"Hey, METRO. What's up with the HOV? I'm not moving."
"There's a stalled vehicle ahead of me on the HOV Lane. How soon do you think you can have it cleared, METRO?"
If you've ever sent one of these queries to the social media team, you're not alone. Did you know, though, that the majority of these stalls can be avoided?
METRO's Automated Reversible Gate Operations System (ARGO) Operations department of eight manages the three High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV)/High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes on the US-290, I-45 and US-59 highways.
The department, in existence since 2012 after the introduction of the HOT Lanes, monitors the lanes to ensure safe and efficient operations throughout the day. When incidents such as stalls occur, they liaise with various personnel and agencies to either assist commuters with quick fixes such as jump starts, or coordinate the safe removal of vehicles off the roadway altogether.
Charles "Chuck" Buzbee, a 29-year METRO employee and currently an ARGO Evening Supervisor, said most stalls can be prevented.
"We're seeing too many instances of stalls occurring due to commuters running out of gasoline, driving on bald or old tires, not having adequate oil or coolant levels in their vehicles, or texting while driving," said Buzbee. "These are all avoidable. These incidents at times can be cleared in five minutes or less, but on average can take up to 30 minutes, dependent upon the location and time of day the incident occurs.
In February, METRO recorded 36 incidents on METRO's HOV/HOT Lanes. Of those, five individuals ran out of gasoline, 10 had flat tires, and 14 had mechanical issues. That accounts for 80 percent of the total reported incidents.
Here are a few tips that could potentially save you precious time and frustration before accessing the HOV/HOT Lanes:
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