Just 0.007 percent of Custis Memorial Parkway (I-66 Inside the Beltway) vehicles during the toll periods have been caught cheating. That’s a very low ratio. Solo drivers with no passengers are supposed to pay a toll, but if there are additional people in the vehicle, the occupants can turn a switch on their special toll transponder entitling them to a free trip. Does this tiny cheat number mean that solo drivers braving this road are paying the toll or does it mean enforcement is lax?
VDOT has justified HOT (High Occupancy/Toll) schemes in part because they claim police can’t adequately ticket many HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) violators in HOV lanes; therefore HOV restrictions are not effective. But is enforcement any stronger when HOV changes to VDOT’s preferred (and profitable) HOT usage instead?
“Since the tolls and expanded High Occupancy Vehicle restrictions on Interstate 66 inside the Capital Beltway began in December, 171 drivers have been caught cheating the tolls, data provided to WTOP show.
That means that on about 0.007 percent of all trips in the lanes between Dec. 4 and March 30, the Virginia State Police said, drivers were using an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode to get a free ride, even though the drivers did not actually have a second person in the car as required. The number does not include the number of drivers that troopers let off with a warning.
Before the start of tolls, Virginia transportation officials estimated that half or more of drivers using I-66 inside the Beltway during the 2.5 hours each way when it was HOV only were cheating.