SAN MATEO (KRON) – Across California, hundreds of thousands of cars with special DMV stickers can use the commuter lanes, even with only one person inside.
But that won’t last much longer.
Starting Jan. 1, the popular green and white clean air vehicle stickers will be invalid, and the drivers of those cars will not be able to use the HOV lanes alone.
On Tuesday, KRON4 spoke with drivers who are not too happy about the changes.
The HOV lane stickers were an attractive perk for anyone buying an electric, fuel cell, or electric hybrid car, but so many people got the stickers that the state has had to step in.
‚ÄúIt’s totally nice. I love it,‚ÄĚ Ligia Ravetto said.
Ravetto lives in Mountain View. Thanks to a green clean air vehicle sticker on the bumper of her electric hybrid Prius, she’s able to drive solo in the HOV lanes almost every day.¬†
‚ÄúThis is great. It’s awesome,” Ravetto said. “I love going in the carpool lane.‚ÄĚ
But as of Jan. 1, 2019, Ravetto¬†and hundreds of thousands of other drives with green and white stickers will be banned from driving solo in the commuter lanes.
‚ÄúIt’s stupid,” Ravetto said. “I don’t know why they are doing that.‚ÄĚ
For years, the state gave out the green and white stickers to encourage people to purchase low or no emissions vehicles. But now, state officials say all those cars are starting to clog up the commuter lanes across the state.
So last year, the legislature passed a plan to reboot the program.
Starting in 2017 and moving forward, qualifying cars will be given red¬†stickers that allow single occupancy use the HOV lanes.
The older white and green stickers will be invalid as of Jan. 1, 2019.¬†
Critics of the change say that the congestion problem in the HOV lanes is the result of HOV cheaters. They say eliminating the white and green stickers only punishes people, like Ravetto, who tried to do the right thing.¬†
She’s doubtful that changes will speed up the commute.
‚ÄúNo. I don’t think so at all. I¬†don’t think it will work at all,‚ÄĚ Ravetto said.
Finally, there are also a few gold clean air stickers out there but those were discontinued in 2011.