FAQs

View AllAbout the Express Lanes

What are the Express Lanes?

The Express Lanes are dynamically tolled lanes that operate on I-495 and I-95 in Northern Virginia to provide you with faster and more predictable travel options. The 495 and 95 Express Lanes connect seamlessly so you can enjoy uninterrupted travel from Stafford to Tysons. Carpoolers with three people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, motorcyclists and bus riders travel for free while other drivers can pay a toll for a more predictable trip.

The 495 Express Lanes are two high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway from the Springfield Interchange to just north of the Dulles Toll Road (approximately 14 miles).

The 95 Express Lanes are HOT lanes that operate in the middle of I-95 from about Courthouse Road in Stafford County to the vicinity of Edsall Road on I-395 in Fairfax County (approximately 31 miles). The 95 Express Lanes are reversible.

Together, the 495 and 95 Express Lanes create a region-wide network of free-flowing lanes stretching more than 40 miles.

Buses, carpools with three or more people (HOV-3+) and an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode, motorcycles and emergency vehicles can use the Lanes without paying a toll.

If you have fewer than three people in your car, you will pay a toll to use the Lanes. You can pay your toll with a regular E-ZPass or with an E-ZPass Flex set to toll-mode.

Vehicles with more than two axles cannot use the Lanes. However, buses with any number of axles can use the Express Lanes – they just need an E-ZPass that is registered with the Express Lanes. Learn how you can use the Express Lanes.

Who owns the Express Lanes?

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) owns and oversees all aspects of the Express Lanes and there is a concession agreement that allows Transurban (USA) Operations Inc. to operate the Lanes.

When can I use the Express Lanes?

You can use the 495 and 95 Express Lanes now. The Lanes operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Where can I access the Express Lanes?

There are several entrances and exits to the Express Lanes. Learn more about how to access the Express Lanes.

What is the speed limit on the Express Lanes?

The speed limit is 65 miles per hour on the 495 and 95 Express Lanes. If you see a lower speed limit displayed on the digital signs on the 95 Express Lanes, please follow that speed limit.

How do you maintain free-flowing conditions on the Express Lanes?

The Express Lanes use dynamic pricing to manage the number of toll-paying customers on the Lanes and keep them free flowing. Similar facilities that use dynamic toll prices in other U.S. areas, including Houston and Southern California, have proven to provide faster, more reliable travel times.

We also have dedicated incident management systems, such as closed-circuit surveillance cameras, traffic sensors and video-based incident detection that quickly identify incidents on the Lanes and notify dedicated incident response crews. Additionally, strict enforcement of HOV access and tolling in the Lanes is critical to maintaining free-flowing travel conditions.

People won’t pay to use the Express Lanes unless they are going to get a faster, more reliable trip, so the private operator has an incentive to keep traffic moving. As an added protection for carpools and transit, the partnership agreement requires average speeds of at least 45 mph on the 495 Express Lanes and 55 mph on the 95 Express Lanes.

What is the length of the partnership agreement between VDOT and Transurban for the 495 and 95 Express Lanes?

For the 495 Express Lanes, the partnership agreement between VDOT and Transurban is in place for 80 years. For the 95 Express Lanes, the partnership is in place for 76 years.

Is anything being done to improve the merge area where the Express Lanes end?

On 495, there are no improvements to the American Legion Bridge underway at this time, but some relief is on the way. On June 25, 2013, the Virginia Governor announced the 495 Northbound Shoulder Lane Use Project, an approximately 1.5 mile congestion relief project from the end of the 495 Express Lanes (near MD) to just past the George Washington Parkway Interchange. The project will convert an existing shoulder to an additional highway lane on the inner loop of I-495, resulting in five travel lanes open to all Beltway travelers during morning and afternoon peak travel times to help alleviate traffic. For additional information about the project please visit: http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/northernvirginia/i-495_shoulder.asp.  

On 95, VDOT is working on a project to add one additional northbound auxiliary lane on I-395 north connecting the on-ramp at Duke Street (Route 236) to the northbound off-ramp at Seminary Road. This 0.8-mile auxiliary lane will ease congestion where drivers exit the northbound Express Lanes and join traffic in regular lanes.

Where can I see all the rules of the road for the Express Lanes?

View the Terms and Conditions for the Express Lanes to learn more.

View All95 Express Lanes/I-395 HOV Lanes

Are the 95 Express Lanes reversible like the old I-95 HOV system?

Yes. The 95 Express Lanes are reversible.

What is the lane reversal schedule for the 95 Express Lanes?

The reversal of the 95 Express Lanes in the morning and evening is largely the same process and timing as the old I-95 HOV system. You can find the schedule here.

What happens at the 95 Express Lanes/HOV lanes transition point?

