COMMUTE

495 Express Lanes celebrate one-year anniversary

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(WJLA) - A year has passed since the Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway opened, and while some may like the ability to get places faster, others are having a hard time with how much it's costing.

A report put out this past September shows that the average toll paid by drivers on the 495 Express Lanes is about $1.86. However, a trip through the full stretch costs nearly $9.

Tolls on the Express Lanes are set based on usage and traffic flow at the time. According to Transurban, the company that operates the lanes, about 40,000 cars used the lanes between July and September.

During that time, they made about $51,000, most of which pays down the debt that was accrued building the lanes.

A Transurban spokesman says that their effort continues to focus on educating people on how using the lanes will help drivers.

"Continuing to make sure that the road functions correctly and that predictable trips are always there and consistently delivered is what we remain focused on going into the next year," spokesman Mike McGurk said.

Fairfax resident Bonnie Gosney uses the lanes often while driving to appointments and says that they've helped her commute tremendously.

"It speeds up my time," Gosney says. "The money that I have spent on it has greatly been beneficial to the time I save for work."

Not everyone is singing its praises, though, including Rockville resident Carlos Mora, who finds the process complicated.

"I'm afraid to use it and get fined again," he said.

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