Toll Credits Pilot Program
May 21st, 2015
The State Road and Tollway Authority has launched an innovative "Ride Transit-Earn Toll Credits" pilot program. The program was launched in an effort to improve the congested commute along the I-85 corridor. During the morning rush hour period, less than 2 % of the vehicles that use the I-85 express lanes are transit vehicles, but they account for almost 26% of the people that use the HOT lanes during the weekday morning rush. Peach Pass customers that try transit on the I-85 Express Lanes will be able to earn up to $60 in toll credits over a six-month period. This pilot program is a partnership between the 5 different segments of Atlanta's Transit System: the operators of the I-85 Express Lanes; the operators of the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA); the transit operators in the I-85 corridor; the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA); and the Gwinnett County Transit Authority.
The Toll Credit program is an innovative way of thanking commuters for choosing alternative ways of reducing congestion. They're not saying not to use Peach Pass, but rather that the express lanes are there for you, when you need them most, and the credits are a "pay it forward" contribution for when you need to be a toll-paying user of the lanes. On most Georgia RTA Xpress and Gwinnett County Transit buses, the seats are very comfortable coach-style seats, which could be filled up so more cars can be taken off the road.
The Ride Transit-Earn Toll Credits pilot project is one of the three new pilot programs initiated by SRTA and GRTA to examine ways to offset the rising cost of tolls driven by continued high usage of the I-85 express lanes. Peach Pass customers who would like to participate in the pilot program can register at www.PeachPass.com.
The program has 8 transit routes to be used along the I-85 Express Lanes corridor: 410 Sugarloaf Mills to Lindbergh MARTA Station, 411 Hamilton Mill/Mall of Georgia to Midtown,
412 Sugarloaf Mills to Midtown, 413 Hamilton Mill to Downtown Atlanta and 416 Dacula to Downtown Atlanta.
In addition to the new transit pilot, SRTA has also reached out to a small group of frequent rush-hour, I-85 express lanes users and offered toll credits for tele-working or otherwise shifting their commute to an either earlier or later within the peak periods. Later this spring, SRTA will launch another partnership with Georgia Commute Options to provide additional incentives to carpoolers in the I-85 corridor. All these pilots are geared to finding innovative ways to address Metro Atlanta's congestion by leveraging tolling, transit, telecommuting and technology.
Peach Pass and Xpress are focused on addressing mobility issues and giving commuters more options. Now commuters can earn toll credits on their Peach Pass personal toll accounts, just for trying an alternative commute option such as Xpress, and at the same time save money, reduce the stress associated with the commute, and let someone else do the driving!
The message is clear: We all have a driving routine, but let's get out of comfort zone and give transit a shot. By simply trying the new transit options, you can have a less-stressful commute, catch up on some reading, texting or emails, and earn money before you even get to work.
Now, isn't that worth a try commuters?