The Express Lanes end and the HOV lanes begin on I-395 just north of Edsall Road. The I-395 HOV rules have not changed. This means that when the HOV restriction is in effect, drivers traveling alone or with one passenger need to exit from the Express Lanes to avoid entering the HOV lanes. HOV-3+ and eligible clean fuel plate vehicles can continue to travel in the HOV lanes.

Learn more about the Express Lanes transition area between the 95 Express Lanes and the I-395 HOV lanes

I’m continuing north after Edsall Road toward Washington, D.C. Do I need an E-ZPass to travel in this section?  

The 95 Express Lanes extend two miles inside the Beltway to just north of Edsall Road. From that point north, the HOV lanes remain HOV-3+ like the old HOV system and carpools and transit heading north on the 95 Express Lanes are able to continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes. Learn more about the Express Lanes transition area.

Can toll-paying customers access the 95 Express Lanes inside the Beltway on I-395?

Toll-paying customers have access to the 95 Express Lanes until the Edsall Road area. Beyond this point, the I-395 HOV lanes are restricted to carpools, transit, motorcycles and designated hybrids. Carpools and transit heading north on the 95 Express Lanes can continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes. Toll-paying customers heading north on the 95 Express Lanes have the option to travel directly onto the 495 Express Lanes toward Tysons Corner or re-enter the regular lanes on I-395 in the area of Edsall Road. Learn more about the Express Lanes transition area.

Can all travelers access the 95 Express Lanes outside rush hour and on weekends?

Yes. HOV-3+ vehicles, motorcycles and transit have toll-free access at all times; drivers with fewer than three occupants can choose to pay a toll to use the Lanes.

The 95 Express Lanes use a Lane Use Management System. What is it?

A Lane Use Management System is used to help safely manage traffic on the 95 Express Lanes. If there is a green arrow above your lane, the lane is open. A red X above your lane means you need to exit the lane, as the lane is closed. Please follow the posted speeds on the digital speed limit signs when on the Express Lanes.

Do the 95 Express Lanes extend to the Mark Center?

No, but to help address the transportation needs of the growing Mark Center, VDOT is constructing a new HOV ramp at I-395 and Seminary Road for the Mark Center.

Will the 95 Express Lanes ever extend to Fredericksburg?
VDOT will continue to work with regional leaders and transportation planners to define both a timeline and funding plan for any future improvements.

What is the 95 Express Lanes southern extension?

The 95 Express Lanes southern extension is a two-mile extension of the 95 Express Lanes that opened to traffic in October 2017. More informaiton is available here

View AllYour Travel Mode

Can carpools and vanpools travel free at all times?

Yes. High occupancy vehicles (HOV-3+) with an E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode enjoy toll-free access to the Express Lanes at all times.

I drive a hybrid or a vehicle with clean fuel plates. Why can’t I use the Express Lanes for free?

Per Virginia law, hybrid drivers cannot travel toll-free in the Express Lanes unless they have three or more people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode. If a hybrid or clean fuel plate driver meets the HOV-3+ requirement, then he or she may travel in the Lanes toll-free. Otherwise, the driver may choose to pay a toll to access the Lanes.

Express Lanes are high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes and are governed by a different statute than HOV lanes, which are a separate type of roadway. The HOV statute allows hybrids to access HOV lanes regardless of the number of occupants. But the HOT statute does not have an exemption for hybrid vehicles. This means that hybrid drivers must meet the HOV-3+ requirement and have an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode to travel toll-free in HOT lanes – such as the Express Lanes. For more information, the HOT statute can be found here https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+33.2-500 and goes from 33.1-56.5.

Can motorcycles use the Express Lanes?

Yes. Motorcycles can use the Express Lanes free of charge and do not need an E-ZPass. If you already have an E-ZPass on your motorcycle, you can leave it in place when you travel on the Express Lanes. The system will detect that you're traveling via motorcycle and not charge you a toll. Please note that autocycles are not classified as motorcycles under Federal or Virginia code. Autocycle users must pay a toll with an E-ZPass if they chose to travel on the Express Lanes.

Why do motorcycles get to use the Express Lanes toll-free without meeting the HOV-3+ requirement, but hybrids do not?

Virginia law does not give hybrids free access to Express Lanes unless they meet the HOV-3+ requirement and have an E-ZPass Flex.

Can buses use the Express Lanes?

Yes, buses – regardless of the number of axles or size – can use the Lanes toll-free but need an E-ZPass. Learn more about who can use the Lanes.

How can law enforcement use the Express Lanes?

