Adam Starr


In San Francisco, carpool capital of the universe, new rules are reducing the incentive for ridesharing.

For 30-plus years in the San Francisco Bay Area, complete strangers carpooled to work together. Why? Well, for a lot of reasons: carpools were exempt from bridge tolls, a special lane allowed vehicles to bypass traffic, and it was often more convenient than taking public transit. On July 1, 2010, all this changed. A toll-structure revamp eliminated carpoolers' free ride, and a new rule made it so that only vehicles equipped with a FasTrak pass—an electronic device linked to the driver’s account—are allowed to use the carpool lane. In the 30 days since, ridesharing has dropped by over 12,000 cars a day.

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