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San Mateo 101 Express Lanes Toll Ordinance

The San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority (SMCEL-JPA) Board of Directors will adopt the San Mateo County 101 Express Lanes Toll Facility Ordinance. The toll ordinance will establish usage requirements, pricing, discounts, and civil penalties for the evasion of tolls for the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes. The toll ordinance will address the following questions:

How to use the Express Lanes?

Bay Area Express Lanes operators require all vehicles wishing to use the express lanes to have a valid FasTrak Flex® toll tag to receive a discounted or toll-free trip. For more information about FasTrak® visit the website here: www.bayareafastrak.org.

Bay Area FasTrack -022321


Who can use the Express Lanes?

The regional trend for express lanes is to prioritize 3+ carpools and buses for toll-free trips, discounts for 2+ carpools and clean air vehicles (CAVs), and the full toll price for solo drivers. The SMCEL-JPA will officially determine who is eligible to use the lanes and the discount rates in the toll ordinance.


How much will the Express Lanes cost?

Regional express lane operators have used “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. The more crowded the lane, the more expensive it is, the less crowded, the less expensive. The system monitors the freeway and raise or lower the toll as necessary to keep traffic flowing in the express lanes with a goal of speeds of 45 miles an hour or greater. Overhead message signs tell drivers the price to travel to a specific destination in the toll lane. Tolls will be paid using FasTrak®.

The SMCEL-JPA will officially adopt a pricing policy for the lanes in the toll ordinance.

What hours of the day are tolls charged?

Other Bay Area Express Lanes operate Monday – Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Outside of these hours, the lanes are open to all drivers at no charge.

The SMCEL-JPA will officially adopt operating hours for the lanes in the toll ordinance.

Toll Ordinance Adoption Process

The SMCEL-JPA will introduce and propose to adopt an ordinance in Summer 2021 for the administration of tolls and enforcement of toll violations for the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes. The SMCEL-JPA will follow a public process prior to adoption by the Board of Directors so community members can learn about the tolling policies proposed and provide comments over a 30-day period. The process will include:

  • Information item at the March 12, 2021 SMCEL-JPA meeting
  • Public notice in major newspapers in the Bay Area, including Spanish and Chinese language newspapers
  • Post summary information in English (as well as Spanish and Simplified Chinese) about the proposed tolling policies
  • Ability to submit written comments online or by email or by mail
  • Public hearing and opportunity to make a comment to SMCEL-JPA Board of Directors in Summer 2021
  • Adoption in Summer 2021 following comment period

All SMCEL-JPA Board of Directors meetings are open to the public. We encourage you to attend these meetings to provide feedback on the toll policy. Visit the calendar for meeting details.

Learn More and Get Involved

We need your feedback to on the proposed toll policy. Here’s how you can get involved:

Board of Directors Meetings

Staff presented an overview of the key toll policy elements under the Toll Ordinance to the SMCEL-JPA Board of Directors at their October 16, 2020 meeting, which was open to the public. Below is a link to the presentation:

Staff will be presenting on the tolling policies at upcoming SMCEL-JPA Board of Directors meetings, which will be open to the public and held virtually via Zoom. Please visit the C/CAG website for updates on the Board meeting schedule, agendas, and information on how to join.

Summary Toll Ordinance
Submit Your Comments and Stay Connected
You can submit a comment here:

Email us: policy@smcexpresslanes.org
Call us: 1-800-660-4287
Visit 101express.com for more information on the status of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes construction and how the lanes will work.


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