Law enforcement officers and first responders in pursuit of their law enforcement duties, not including the use of such vehicles for commuting to and from the workplace or for any purpose other than responding to an emergency incident, patrolling the Express Lanes pursuant to an agreement by a state agency with the private operator or the time-sensitive investigation, active surveillance or actual pursuit of persons known or suspected to be engaged in or with knowledge of criminal activity, are exempt from toll and HOV requirements on the Express Lanes.

If your team needs to travel on the Express Lanes in the performance of law enforcement duties for a specific operation or response, please contact us prior or afterwards so we can ensure you are not charged for these trips. Otherwise, the only way to travel the Express Lanes toll-free is with three or more people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode. Email us with questions or to report travel.

Are commercial trucks allowed to use the Express Lanes?

Small and mid-sized trucks with two axles may use the Express Lanes as toll paying customers or they may travel toll-free if they meet the HOV-3+ requirement and have an E-ZPass Flex. Vehicles with more than two axles, including large, 18-wheel trucks, are not permitted to access the Express Lanes.

How do I know how many axles my vehicle has?

If you are driving a private passenger vehicle and not towing a trailer, chances are your vehicle has two axles. However, you should contact the E-ZPass agency which manages your account to verify the number of axles on your vehicle. Please make sure that your vehicle has only two axles before traveling on the Express Lanes.

Can I tow my boat or trailer on the Express Lanes?

No, you cannot tow boats or trailers on the Express Lanes.

I am from out of town, am I allowed to use the Express Lanes?

Yes, as long as you have an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex, you can travel on the Express Lanes. If you already have an E-ZPass, even from another state, it will work on the Express Lanes.

How are out-of-towners going to understand that they need an E-ZPass to access the Lanes?

Our priority is to ensure clear signage so all drivers know the rules of the road and how to use the Express Lanes. All signs leading up to and within the Lanes have an E-ZPass logo which should help all drivers understand that they need an E-ZPass. Fortunately, there are 15 states that use E-ZPass and more than 26 million E-ZPass devices in circulation, so it is convenient for many out-of-towners to use the Express Lanes.

Can taxi drivers use the Express Lanes?

Taxi drivers can use the Express Lanes anytime – all they need is an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. The E-ZPass Flex allows them to travel toll-free with three people in the taxi; if they are traveling with less than three people in the taxi, they will pay the current toll.

I-395 HOV rules have not changed for taxi drivers.  Only one passenger is required in their vehicle to travel in the I-395 HOV lanes.

I slug, how do the Express Lanes benefit me?

With three people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, you can travel toll-free on the Express Lanes all the time. Further, you must comply with HOV rules to continue on to the I-395 HOV lanes to reach Arlington or Washington, D.C.

Can I use the Express Lanes if I am traveling in a rental vehicle? 

Yes, but you should first check with the rental company or your rental agreement about coverage, policies and charges related to tolls and E-ZPass. Companies may add additional fees for E-ZPass transactions or unpaid toll notices. Even if no E-ZPass is visible in the rental vehicle, the license plate might be associated with the rental company’s E-ZPass account. Please contact us before using Missed a Toll if you traveled on the Lanes in a rental vehicle. 

 

View AllExpress Lanes Tolling

Are the Lanes tolled 24 hours-a-day?

Yes, tolls are always in effect. HOV-3+ vehicles with an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode can travel toll-free on the Lanes, all the time.

What is the toll rate?

Tolls for the Express Lanes are dynamic, meaning they change periodically based on real-time traffic conditions to keep the Lanes free-flowing. Because toll prices are based on demand, it is difficult to predict exactly what the tolls will be at any given time.

Tolls can range from as low as $0.20 per mile during less busy times, and up to approximately $1.00 per mile in some sections during rush hour. However, rates may rise significantly above the typical range for periods of time in the event of unusually heavy congestion or a specific event like a traffic accident or lane(s) closure.

Is there a cap on toll rates?

There is no toll cap, as tolls must be able to manage real-time traffic demand to keep the Lanes free flowing.

How does dynamic pricing work?

Dynamic pricing means that tolls on the Express Lanes change periodically to keep the Lanes free-flowing. Sensors alongside the road monitor traffic levels and speed, and toll prices adjust to maintain free-flowing conditions in the Lanes – even during peak times – to provide value to customers. A network of electronic signs displays the latest toll prices.

How do I pay the tolls?

You must pay tolls with an E-ZPass. There are no toll booths or options to pay cash on the Express Lanes. Learn more about E-ZPass on the Express Lanes.

How will I know ahead of time what the toll will be so I can decide whether to use the Lanes?

You will see two pricing signs before all entrances to the Express Lanes. The pricing signs show the cost to travel to a maximum of three upcoming exits. It's important to remember that, in some cases, not all available exit points are displayed on the electronic signs. Don’t see your exit? It might fall between the exits listed on the sign or you might see it on another pricing sign later during your trip. The displayed prices change to reflect the current toll prices.

