Old 14th August 2005, 19:32   #1
Triton4
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DMV California clears Hybrids for car-pool lanes

What are your opinions on this?

Quote:
Get used to hybrids in the carpool lanes

THERE'S NOT MUCH MORAL HAZARD IN OPENING LANES TO SOLO DRIVERS OF GAS-THRIFTY CARS

Mercury News Editorial


To let or not to let solo drivers in hybrid cars use carpool lanes is a question that has become freighted with moral overtones.

Do the fuel-thriftiness and emission-cleanliness of hybrids constitute enough virtue to atone for the sin of congesting the freeway by driving alone?

Yes, the Legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said last year. And now that Congress also has given the green light, the Department of Motor Vehicles is set to issue stickers that inoculate hybrids against tickets for driving alone in the carpool lane.

So let's get on with it. And let's drop the hand-wringing.

This is not a big moral question. It's a practical traffic-management experiment, balancing the goals of saving fuel and reducing pollution with the carpool-lane goal of easing congestion.

If the experiment doesn't work -- if so many people buy hybrids that the carpool lanes are clogged -- then the rules can be changed. Some hybrid drivers will be disappointed, but surely very few of them will have bought a hybrid they hate just to drive in the carpool lane.

California's law wisely puts some limits in place from the get-go. Only the highest-mileage hybrids are eligible, the ones that get 45 miles per gallon or more. They are the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic Hybrid and the Honda Insight.

A maximum of 75,000 hybrids can obtain the carpool-lane pass. The state Department of Transportation can ban hybrids from carpool lanes that get too congested.

The requirement that Bay Area hybrid owners obtain a FasTrak transponder, to pay Bay Area bridge tolls, in order to get a carpool-lane sticker, won't make drivers here happy. But it essentially means that hybrids get only a limited carpool-lane exemption. On the bridges, they're like any other car.

It may be galling that hybrids from elsewhere in California won't have to pay tolls. But they are unlikely to use the bridges much. And while it's true that gas-guzzling SUVs with at least three people in them are exempt from bridge tolls, they are also allowed in carpool lanes on the freeways.

Some transportation planners have been toying with the idea of letting drivers pay to use the carpool lanes as a way to raise revenue and use the lanes to maximum capacity. Maybe that would work. Maybe it wouldn't.

But if we're considering using carpool lanes to raise money, why not first try using them to encourage conservation and clean air?

Maybe opening carpool lanes to hybrids will help persuade Americans to drive them. Maybe it won't. The cost of finding out will be, at most, some temporarily overcrowded lanes on the freeway.

GET THE STICKER

To apply for a sticker, go to www.dmv.ca.gov and click on ``Hybrid Vehicles -- Clean Air Vehicle Stickers.'' The DMV is charging $8 for the sticker. In the Bay Area, hybrid owners will first have to pay $40 for a FasTrak transponder that enables them to drive by the toll booths on Bay Area bridges.
Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercu...n/12365774.htm
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Old 15th August 2005, 09:19   #2
protegechris
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They need to change all the signs to:

Carpool/People with enough money to go out and buy a new hybrid car Lane.

Cars with 2+ passengers or one idiot passenger in an overpriced hybrid vehicle only.

yeah, i'm back.
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Old 15th August 2005, 18:44   #3
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I'm glad liberal California finally got around to doing something conservative Georgia has had for years.

[edit]
Now maybe they will approve single rider motorcycles using the HOV lanes too. (like Georgia has had for years!)
[/edit]

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Old 15th August 2005, 18:55   #4
Triton4
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Look at it this way... it's gonna put conventional vehicles and their manufacturers in the dark, as in the following months tons of people are gonna rush into buying hybrids. More so, companies like Toyota and Honda are gonna throw Ford and Chevy out of business (at least in California) as the formers' technologies are far more advanced even at present.
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Old 15th August 2005, 19:08   #5
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it will hopefully push auto makers to push hybrids...

I wonder is big oil pays automakers to make crappy mileage cars... the avg mpg has not increased since the model T.
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Old 15th August 2005, 20:55   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by billyvnilly
it will hopefully push auto makers to push hybrids...

I wonder is big oil pays automakers to make crappy mileage cars... With domestic cars, the avg mpg has not increased since the model T.
Fixed.
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Old 17th August 2005, 16:35   #7
xzxzzx
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Quote:
Originally posted by CaboWaboAddict
Now maybe they will approve single rider motorcycles using the HOV lanes too. (like Georgia has had for years!)
?
Quote:
21655.5. (a) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, may authorize or permit exclusive or preferential use of highway lanes for high-occupancy vehicles. Prior to establishing the lanes, competent engineering estimates shall be made of the effect of the lanes on safety, congestion, and highway capacity.

(b) The Department of Transportation and local authorities, with respect to highways under their respective jurisdictions, shall place and maintain, or cause to be placed and maintained, signs and other official traffic control devices to designate the exclusive or preferential lanes, to advise motorists of the applicable vehicle occupancy levels, and, except where ramp metering and bypass lanes are regulated with the activation of traffic signals, to advise motorists of the hours of high-occupancy vehicle usage. No person shall drive a vehicle upon those lanes except in conformity with the instructions imparted by the official traffic control devices. A motorcycle, a mass transit vehicle, or a paratransit vehicle that is clearly and identifiably marked on all sides of the vehicle with the name of the paratransit provider may be operated upon those exclusive or preferential use lanes unless specifically prohibited by a traffic control device.

(c) When responding to an existing emergency or breakdown in which a mass transit vehicle is blocking an exclusive or preferential use lane, a clearly marked mass transit vehicle, mass transit supervisor's vehicle, or mass transit maintenance vehicle that is responding to the emergency or breakdown may be operated in the segment of the exclusive or preferential use lane being blocked by the mass transit vehicle, regardless of the number of persons in the vehicle responding to the emergency or breakdown, if both vehicles are owned or operated by the same agency, and that agency provides public mass transit services.

(d) For purposes of this section, a "paratransit vehicle" is defined in Section 462.

(e) For purposes of this section, a "mass transit vehicle" means a transit bus regularly used to transport paying passengers in mass transit service.

(f) It is the intent of the Legislature, in amending this section, to stimulate and encourage the development of ways and means of relieving traffic congestion on California highways and, at the same time, to encourage individual citizens to pool their vehicular resources and thereby conserve fuel and lessen emission of air pollutants.

(g) The provisions of this section regarding mass transit vehicles and paratransit vehicles shall only apply if the Director of Transportation determines that the application will not subject the state to a reduction in the amount of federal aid for highways.

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Old 17th August 2005, 17:34   #8
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I was too lazy to look it up before being sacastic!

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