How Much Is the Toll?
The system monitors the freeway and raises or lowers the toll to keep traffic flowing smoothly in the express lanes. San Mateo 101 Express Lanes use “dynamic pricing” to set the toll price. Dynamic pricing is when the price to use the lane goes up or down depending on how crowded the lane is. Overhead message signs tell drivers the price to travel to a destination in the toll lane. Tolls will be paid using FasTrak®.
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How do Express Lanes Work?
All vehicles need FasTrak® or FasTrak Flex® to use the lanes.
- 3+ person carpools, vanpools, buses, and motorcycles can use the lane for free with a properly set FasTrak Flex or FasTrak CAV toll tag.
- 2-person carpools can receive a 50% toll discount when using a properly set FasTrak Flex or FasTrak CAV toll tag.
- Solo Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) drivers can receive a 50% toll discount with the FasTrak CAV toll tag.
- Solo drivers will pay full tolls with FasTrak® or FasTrak Flex®.
Before starting your trip, solo drivers must set their FasTrak Flex toll tag to the “1” position so the toll system can charge the vehicle the proper toll. Carpools with two occupants would send the toll tag to the “2” position to get a toll discount. Carpools with three or more occupants or motorcyclists must set their toll tag to the “3+” position. The “2” and “3+” settings allow eligible vehicles to use the lanes toll free or for discounted tolls. These toll tag settings also trigger beacons that CHP officers use to enforce vehicle occupancy requirements.
Cars with a valid Clean Air Vehicle decal wishing to get a toll discount will need to use a FasTrak CAV toll tag. To apply for a FasTrak CAV toll tag, visit BayAreaFasTrak.org/cleanair.
Visit GetFasTrak.com for more information about FasTrak® and how to open an account.
Do I need both FasTrak® and FasTrak Flex®?
No. Drivers only need one toll tag in the vehicle. Standard FasTrak toll tags should be exchanged for a FasTrak Flex toll tag. If multiple toll tags are in a vehicle, the toll system may detect the additional transponder(s) and the trip may result in multiple toll charges.
Where can I enter and exit the Express Lanes?
You can enter or exit the US 101 Express Lanes in San Mateo County at any point.
What if my car is a two-seater?
Two-person carpools in two-seater vehicles can travel toll-free in the US 101 Express Lanes in San Mateo County. Please set your FasTrak Flex transponder in the “3+” position before driving.
What is the Community Transportation Benefits Program?
The Program helps qualifying San Mateo County residents cover some of their transportation costs by offering the option of two different transportation benefits to qualified individuals: 1) A Clipper Card with a value of $100 provided annually, or 2) FasTrak® toll tag/transponder with value of $100 provided one time. Aside from these monetary benefits, the Express Lanes will reduce congestion in the 101 Corridor and improve travel times and reliability for bus riders and other Express Lanes users. For more details, go to the Community Transportation Benefits page.
How does revenue from the 101 Express Lanes help the San Mateo County community?
The San Mateo County Express Lanes is developing a program that will help qualifying San Mateo County residents cover some of their transportation costs, called the Community Transportation Benefits Program. For more details, go to the Community Transportation Benefits page.
US 101 Express Lanes in San Mateo County operate Monday – Friday 5am-8pm. Outside of these hours, the lanes are open to all drivers at no charge.
Resolve Toll Violations
Click here for assistance with toll violations.
Do buses and shuttles need FasTrak® to use the lanes?
For buses, including commuter shuttles, to use the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes for free, they must have a properly mounted FasTrak Flex® set of 3+. Buses and shuttles may also use the lanes for deadhead time.
For questions on FasTrak, call FasTrak’s Customer Service Center at 877-BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655), or visit GetFasTrak.com for more information about FasTrak® and how to open an account.
Express Lanes Construction (Updated on 11/17/2022)
Who can currently use the Express Lanes?
The Express Lanes are currently open and operating as carpool lanes with a HOV 3+ occupancy requirement. This allows carpools, vanpools, buses, motorcycles, and eligible clean air vehicles to drive in them Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Outside of these hours, the lanes are open to all drivers. HOV 3+ signage ensures that all drivers are aware of the lane usage rules and can safely use the lanes. It also provides highway patrol the ability to enforce the lane restrictions.
The tolling equipment which will allow vehicles to pay tolls, pay discounted tolls, or travel toll-free in the Express Lanes is scheduled to be operational by early 2023.
Why is the project delayed? What can be done to expedite the opening?
Optimizing the current plan is the best way to get the lanes open safely, on budget and on schedule. This is being done by closely coordinating the sign overlay fabrication, the overlay installation, the barrier removal and the toll system installation and testing. This coordinated effort has made opening the lanes in November possible, which is about 3 months earlier than the start of tolling.
The project has already incorporated strategies to expedite the completion, including opening the southern segment (between Whipple Avenue and the Santa Clara County Line) ahead of schedule in February 2022, paving all of the lanes during the summer, and adding second crews on the northern segment toll installation effort
Despite the unprecedented challenges of a global pandemic and supply chain disruptions, the project is currently scheduled to be completed on budget, and has only seen a modest schedule delay over the full duration.
How much work remains on the project?
• Complete connecting all the roadside tolling equipment
• Test to make sure all equipment is communicating correctly and correctly charging tolls
• Prior to commencing tolling, there will be a focused public education program.
Safety (Updated on 10/13/2022)
Are the Express Lanes narrower than the other lanes? Are the lanes wide enough for all vehicles?
All lanes on the freeway are wide enough to accommodate all vehicles. After a thorough safety review, Caltrans engineers have determined that the Express Lanes meet Caltrans safety and operating standards. In many places along the corridor, the outside lanes are wider than the inner lanes.
What happens if there is an accident in the express lanes?
When there is an accident in the express lanes, California Highway Patrol (CHP) will be notified and called to the location of the accident. During the accident, CHP has complete control over the toll system. The lane will be opened or closed to various vehicles at CHP’s discretion depending on the circumstances of the accident. The overhead signs will be updated with the status of the lane open or closure. In addition, CHP can close the express lanes if necessary to respond to an accident in the other General Purpose lanes or any other highway emergency.
Maintenance (Updated on 11/17/2022)
Who is responsible for keeping the lanes clean?
The lanes are now open and operating to HOV 3+ vehicles, and Caltrans continues to provide lane sweeping to keep them clear of debris. The remaining construction work that needs to be completed before tolling can begin is not expected to add debris to the lanes.