When you are traveling on the 95 Express Lanes you might see overhead pricing signs.  These signs display the costs to travel to exits farther down the road.  When you see overhead pricing signs, you decide if you want to pay a toll to continue on the Express Lanes or exit back to the regular lanes.  Learn more about signage on the Express Lanes.

Will the tolls change while I am in the Lanes?

No. On the 495 Express Lanes, you lock in your toll rate when you enter the Lanes and will be charged that rate.  

When you pass under a pricing sign, you lock in your toll rate until the last exit shown on the sign. On the 95 Express Lanes, you might need to pay more than one toll during your trip. If you see another pricing sign during your trip on the Express Lanes, you will lock in your rate for the next part of your trip after you pass under the second pricing sign.

Learn more about pricing on the Express Lanes.

My destination is not on the pricing sign, how do I know what you will charge me?

Before all Express Lanes entrances you will see two pricing signs displaying the latest toll price to travel to up to three destinations. Don’t see your exit? It might fall between the exits listed on the sign or you might see it on another pricing sign later during your trip.  

On the 495 Express Lanes, the first two destinations listed on the pricing sign are the most popular destinations from your entry point. The third destination is the furthest distance you can travel on the Lanes from your entry point. If your exit is not listed on the sign, the toll price will fall between the listed exits.

The 95 Express Lanes are more than twice as long as the 495 Express and they include many opportunities for drivers to enter directly from the regular lanes. As a result, the pricing signs show upcoming exits points, and not all the pricing signs show the last exit that you can travel to on the 95 Express Lanes. Drivers may see another set of pricing signs with prices to exits farther down the road while they are driving on the Lanes.  

Read more about signage on the Express Lanes.

I can see the price to travel to the last exit on the 495 Express Lanes no matter where I get on them. How come this is not the case on the 95 Express Lanes?

The 95 Express Lanes are just like the 495 Express Lanes, only they are more than twice as long and include many opportunities for drivers to enter directly from the regular lanes. By showing just the upcoming exit points on pricing signs, we can manage traffic across the 29-mile corridor and keep you moving. Drivers also have more choices and know the prices to exit at more points along the corridor.

Is there a way to determine what the rates are prior to travel online?

You can get estimated toll rates on the On the Road Now page. Just enter your starting and ending locations on the page. We'll show you how the Express Lanes can get you where you need to go and give you the current estimate for your trip on the Express Lanes. You can also view real-time cameras and an interactive map to help you plan your trip. Of note:  the toll price may change by the time you get to the Express Lanes. 

There was an accident and I did not receive a faster trip. Will I be charged?

We’re sorry to hear that your trip on the Express Lanes did not meet your expectations. Refunds are evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Above and beyond federal and contractual minimum speed requirements, the Express Lanes operator has a business incentive to provide customers consistent and free-flowing travel conditions on the Express Lanes. Toll-paying customers will not choose to pay to use Express Lanes if they cannot consistently depend on a faster and more reliable trip. If you were not satisfied with your trip, we encourage you to Contact Us.

The toll I was charged is not the toll rate I saw on the sign when I entered the Express Lanes. What should I do?

Please note that the toll price to each exit is not displayed on every dynamic message sign, but if you exit a point between the points displayed on the sign, your toll should fall between the prices you saw. If you have questions about your tolls, please contact us.

What happened to the toll revenue collected from customers?

The tolls collected on the 95 Express Lanes first come back to Transurban to operate and maintain the 95 Express Lanes. Second, the tolls go to meeting the obligation to repay debt raised to fund the cost of construction of the Express Lanes. Over the long term, and in the event that revenues are able to meet costs of operations, maintenance and debt services, we expect to return a portion of the toll revenue to Transurban’s shareholders as a return on the investment made in the project. And, should the toll revenue exceed certain levels, Transurban will share revenue back with the Commonwealth of Virginia to fund additional transportation projects. 

View AllExpress Lanes and E-ZPass

Can I pay cash on the Express Lanes?

No. You must pay tolls with an E-ZPass. There are no toll booths or options to pay cash on the Express Lanes.

For more information and to sign up for a Virginia E-ZPass, please visit:  www.ezpassva.com.

For more information and to sign up for a Maryland E-ZPass, please visit: www.ezpassmd.com.

Does everyone who uses the Express Lanes need an E-ZPass?

Yes, you must have an E-ZPass if you want to use the Express Lanes. There are no toll booths or options to pay cash. If you want to carpool on the Express Lanes without paying a toll you need to get an E-ZPass Flex. This switchable E-ZPass lets us know you are a carpooler so that you won’t be charged a toll. Learn more about E-ZPass on the Express Lanes.

