Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority officials announced Thursday that their ExpressLanes computer system is being upgraded and will continue to be offline through Monday as they work to improve customer services.
Customers have not been able to access the website since Jan. 8 to retrieve or update their accounts can call customer service or visit a customer service center, according to the Metro website, www.metroexpresslanes.net.
The toll collection system for the Metro ExpressLanes on interstates 10 and 110 will continue to operate and process tolls during the transition.
“We have extended notice of toll evasion penalty due dates to Feb. 15 for notices that escalated during this transition between Jan. 7 and the 20th,” said Shahrzad Amiri, Metro’s Executive Officer of the Congestion Reduction Initiative. “Starting Jan. 21, Metro ExpressLanes will experience higher-than-usual call volume, delays in transaction and payment processing and account updates due to the transition.”
The Metro ExpressLanes in January is planned to have improvements made to its customer experience, including a new “pay-as-you-go” pilot program, which started Jan. 5 and included improved service centers, a new back office, new roadside systems and the updated website.
A new Metro ExpressLanes Service Center will open Jan. 21 in Torrance at 20101 Hamilton Ave., Suite 100A. This center replaces the Metro ExpressLanes Customer Center in Gardena, which has permanently closed.
The El Monte ExpressLanes center, located in the El Monte Transit center, is also undergoing renovations and will reopen Jan. 21 at its current location at 3501 Santa Anita Ave.
Metro’s pay-as-you-go ExpressLanes pilot program is for individuals who use the lanes without a FastTrak transponder. Under this program, the registered owner of the vehicle will be sent a notice of the toll amount plus a $4 processing fee. Customers will have 30 days to pay or a $21 penalty fee will be added. After 60 days, additional penalties will be applied to the account.
“The ExpressLanes have proven enormously popular, and I’m pleased to see these necessary upgrades being made that will make the ExpressLanes easier to use for existing and new customers,” Metro Board Chair and city of Inglewood Mayor James Butts said.
Under the previous program, a driver using the ExpressLanes without a transponder would receive a violation notice that would include the toll amount, as well as a $25 penalty. An additional $30 delinquent fee would be added if payment was not made within 30 days.
“I want people to be able to use our ExpressLanes when they really need them without fear of getting pulled over or getting a fine, so we are going to try out this new pay-as-you-go system and see if it’s helpful for our freeway users,” said County Supervisor Janice Hahn, who serves as a Metro board member.
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