiting or entering between allowed exits/entrances.

But of course, this might actually make people enjoy driving to work, and the environmentalists wouldn't stand for that!

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

If government wasn't involved, you wouldn't have Bart... And there are examples of private toll lanes out there... not sure how they're doing, but it's not novel.

Lastly, I am getting between 70-115 MPG on my daily commute with a pretty consistent average around 85-90 MPG. So that's about double your Civic, which can suck my minimal exhaust as I blow by at 70 MPH. :-)

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 8, 2012 at 11:04 am

Ask the peninsula about government involvement in BART. They've been paying taxes for promises made decades ago. Non-competition certainly has helped keep those fares down too, huh? I wonder when the bridge tolls will pay off the cost of the bridges?

And you don't get more than 50 MPG in your Prius, unless it's downhill. Here's a quote from an online magazine called AutoblogGreen (

While CR did in fact see an improvement in highway mileage at 55 mpg (compared to 50 mpg from the previous Prius), the crew actually found that city fuel economy suffered a bit at 32 mpg as opposed to the 35 mpg of its predecessor. Average it all up, and the Prius hybrid's 44 mpg overall score means Toyota's fuel-sipping hatchback is still the most fuel efficient vehicle available in America.

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

Also, Illinois toll roads are private and they're great. They compete to make their roads more appealing than the state highways, and they are. The state highways are far more congested and filled with pot holes.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Remember, it's a Plug-in hybrid... That earns an "eMPG" of 95 with about 11-13 miles of pure electric driving. I go about 650-700 miles between fill ups of my 8.5 gallon tank. :-)

Posted by Steve, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I saw an article that factored in the electrical costs and it reduces the cost/per gallon to the 40-50MPG range. It's just tougher to see the cost directly.

Posted by Queeny, a resident of Parkside
on Jun 8, 2012 at 9:29 pm

My husband has always told me the safest place to be is on the far left hand lane. That guarantees that no one will pass you on the left. So all you have to worry about is the passers on the right. To hug the far right lane is to get all entangled with oncoming traffic. The only problem with being in the fast/car pool lane is that you have to slow down a lot when it's time to exit.

My husband and I get a laugh from all the liberals who try to socially engineer everyone by making them drive the way they want everybody else to drive. They're so preoccupied caring about other drivers, they don't realize that the far left lane is for individuals who aren't overly obsessed with what people next to them or behind them are doing. Unlike socialist Europe where everyone is the same and drives the same, here in the good old US of A you can drive in the passing/carpool lane if you want to, provided you have someone else in the car with you.

Posted by Anon, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Either Queeny's comments are a piece of satire, or she and many of the people on this thread are nuts.

And Steve... don't know what numbers you're referring to, but I've done the real math and the electricity is cheaper.

Watch this...
* 1 Gallon of gas is about $4.25 today
* Car gets about 55 MPG when battery is uncharged (actual real world experience my friend), so that's $0.0773 per mile.
* Car gets about 13 miles all electric which means $1.00 "worth" of gas.
* Electricity costs between $0.10-$.33 per kWH depending on your metering program and what Tier you're in.
* Car needs about 3.2kW of charging to "fill up" which costs between $0.32 to $1.05.

So only if you're in the highest rate tier do you have an electric cost that is just slightly higher than current gas prices. In all other cases, particularly with TOU (time of use) metering, it's cheaper.

AND you get to be a snob driving solo in the carpool lane! -- priceless. :-)

Posted by Queeny, a resident of Parkside
on Jun 9, 2012 at 5:18 am

Our family can't afford a electric car that holds our family of 6 and the three dogs. My husband might not be as rich as "anon", but I trust him to keep me out of trouble.

My pet peeve is that when I'm going a reasonable 65 in the car pool lane and want to exit, the cars speeding past me on my right sometimes refuse to slow down and let me get into their lane. Sometimes I've had to almost come to a complete stop in the car pool lane just to be able to finally get over into the exit lane. People can sometimes be so infuriating.

Posted by Scott Horsly, a resident of Del Prado
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm

You own your lane, whether it's to the left or to the right, car pool or not. It's your property, and no one can take it away from you. If you go 67 in a 65 zone, the cop tickets you, not the nimrod behind you who woke up late and is trying to make up for lost time (and a lost life) by speeding up behind you. When I'm in the car pool lane and some speeder comes up behind me, I intentionally slow down. Either he then has to slow down himself or pass me on the right which subjects him and all the other California fruits and nuts to danger. Either way is a win-win for me.

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