To find out how to properly use your E-ZPass, check out our video.

I already have a standard E-ZPass. Will it work on the Express Lanes?

Rest assured – it works in the Express Lanes.

If you don’t think you’ll travel on the Express Lanes with three or more people in your vehicle then you need a standard E-ZPass.

However, if you want to get a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes you need three or more people in your vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode.

How much does E-ZPass cost? Are there monthly fees?

You can get E-ZPass in several states, and each has its own pricing policy. Learn more about E-ZPass.

Do carpoolers need an E-ZPass?

Carpoolers, vanpools or other HOV-3+ travelers need an E-ZPass Flex to travel toll-free.  An E-ZPass Flex switched to HOV mode lets us know you are a carpooler so that you aren’t charged a toll.

Can I use my E-ZPass Flex transponder on other toll roads?

Yes, E-ZPass can be used to pay tolls on other roads such as the Dulles Toll Road or the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.  The E-ZPass Flex will work on any road that accepts E-ZPass, regardless of the position of the switch.

I have a Smart Tag, not an E-ZPass. Will it work on the Express Lanes?

Yes. If you have a Smart Tag transponder, it will pay tolls on the Express Lanes.

Where can I get an E-ZPass?

You can get an E-ZPass on the Virginia or Maryland E-ZPass websites. To get an E-ZPass you will need your:

  • Driver’s License Number
  • License Plate Number
  • Credit Card Information

You can also get an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex in Virginia at:

In Virginia you can also call 877-762-7824 or visit your nearest E-ZPass Service Center.

If you live in Washington, D.C. and want an E-ZPass, you can sign up for a Virginia or Maryland E-ZPass account.

How do I swap out my existing E-ZPass for an E-ZPass Flex?

There are several ways for a current Virginia E-ZPass customer to exchange a standard E-ZPass for an E-ZPass Flex.

  • Go to www.EZPassVA.com – under the heading “Announcing the new E-ZPass Flex”, click “Request a Flex Transponder.” Log in to your account and follow the instructions. Or you can log in to your account, go to the “Transponders” tab and request exchanges from there. Virginia E-ZPass will mail you an E-ZPass Flex and provide you an envelope to mail back your standard E-ZPass.
  • Call the Customer Service Center (1-877-762-7824) – a Flex transponder can be sent to you. Virginia E-ZPass will mail you an E-ZPass Flex and you can use the enclosed envelope to mail back your standard E-ZPass. Or you can drop it off at one of the E-ZPass Customer Service Centers.
  • Visit one of the E-ZPass Customer Service Centers. Go to ezpassva.com to find the Customer Service near you.

What is the beep on the Flex transponder for?

The beep on the E-ZPass Flex alerts the driver that their device is switched to carpool (HOV-3+) mode. Traveling with three or more people and an E-ZPass Flex gives you a toll-free trip on the Express Lanes. If you are traveling with two or fewer people you should flip the switch to toll mode, which does not have a beep when you change to that mode.

Is there a Flex transponder for bumper mounted transponders?

The E-ZPass Flex is not available for bumper-mounted transponders. If you plan to travel on the Express Lanes with three or more people and have an E-ZPass mounted to your license plate, you can nominate your E-ZPass by calling us at 1-855-495-9777.

How long does it take for my Express Lanes trip to post to my E-ZPass account?

It takes about 5-7 days for your Express Lanes trip to post to your E-ZPass account. If you have questions about a recent or pending trip, please contact our customer service center.

I cannot use an E-ZPass Flex due to issues with my vehicle that prevent the transponder from being read during travel. How can I travel toll-free on the Express Lanes?

You should request a bumper-mounted transponder from your E-ZPass agency. Contact us before each HOV trip and we will nominate your transponder for HOV travel.

I have a bumper-mounted transponder. How can I use it to travel toll-free?

To travel toll-free with a bumper-mounted transponder, you must contact our customer service team to nominate your upcoming trip as HOV travel. You should call us at least 30 minutes before your trip and as far as one week in advance. Provide your transponder number, license plate number, and the approximate time of your trip. We will register the upcoming trip as toll-free HOV to prevent a toll from being charged to your E-ZPass account. You can register periods of up to seven days for toll-free travel. 

View AllExpress Lanes Operations and Enforcement

How do I swap out my existing E-ZPass® for an E-ZPass® FlexSM?

The Virginia Department of Transportation will have an exchange process for customers who want to swap their regular E-ZPass® for an E-ZPass® FlexSM.  Visit the Virginia E-ZPass website for more information.

How many people do I have to have in my vehicle to qualify for HOV?

There must be three or more people in the vehicle and an E-ZPass Flex to qualify for HOV.

How do you know who is HOV and who is paying a toll?

