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Report finds I-10 express lanes shave about 2 mins off your drive; bus ridership rises

Drivers fill the 110 freeway during afternoon rush-hour on January 9, 2008 in Los Angeles, California. In a reversal of opinion held eight months ago, Los Angeles County transportation officials this week announced a controversial plan to set up rush-hour toll lanes on local freeways by spring 2009. Officials hope to win $648 million in federal grant moneys for the toll lanes and various transportation fixes after missing out on more than $1 billion in 2007 for not backing the conversions. The first phase will convert car pool lanes to toll lanes on 85 miles of the 110, 210, and 10 freeways. The second phase will add build on the 10 and 210, as well as the 60, east from Los Angeles to San Bernardino County line. Los Angeles has historically resisted toll roads, opting to use road taxes instead to maintain freeways and keep them available for drivers of all income levels.
David McNew/Getty Images
Drivers fill the 110 freeway during afternoon rush-hour on January 9, 2008 in Los Angeles, California.

Solo drivers who paid extra to use those express lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways over the past year generally got to their destinations faster than those who didn't pay.

That's according to a new report released Monday by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The report took a look at the one-year pilot express lanes program aimed at reducing traffic congestion.  This was a $210 million federally-funded program, which also added more buses, vanpools and improvements to the El Monte Station. The pilot run ended in February.

The report also shows the 10 Freeway had better overall results than the 110 Freeway during the morning rush hours.

"On the 10 Freeway we had the advantage because there were actually two lanes of expresslanes that were accomplished on the 10 Freeway vs the 110 Freeway,” said Metro Spokesman Rick Jagger.

Commuters taking the 10 during rush hour got to their destinations more than two minutes faster on average, Jagger said. That includes drivers in both the express lanes and regular lanes. But commuters on the 110 actually saw their drive times grow by an average of two minutes.

RELATEDMAP: 110 Freeway 'FasTrak' express lanes take a toll on drivers starting Nov. 10

Bus ridership along the 10 and 110 Freeways also went up 27 percent in that time.

“The program funded the purchase of 59 compressed natural gas buses to run up and down those two corridors to offer people an alternative to driving solo in their car,” said Jagger. ​

Another key goal for the pilot programs was to keep those express lanes moving at least 45mph. Metro said that was accomplished 90 percent of the time.

The toll lanes are still in use, even though the pilot program is over. Jagger said Metro wants to continue the program past its expiration date of January 15, 2015.

Metro Board members will take a look at the issue when they meet this Thursday.