Feeling hot about the HOT

I understand about paying a toll (fee) at certain bridges or designated roads/highways. But paying for the freeway lane in which you’re driving? Well, change is the only thing that’s constant, says one man from Athens. Here in happy, fit and healthy Utah - among a handful of states - we will now pay to drive in the HOT (High-Occupancy Toll) lane which is slowly changing from “Carpool/HOV” lane to “Express” or HOT lane.

Here’s the deal. The Express lane is still free for carpoolers and high occupancy vehicles (HOVs) like buses. But when a one-person car wants to drive in that lane (since ideally, it’s not as crowded as other lanes) then the driver needs to pay, especially if he’s a frequent user/commuter. Such a driver will need a special transponder affixed to his windshield. (Just what we needed - another distraction to add to cell phones, GPS devices, etc., Who knows, maybe in the next century all cars will be completely instrument-operated.) Anyway, the antennas along the freeway communicate with the transmitter and will help in computing the charges based on the marked zones as well as the amount of traffic at the time. It’s a good source for state revenue.

But as a bus commuter I am worried the Express lane can turn into a “regress” lane since most people will now use it. The general tendency in freeway travel, is that people will try to get to their destinations fast and at almost any cost - monetary, that is.

Oh, by the way, I think the driver should mount the transponder at a spot where it doesn’t hinder her vision. Be forewarned!...LOL!

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