The technology can tell the difference between HOV and toll-paying customers by reading the E-ZPass in the vehicle and working with Virginia state police to enforce the HOV rules.

All travelers on the Express Lanes need an E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. The E-ZPass Flex works like a regular E-ZPass, but you can switch between HOV and toll-paying modes. If your E-ZPass Flex is switched to HOV mode and you have three or more passengers in the car, you will not be charged a toll. If your E-ZPass Flex is switched to toll mode, it will be used to pay the toll on the Express Lanes. This switchable E-ZPass will pay tolls on any other road that accepts E-ZPass, regardless of the position of the switch.

State Troopers make sure that those travelers who have switched to HOV mode have three people in the car.
 

What happens if I use the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass?

If you use the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass, a letter will be sent to you explaining the correct way to use the Lanes and requesting payment of your toll and an administrative fee.

Pay your toll now if you missed a toll on the Express Lanes.

If you do not pay the toll within 5 days of your trip, you will receive a toll invoice for your trip in the mail. The invoice will include the toll for your trip and an administrative fee, which will increase if the invoice remains unpaid.

What happens if I forget to switch my E-ZPass Flex to HOV mode when I have three people in my car? Will I be charged a toll?

If your E-ZPass is in toll mode when you enter the Express Lanes, you will be charged a toll. To ensure that you get your toll-free trip when traveling HOV-3+, it’s important to make sure you switch your E-ZPass Flex to HOV mode before you get on the Express Lanes.

What happens if I forget to switch my E-ZPass Flex to toll mode when I’m traveling alone?

A trooper could pull you over and issue you a ticket. Incorrect use of the E-ZPass Flex in HOV mode – including switching between travel modes while on the Express Lanes – may also result in a ticket or being charged. That’s why it’s important to make sure you select the travel mode on your E-ZPass Flex before you get on the road.

If you don’t have an E-ZPass, roadside equipment will capture an image of your license plate and we will send you an invoice in the mail requesting payment of your toll and an administrative fee.

If you are carpooling, equipment on the side of the road will alert state police that you have identified yourself as HOV-3 through your E-ZPass Flex. State police then do a visual check to make sure you indeed have three people in the car.

Why do I see troopers on the road so frequently?

Funded by the private partner, the Virginia State Police are on the Express Lanes to enforce the HOV-3+ requirement and other traffic laws.

If you do not pay the toll within 5 days of your trip, you will receive a toll invoice for your trip in the mail. The invoice will include the toll for your trip and an administrative fee, which will increase if the invoice remains unpaid.

What happens if I enter the Express Lanes while the dynamic pricing message signs are blank?

Tolls are in effect 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the Express Lanes. If a technical issue prevents the dynamic pricing message signs from displaying the current toll prices for a period of time, toll prices will be still be in effect.   

The Express Lanes team will do everything possible to avoid this scenario and there are multiple backup systems in place to ensure the technology functions correctly. In the event the signs are blank, we work as quickly as possible to get the signs working again. If you notice a malfunctioning dynamic message sign, please Contact Us as soon as you safely can.

What are the civil penalties for violating on the Express Lanes?

For refusal to pay a toll, under Virginia law a judge can choose to issue the following civil penalties for violations that occurred prior to July 1, 2016:

  • $50 for a first offense
  • $250 for a second offense
  • $500 for a third offense within a period of two years of the second offense
  • $1,000 for a fourth and subsequent offense within a period of three years of the second offense

For violations that occurred after July 1, 2016, a judge can choose to issue the following civil penalties:

  • $50 for a first offense
  • $100 for a second offense within one year of the first offense
  • $250 for a third offense within a period of two years of the second offense
  • $500 for a fourth and subsequent offense within a period of three years of the second offense

 

What do you do with the video and data you collect on the Express Lanes?

We take great effort to ensure the privacy of all customer information and there are strict protections in place in our contract with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to keep customers’ data private. The traffic and tolling management equipment on the Express Lanes helps us deliver a safe and predictable travel option to Northern Virginia drivers. On-road video is used exclusively for safety purposes, such as the review of traffic incidents, and is purged within five days.  We do not report nor use an individual’s speed data in any way. We are required to maintain average minimum speeds on the Express Lanes and only disclose corridor-wide travel speeds to VDOT as part of our reporting requirement. We are restricted from using any customer information collected to pursue an unpaid toll for any other purpose but the payment of outstanding tolls.

View AllExpress Lanes Invoices and Missed Tolls

What is a toll invoice?

If you travel on the Express Lanes without an E-ZPass, on-road equipment will capture an image of your license plate and we will send you an invoice in the mail requesting payment of your toll and an administrative fee. You can pay your invoice online.

How do I pay a toll invoice?

