If you’ve traveled on 405 during the past three months, you’ve probably been impacted by the new (ish) toll lanes that have opened spanning Bellevue to Lynnwood. If it’s your New Year’s resolution to finally go and order that Good to Go! Flex Pass, I highly recommend it for a reason that might surprise you: you can avoid paying the tolls by keeping it in HOV mode. Here’s why you should:
- You’ve already paid for this road if you buy gas
- 75% of the tolls go to paying for the tolls themselves
- They’ve already overcharged people, at least once.
- Accidents have been increasing
- If you take one of the express lane exits, you get charged WAY more than you should.
Let me elaborate on number 5:
I’ve been taking the express toll lanes for a couple of months now. Being the law abiding citizen that I am, I always remember to switch my Good to Go! pass from HOV to TOLL. With the holidays, I let my own personal accounting take a backseat. I used the new year as a good excuse to examine where my money was going. I was shocked when I logged into my Good To Go! account and saw charges for $5.25, $4.75, $4.50, etc. I have a rule: do not use the toll lanes if it’s greater than $2.25 in the most desperate of times. Generally, I try and stick to only using it when it’s $0.75 (and even then, I cringe).
I contacted Good to Go! about these charges to make sure something funky wasn’t going on. I also asked if I might not know something that I should about the tolling system. The pricing board did say $0.75 to exit at 124th Street, so I expected to pay at or a little bit more for the 128th Street exit, but not the rates I saw in my account.
After about a week, I was contacted back by a customer service rep (Mike Rowe should bring back Dirty Jobs for one last episode) and I was assured that the toll rates were correct. I was told, however, that because I was regularly taking the express toll lane at 128th in Kirkland, that I was incurring the same cost as if I had taken the lane all the way to 522. What? Yep. Four streets cost me as much as 6 times the amount than if I got out of the express toll lanes, crossed 4 lanes of traffic and exited 405 at 124th in Kirkland. Ummmmmmmmm. K.
The reason why I took the express lanes wasn’t because it’s closer to my house. It’s actually easier for me to take the Totem Lake blvd exit. It’s because I like my truck and I don’t want to increase the chances that I hurt it anymore than I have to. Same goes for my fiance and dog that are regularly in tow.
I’m a big fan of KIRO Radio and Chris Sullivan, and I’m probably not the only one who saw/heard his helpful tip on how to use the toll lanes on 405. Perhaps I’m one of the few people who didn’t know how much that express lane exit actually costs. I doubt it, though.
One thing is for sure: Don’t give Good to Go! your money. I’d rather pay a non moving violation to our great law enforcement officers than donating it to the Good to Go! mob.