The Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT) new tolling scheme on Interstate 405 has resulted in quite a lot of confusion and frustration—recent reports reveal that a whopping 3,300 drivers were double charged using the toll lanes. Even worse, accidents have more than doubled and many drivers complain of increased commute times.
We wanted to hear directly how the new I-405 express toll lanes have impacted our readers. So, last week, we asked our readers to submit their I-405 horror stories. Here are five stories you should read:
- “We no longer travel in that direction. All of the Eastside just lost our business since it now costs too much and is too confusing to go down I-405. Getting three people in the car to travel for free is ridiculous. What ever happened to public transportation? This is social engineering to force folks to get out of their cars then raise gas taxes to pay for the roads since no one is driving (using gas) as much anymore. Vicious cycle of unintended consequences.” – Doug and Susan
- “This new I-405 tolling scheme is utterly stupid. No one seems to know what pass they need to be able to travel in the lanes. Not even the staff at the GoodToGo offices. Much less the fact that almost no one is traveling in the toll lanes. The congestion in the regular lanes is four times as bad as it was before the State totally screwed it up.
“We were almost involved in an accident driving along at 60mph when a State Patrolman suddenly swerved into the HOV lane in front of us, from the almost not moving lane on our right, to pull another car off to the left side of the HOV lane. That car too quickly swerved out of the HOV lane causing another car in front of us to slam on the brakes. Thank goodness for the quick reflexes of my husband in preventing us from crashing into the car ahead.
“Now the signs are very confusing indicating “HOV 3 + ……..”. We thought the HOV Good to Go pass was for 2 or more people to drive in the HOV lane without having to pay, now has the WDOT changed it to 3 or more persons?
“WDOT also used a ridiculous amount of the lanes to indicate 2 sets of double lines that cannot be crossed. Where do they get these people???” – Linda
- “My daughter is a High School senior who was very fortunate to be hired for a wonderful job in Lynnwood – we live in Enumclaw, though it was a stuff commute, the pay was extraordinary and was going a long way to making her college aspirations a reality – now with the toll lanes, their ridiculous cost, and/or the absurd congestion that they are creating in the remaining two lanes, she is no longer able to be employed there.
“This is a system that obviously targets the higher income demographic of the surrounding communities, while it makes travel nearly impossible for the reset of us. Shame on you WSDOT, shame on you for allowing such a ridiculous scheme to be put into place – you have exceeded your previous stupidity and mismanagement in ways that I could not even imagine.” – Karla
- “Driving to Bellevue on Southbound 405 this early afternoon around 12:30pm (which should in no way be a crowded or high collision time frame), and there was a MAJOR multi vehicle accident with seriously smashed vehicles and patrol cars with lights flashing. Traffic stopped. Unbelievably, hardly anybody wanted to jump over to the Toll lane even though they were completely stopped and they knew they were going to be serious delayed. Why is this I wondered? Were they scared? Were they scared because they were confused about who actually can use it now and what they have to have? Were they scared/unsure of the costs because the costs are still not common knowledge? Traffic nightmare…” –Karissa
- “Highway 203 in Carnation has seen significantly more congestion since the 405 tolling began. My guess is that north end drivers are swinging south via 203 in the morning to get to I-90 via Fall City and Preston to avoid 405 South. Reverse it in the afternoon.
“Really bugs us locals, our sleepy highway with 30 mph limits (in places) aren’t designed for this much traffic.” –Will
Bonus: One reader sent a warning to I-405 commuters based on his experience with the tolling system crossing the 520 bridge.
“If you spend much time going across 520 check your good to go account. I keep getting charged a Photo Enforced Fee of $0.25. This is a fee they charge when their reader doesn’t read the decal on your car. It’s sporadic problem. I’ve had my decal checked by the good to go office in Bellevue and they say it works fine. I’ve found it’s a problem with their system. Unfortunately you have to identify that its happening and contact them but they will credit the charges off your account. I’ve contacted them twice now in the past 3 months. Please see below a number of e-mails I exchanged with them regarding the problem.
“And as usual they don’t admit any responsibility. How many thousands of people have been charged so far and don’t know it because they use the auto replenish feature for reloading their account? When is the State going to take responsibility for all these tolling (and other transportation) problems?” –Mark