You can pay your invoice on the Express Lanes website, you can call 1-855-495-9777 or you can mail in your payment. Just follow the instructions on your invoice to mail your payment to P.O. Box 28148, New York, NY 10087.

What are the administrative fees for toll violations?

If you do not pay your toll, the best thing to do is to immediately go to the Missed a Toll? page on the Express Lanes website to pay your toll. There will be a $1.50 administrative fee to cover the cost of collecting the toll. If the Express Lanes has to send you a letter with a toll invoice, that administrative fee goes up to $12.50 per trip. If you do not pay your first invoice then that fee escalates to $25.00 per trip.

The administrative fees cover the costs associated with locating and contacting the driver to request the payment of the toll. Customers can avoid escalating fees by paying missed tolls right away on the website before an invoice gets mailed.

Why did the administrative fees on my invoice increase?

The administrative fees cover the costs associated with locating and contacting the driver to request toll payment. If we send you multiple invoices, your fees will increase. And, if your address is not up to date with the DMV, your information may be sent to a debt collection agency and you will need to work directly with them.

Customers can avoid escalating fees by paying missed tolls right away on the website before we mail an invoice.

How long do I have to pay my invoice after receiving it in the mail?

The due date for your payment is on your invoice. It’s best to pay your invoice when you receive it. You can pay your invoice on the Express Lanes website, you can call 1-855-495-9777 or you can mail in your payment. Just follow the instructions on your invoice to mail your payment to P.O. Box 28148, New York, NY 10087.

How can I pay my invoice?

You can pay your invoice online or you can follow the instructions on your invoice to mail a check to P.O. Box 28148, New York, NY 10087.

You can pay your missed tolls or invoices with an American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa.

What happens if I don’t pay my toll invoice?

If you don’t pay your invoice, you face escalating fines and penalties, including the possibility of civil penalties or other fees. That’s why it’s important to pay your invoice when you receive it. Pay for outstanding invoices

How can I avoid future invoices?

You can avoid receiving an invoice by using a properly mounted and funded E-ZPass when you drive on the Express Lanes. You can also sign up for missed toll email alerts to notify you if an unpaid trip is registered to your vehicle’s license plate. Everyone who drives on the Express Lanes needs an E-ZPass, even carpoolers.  Learn more about E-ZPass.

 

To find out how to properly use your E-ZPass, check out our video.

How do I dispute an invoice?

You can dispute an invoice on the website here or call 1-855-495-9777.

I have disputed a violation, but I am not satisfied with the outcome.  What can I do?

If you have an HOV-3+ violation, you can follow the instructions on the summons and appear in court to dispute the HOV violation.

If you do not like the outcome of a toll dispute you can raise that with your E-ZPass agency.

I never received my invoice by mail but have been contacted by a debt collection agency.  Why?

We use DMV records to determine the address where we should send the toll invoice.  If your address is not up to date with the DMV, the toll invoice may be returned to us.  We then send the toll invoice to a debt collection agency to contact you for payment.

To ensure toll invoices are sent to the correct address, make sure your information is up to date with the DMV.

I have an E-ZPass Flex, was in HOV mode, had three people in my vehicle and still received a toll invoice.  What should I do?

Please call our customer service center at 1-855-495-9777 to speak with a representative.

What happens if I overpay the amount of an invoice?

You can request a refund for the overpayment by (1) contacting the customer service center at 1-855-495-9777 to speak with a representative or (2) sending a request on the contact us page of the website. You have up to a maximum of ninety (90) days after the Express Lanes receives your payment to request a refund. Any overpayment in excess of $100 will be automatically refunded to you – no need to request it.

What do I do if I get a court summons in the mail?

If you receive a court summons, please contact Customer Care at 1-855-495-9777, between 7:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Monday – Friday.

Why did I receive a court summons?

Your vehicle was recorded using the Express Lanes without paying the toll, and you have been identified as the registered owner of the vehicle by the DMV. Two toll violation notices were mailed to you at the vehicle’s registered address prior to the unpaid invoice being forwarded to a debt collections agency. After a minimum of 120 days in debt collections with no payment received, a court summons is sent.  

For more information, please contact Customer Care at 1-855-495-9777, between 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

What are the civil penalties for violating on the Express Lanes?

For refusal to pay a toll, under Virginia law a judge can choose to issue the following civil penalties for violations that occurred prior to July 1, 2016:

  • $50 for a first offense
  • $250 for a second offense
  • $500 for a third offense within a period of two years of the second offense
  • $1,000 for a fourth and subsequent offense within a period of three years of the second offense

For violations that occurred after July 1, 2016, a judge can choose to issue the following civil penalties:

  •  $50 for a first offense
  • $100 for a second offense within one year of the first offense
  • $250 for a third offense within a period of two years of the second offense
  • $500 for a fourth and subsequent offense within a period of three years of the second offense

 

Can I prepay to avoid going to court?

