LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) — A new FastTrak transponder is on the way to help drivers who travel along the busy I-580 in Tri-Valley corridor beat the traffic.

It’s called FasTrak Flex.

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FastTrak Flex transponder (CBS)

FastTrak Flex transponder (CBS)

Solo commuters who upgrade to FasTrak Flex will be able to pay a toll and drive in the Express Lanes coming to I-580, between Pleasanton and Livermore.

When traffic is heavy, the toll to ride the Express Lanes increases.

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The Metropolitan Transportation Commission said the idea is to improve the way we use carpool lanes. Drivers in Southern California have been using Flex for over a decade.

“We have been a little slow here in the Bay Area to convert carpool lanes to Express Lanes and there are a lot of reasons. We are geographically constrained,” said Goodwin.

He says Flex tags won’t disadvantage carpoolers. It just takes advantage of the unused capacity. Whenever the lanes become crowded with carpoolers, solo drivers won’t be able to use them.

Fastrak Flex transponders cost $25, and are already on sale in stores like Safeway and Costco. The old transponders will remain operational during the lengthy transitional period.

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According to the MTC, FastTrak Flex will be operational later this year, once the new Express Lanes on I-580 are open in both directions.