The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) are sending letters to over 16,000 Virginians with registered vehicles bearing clean special fuel license plates to notify them of two upcoming changes that will affect high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane access privileges. Effective September 30, based on a federal law which applies nationwide, most hybrid vehicles will no longer be able to use HOV lanes without the required number of occupants. Only hybrid plug-in electric vehicles will continue to be allowed access to HOV lanes without the requisite number of occupants.
The rule applies even if the vehicle displays a clean special fuel license plate. Other alternative fuel vehicles with clean special fuel plates will continue to have HOV access. This fall, VDOT will be converting HOV lanes on Interstate 395 in northern Virginia to Express Lanes. The date that the lanes will be converted to Express Lanes will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
Once the I-395 HOV lanes are converted to Express Lanes, all vehicles (except motorcycles and buses) will be required to have a properly mounted E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex. Vehicles bearing clean special fuel license plates, like other vehicles, can access the Express Lanes with a standard E-ZPass or, if they meet the HOV-3+ requirement by having three or more occupants in the vehicle, can travel toll free with an E-ZPass Flex in the HOV mode.
E-ZPass and E-ZPass Flex transponders are available online at www.EZPassVA.com and at many DMV customer service centers, including all 14 offices in northern Virginia. In addition, E-ZPass On-the-Go may be obtained at DMV 2 Go mobile customer service centers. For locations, visit www.dmvNOW.com/dmv2go.
For full service E-ZPass account management, the Woodbridge DMV Customer Service Center offers E-ZPass account set-up, account replenishment, violation processing and transponder return and replacement. Transponders can also be obtained at many retailers (Giant, Wegmans, etc.), online or by calling toll-free 877-762-7824. For more information, visit www.EZPassVA.com.
To learn more about the 395 Express Lanes project, please visit www.expresslanes.com. If you have questions about the 495, 95 and 395 Express Lanes, call the Express Lanes customer service team at 855-495-9777.