Yes – to prepay, please contact Customer Care at 1-855-495-9777 (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday – Friday) at least 7 business days before the court date listed on your summons.

How much are the court fees?

Your court costs will be listed on your court summons.  Under Virginia law (§33.1-56.3 of the Virginia Code), civil penalties and court costs can be assessed to drivers of unpaid tolls in addition to the amount of the unpaid tolls and administrative fees.

Do I need a lawyer on my court date?

No, you do not need a lawyer for your court date, as this is a civil hearing and a lawyer is not required. However, you have the right to seek legal counsel.

What if I have to reschedule my court date?

If you need to reschedule your court date, please contact the court:  (703) 246-3764

Why did I receive a letter about refunding or forgiving previous unpaid toll violations?

On June 8, 2015, the First-Time Forgiveness program was extended and the court fee cap was applied retroactively to all customers. Qualifying customers will receive a letter with a refund check or an explanation of their reduced balance. Learn more about the First-Time Forgiveness program extension or contact our customer service center for details about your account.

What are missed toll email alerts?

You can sign up to receive an email alert if an unpaid trip associated with your vehicle’s license plate is registered on the Express Lanes. If you pay the toll and a $1.50 fee within 5 days of the date the email is sent to you, you can avoid escalating fees. Learn more and sign up for missed toll alerts.
 
 

View AllSafety on the Express Lanes

What safety measures are in place to manage incidents on the Lanes?

The increased law enforcement located throughout the Express Lanes is the most visible safety measure in place. These officers enforce safe driving and are available to respond immediately to incidents on the Lanes.

Additionally, closed-circuit video cameras and traffic sensors continuously monitor the lanes and automatically identify incidents on the Lanes within approximately 30 seconds. We deploy dedicated incident response crews to manage incidents quickly, in cooperation with first responders and emergency service providers.

Learn more about safety and the Express Lanes
.

What is the purpose of the “Express Assist” vehicles that patrol the Express Lanes?

Express Assist crews patrol the Express Lanes to help get you back on your way if you break down or stop in the Lanes. The Express Assist crew members are able to help drivers who have stopped because of a flat tire, empty fuel tank or other minor mechanical issue. Crew members can also alert fire rescue or police in the event of an emergency. Express Assist vehicles cannot provide towing services, but can contact a towing company for a disabled driver.

Express Assist crew members perform basic mechanical tasks – like change a flat tire, provide fuel, jump start a battery – at no cost.

If you prefer to call a different roadside emergency service like AAA, for example, to come assist you, you may be responsible for the cost of the toll they pay to reach you on the Express Lanes.

What happens if I need to pull over in the Express Lanes?

On the 495 Express Lanes, you need to pull to the left. There is no shoulder next to the right lane, so safely proceed to the left lane and pull over to the left shoulder and please stay in your car. On the 95 Express Lanes, please locate the closest shoulder, pull over and stay in your car.

You should not get out of your vehicle unless it is an emergency. In an emergency, please move safely away from your vehicle and wait until assistance arrives.

What should I do or expect, and who should I call if my car breaks down on the Express Lanes?

If you or your passengers are experiencing a medical emergency, always call 911 first. If you begin to experience mechanical problems while traveling on the Express Lanes, safely pull over to the shoulder on the 95 Express Lanes or to the left on the 495 Express Lanes.

If you or your passengers are experiencing a medical emergency, always call 911 first. If you begin to experience mechanical problems while traveling on the Express Lanes, safely pull over to the shoulder on the 95 Express Lanes or to the left on the 495 Express Lanes.

Unless they have three or more people in the car and an E-ZPass Flex set to HOV mode, towing companies will need to pay a toll to access the Express Lanes. We encourage you to contact your towing company to see whether they would charge you if they need to pay a toll to reach your disabled vehicle on the Express Lanes.

The Express Lanes operators, who monitor the road 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will see you stopped and dispatch an Express Assist vehicle to your location. You do not need to call anyone to alert Express Assist that you are disabled – we will see your stopped car and send a vehicle out to help you.

How can I report accidents or hazardous conditions on the Express Lanes?

You can report an accident or hazardous conditions by calling #77. You can also call 1-855-495-9777.

Do you ever conduct maintenance on the Express Lanes? When do maintenance activities occur?

We want your Express Lanes trip to be as smooth as possible, so we will perform regular maintenance in the Lanes to help keep you safe. Typical maintenance activities include replacing channelizing posts, clearing the facility of debris, repainting lane markings and changing light bulbs.

To ensure driver safety and minimize traffic impacts, these closures occur only at night. They start after 8 p.m. and end before 5 a.m.