In pre-pandemic days, San Antonio had the fourth worst traffic in the state, a number poised to grow as the city's population continues to grow. To help ease future congestion, San Antonio is driving forward with its first high occupancy vehicle lanes ever — because nothing says bustling metropolis like HOV lanes.
Four new lanes are rolling out between now and 2021. The first, an eastbound I-10 HOV lane between La Cantera Parkway and FM 3351 (Ralph Fair Road), opened on September 27. A westbound lane on I-10 between those same roads opens later this fall.
In 2022, the Texas Department of Transportation will add two more high-occupancy lanes, on U.S. Highway 281, from Loop 1604 to north of Stone Oak Parkway.
Once complete, the region will have 28 miles of lanes to help carpools breeze on by sad solo drivers struck in traffic.
To use the lanes, vehicles must have at least two passengers; buses, carpools, vanpools, emergency response and law enforcement vehicles may also occupy the lanes.
"HOV lanes are the next step in VIA's longtime collaboration with TxDOT and local leaders to address current and future congestion on our roadways with safe, convenient options," said VIA president and CEO Jeffrey C. Arndt in a release. "Dedicated lanes for VIA buses and multi-passenger vehicles allow us to move more people, faster, cut down on congestion and prepare for future growth in San Antonio and Bexar County."
Though TxDOT built the lanes, VIA oversees their management, while the San Antonio Police Department is responsible for their occupancy enforcement. Using the lanes is free (assuming you have at least one other person in the car), and no sign up for TxTag is required.