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HOV lanes annoyance

why do city buses with the NOT IN SERVICE light drive in the HOV lane? using the excuse that they are in transit back to the bus station to pick up more passengers does not fly. and why do moms and small children seem to think they can use the HOV lane? the purpose of the HOV lane is to allow 2 drivers that normally would use 2 cars to share 1 car. a mom or dad giving junior a ride to soccer practice does not get to use the HOV lane.

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"Cause busses are allowed to use the HOV lane… so they do.

And Mommies with kiddies fits the restriction of 2 or more people in the car. So they can use the HOV and they do.

Same for motorcycles

It’s the way the law was written by the “C” students we elect.


Cop cars use the HOV lane.
Motorcycles use the HOV lane.
Around where I live, people were picking up bus riders, and offering them FREE transport, so they could use the HOV lane.

HOV lanes were an attempt to “incentivize” carpooling, but a lot of what they did was incentivize creativity! Every ECON student has heard the term “perverse incentive” before: an incentive structure that acts to encourage the behavior it was designed to prevent!

IMO, HOV lanes are stupid. They don’t appreciably change behavior, and the (under-utilized) HOV lane would reduce congestion (and thus pollution/fuel consumption) if it were simply made available to all motorists. At the time (1990s), there was ISTEA (“iced tea”) money for “alternative transport,” and local governments found they could “tap in” to extra federal funds if they designated an HOV lane. That money has dried up, and HOV lanes have (thankfully) gone out of style, like bellbottoms or VHS.

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Why the heck WOULDN’T two people use the HOV, if they qualify by the law to use it? You question baffles me: would they have crippling “ECO guilt” if they used it?

Heck, I seem to recall pregnant women were using it, and claiming the fetus was a “second person.” BOY, did some folks have fun tossing THAT “political football” around!


This NJ info is probably different from what is true in other states, but here is some info to consider:

Could the bus be a hybrid?

Here in sunny Florida, any vehicle with a state or municipal license plate can use the HOV lane. So can solo motorcyclists. So can anyone who registers a hybrid.

It’s best not to worry about who is using the HOV lane and not sweat the small stuff.

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CT Rt 84 south has an interesting HOV lane approaching Hartford.

  1. It is one lane, but another lane is taken up by the divider, so the HOV lane wastes two lanes.

  2. On the entrance to the HOV lane, there are two signs:
    a) Buses trucks prohibited from left lane
    b) HOV entrance left lane, buses and 2 occupant vehicles allowed.

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I rarely see an HOV lane but every time I do it has seems to me that restricting the use of that lane(s) to certain situations is counterproductive. When convenient I have used the HOV as a passing lane but never remain there as many drivers think it’s the Autobahn.

i have been in a hov lane probably 4 times in my life. 99.999% of my trips are single person. eco warrior? hell no. annoyed at idiots cheating and using the hov lane when they are alone is more like it

I recently took a trip from the Buffalo NY area to North Carolina via Washington DC. I had not driven that way in 30 years. I saw signs about HOV but had no Idea what they were referring to. My wife was with me, was I in compliance or not?

If anything does, I think this classifies as a first world problem.

Personally I think HOV lanes are a fraud and don’t help anything.

@oldtimer_11, you must have been in Virginia. The lanes on I-95 near DC are HOV-2, and you were legal with your wife. I use the HOV lanes going north or south on that stretch of I-95 when the family travels that route. I don’t know about the I-495 HOV lanes in VA. There’re no HOV lanes in DC or MD where I normally drive.

One note about the I-95 south lanes in VA. When the HOV and regular lanes join near Quantico, there is often a terrible backup precisely because there are HOV lanes. There are two lanes of traffic going into three, that is usually a recipe for disaster, and is one reason why we usually go a different way if we are going to Virginia Beach. I haven’t figured out a better way to go to Richmond. US301 goes there, but it takes us too far east and Southern MD traffic is typically heavy and slow with a lot of traffic lights.

Hey, hey, hey…they help Al Gore sleep at night…


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Thanks for the info about the HOV lanes in VA. I have been retires from trucking 21+ years and I have been able to avoid the whole Boston to Richmond corridor but a new great-grandson made the trip necessary.

All of the major freeways and expressways here in San Jose have at least one HOV lane. HOV use only applies during certain hours of the day tho, commute hours, the one I usually encounter is HOV from 3 pm-7 pm. Yesterday in fact I was on that freeway at exactly 7 pm, and at that time I noticed quite a few cars moved from the single driver lanes to the HOV lane. I think the result from all tha maneuvering is that it evened the traffic out among the lanes, and speeded things up a little. But that isn’t a good test to prove eliminating HOV would helps w/overall traffic congestion I suppose, b/c there would presumably be more cars on the road before 7 pm if there was no HOV requirement at all. I have to say I’ve never seen a definitive impartial study on the topic. HOV seems to get all wound up with politics in these parts. There’s one place where you have to have 3 people in the car, and there was a big discussion on whether if you had a driver, a blind rider, and a guide dog if that would meet the 3 people requirement . the reasoning being that the blind person required the guide dog, and the dog took a seat that might otherwise be used by a person.

Its a federal requirement. That’s why everybody has one now. When they put in a 3rd lane on 35 in Minneapolis, traffic was great for a week and then they made the 3rd lane HOV. Traffic slowed to a crawl again and the HOV lane was hardly used. What a waste. Same thing happened during the bus strike. Traffic moved right along until the buses came back. Nothing scientific, just observations from this million miler.

The only guy not driving alone in the hov lane and given a ticket by the police I agreed with was the guy who owned a funeral parlor and was driving a hurst and the only other person in the car was the dead body in the coffin.

So how do you feel about paying to drive solo in the HOV lanes?

The Seattle metro area has a few toll bridges. Of course, you can bypass toll booths if your car has a transponder. The state monitors how many times you pass the toll site and charges your account accordingly. You can also use that system to drive in the HOV lanes. Don’t feel like plugging along in traffic? Just switch lanes and you pay a few dollars to get home faster.

It sounds like a shake down to me. I already paid for them once. Either open all lanes up to all traffic or charge tolls for all traffic. Its just a continuation of lopsided thinking. Make travel so bad that people are willing to pay to avoid it?