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Staff report on FasTrak maintenance fee

Staff report on FasTrak maintenance fee

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Published by sourcemetro
A report on the $3 fee for ExpressLanes customers who use the lanes three or fewer times per month.
A report on the $3 fee for ExpressLanes customers who use the lanes three or fewer times per month.

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Published by: sourcemetro on Jan 16, 2013
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09/10/2014

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,
42 
~
Los Angeles County 
~
Motropolibo•
T~••pmt.tio
'""'""''
One Gateway
Plaza
Los
Angeles,
CA
90012-2952213.922.2000 
Tel
metro. net
Metro
SUBJECT: ACTION:AD HOCCONGESTION PRICINGCOMMITTEEJANUARY16, 2013 SYSTEMS,SAFETYAND OPERATIONSCOMMITTEEJANUARY17, 2013 FASTRAKMONTHLY ACCOUNT MAINTENANCE FEERECEIVE AND FILE RECOMMENDATION 
Receive andFiletheanalysis
of
theeliminationof the monthlyFasTrakaccountmaintenancefee.
ISSUE
Atits December
13, 
2012Boardmeeting, Director Yaroslavsky introduceda motionfor theelimination
of 
the 
$3
FasTrakmonthlyaccount maintenancefee.The motionwill
be 
considered 
by
the full Board atitsJanuary 24, 2013meeting.Thisreportsummarizestheadvantagesanddisadvantages includingthe cost impactofthe eliminationof this fee.
BACKGROUND 
Allmotorists travelingonthe 
11 
0 Express
anes 
are requiredto haveapre-paid FasTraktransponder.Theamount
to 
openaFasTrakaccount
and 
receive atransponder is $40 with a credit/debit card.Thetransponderdeposit
is
waived.Should customers choose touse the Expresslanes as atoll-payingcustomerthetollisdeducted from the $40 pre-paidtoll balance.Any remaining toll balance 
is
refunded tothecustomerwhentheiraccountis closed 
in 
goodstandingand theyreturn the transponder
in
good workingcondition.Sincethe$40 
in
pre-paidtolls serves
as
acustomerdepositwith the toll systemoperator,thesefundsare not availabletoMetroto offsetexpensesunless and untilthe customer paysa tollwhentravelingalone 
on 
the 
11
0Express
lanes
or paysadministrativefees. PerState law, the customercanalsousetheMetroissuedFasTrak transpondertopayatoll ontollfacilitiesthroughouttheState. When this occurs,Metro deducts the tollfrom the customer'saccountandwiresthefunds
to 
therespectivetollfacility.This function streamlinesthetollpayment processfor thecustomer
and 
provides a keybenefit forthecustomer of only needing toestablisha single account
 
and
transponder
to use
any FasTrak facility; customers are not required to maintainmultiple accounts with various agencies.Comparison with other Toll Facilities
in
CaliforniaOther agencies across the State have concluded that a significant percentage (30%
on
average) of customers will open FasTrak accounts
and
rarely/never use them
on
theirtoll facility while the agency incurs costs associated with maintaining the accountwithout receiving the corresponding congestion relief benefit. As a result, four out of thefive toll agencies across the State have implemented the monthly account maintenancefee to ensure every customer pays their fair share for the cost of maintaining theaccount, either by actually using the tolled facility or by paying the fee.Serving
as
a financial clearinghouse due to diversion has been a concern
in
the State
as
demonstrated by the fact that three of the toll facilities (TCA, SANDAG, and SouthBay Expressway (now part
of
SANDAG)) initially opened their facilities without amonthly account maintenance fee. Within a few years of operating, all three facilitiesimplemented the monthly account maintenance fee because of the need to managerising operating costs incurred with inactive/infrequent account users. As
an
example,last year the Orange County facilities generated between $6 million and
$9
million fromthe account maintenance fee, significantly offsetting the cost of inactive/infrequentusers.As illustrated
in
Table 1
below, Metro's monthly account maintenance fee is similar tothe other toll facilities
in
California
in
that it
is
based on usage and offers an incentive -four one-way trips (any combination of driving alone, carpool, vanpool, motorcycle, ortransit)
in
a month
on
the Metro Expresslanes waives the fee. The fee is alsoautomatically waived for LA County low income commuters enrolled
in
the Equity Plan.
Table 1
Agency
Has FeeHow Are FeesStandard Fee Offers
Monthly
Fee
is
Policy? Assessed?
Amount($)
Incentive? Waived if:TCAYes Per Account$2.00
permo
YesTolls Exceed $25
permo
OCTA YesPer Account $7.00
permo
Yes Toils Exceed $7 permoSANDAG YesPer Account $4.50
permo
Yes Tolls Exceed $4.50
permo
METROYes Per Account$3.00
permo
Yes 4 one-way trips permo(regardless oftoll amount)BATA*No
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- - · ~ - - · · · - - - - - - ~ - - - - - - · - - - - -
-
----------
---··-··-
--
----
--~-~
*The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) does not charge a monthly account maintenance fee to itsmore than one million FasTrak accounts. BATA serves
as
the regional toll operator for all of thefacilities
in
the Bay Area
(7
toll bridges and 2 Express Lane facilities) which creates economiesof scale. More than two million transponders are distributed in the Bay Area. Contrast this with
2

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