New three-passenger HOV lane requirement goes into effect between Denver and Boulder on Jan. 1

Posted at 5:19 PM, Nov 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-22 21:42:27-05

DENVER -- You may have seen the signs on your drive. Starting Jan. 1, you'll have to have three people in your car in order to use the HOV express lanes between Denver and Boulder.

Right now, it just has to be you and a passenger to ride it for free.

"That's terrible.  It should be two.  Like its always been," said driver Jack Brannon.

While some drivers are disappointed, the change to three was actually decided in 2013, as part of a CDOT plan to handle rapid growth. CDOT estimates growth will soar by 47 percent by 2040.

Seven states already have the three-passenger occupant requirement.

CDOT officials say the express lanes are already getting crowded. The changes should ease the flow, according to CDOT.

"We’re moving to three-plus in order to provide a reliable travel time for the people in the lane and then also the toll revenue will be helping to offset the costs associated with that lane," said CDOT spokeswoman Megan Castle.

The money collected can only be used in the corridor between Denver and Boulder -- a formula CDOT views as necessary in a cash-strapped state where budgets are tight and gas tax collections aren't dependable.

Keep this in mind, if you don’t follow the rules, you could be issued a ticket for $250. Only a member of law enforcement can write it.

"I saw a cop bust somebody in the HOV lane the other day," said Brannon.

If you don't want to a pay a toll, programs are now in place to help carpoolers find a third person. You can also ride the bus or use the general purpose lanes.

CDOT has a number of resources on its website, which can be found by clicking here.


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