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It Takes Two, Baby! Commute on the HOV Lanes

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by Lily Lowder
June 28, 2021

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Make the most of the new HOV lanes! Travel by carpool, vanpool, or transit. Image: VIA Metropolitan Transit.

Have you seen the new HOV lanes? The region’s first-ever High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes are now open on IH-10 West, from La Cantera Parkway to Ralph Fair Road. HOV Lanes on US 281 between Loop 1604 and Stone Oak Parkway will be opening soon!

High-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes allow vehicles with two or more passengers to bypass traffic in regular lanes - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are free to use and open 24/7.

Learn more about how HOV lanes work and how you can use them!

Who can use the HOV lane?

HOV lanes are specifically designated lanes on the inside left of a highway that are exclusively reserved for vehicles carrying 2+ (two or more passengers), such as:

  • Public transit vehicles
  • Carpools and vanpools
  • Motorcycles
  • Emergency and Law Enforcement

Children and infants count as passengers so family carpools are eligible to use the HOV lanes. Trailer towing is prohibited and bicycles and pedestrians are not permitted.

How do I use the HOV lane?

HOV lanes do not require any special car tags and they are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – completely free to users.

  1. Look for black and white HOV entrance signs on the highway.
  2. If you are eligible, carefully merge into the HOV access lane.
  3. Make sure that your desired exit is past when the HOV lane ends.
  4. Merge out of the HOV lane at designated exits while paying attention to the flow of traffic.
  5. Done!

HOV lanes are signified with a 2+ HOV lane sign. Located in the furthest left lane, HOV lanes are delineated from general purpose lanes by diamonds painted on the pavement. Dotted white lines indicate when drivers can change lanes to enter the HOV lane.

How do HOV lanes help with traffic?

HOV lanes are intended to incentivize throughput (the movement of more persons per vehicle, per lane) and save time for carpoolers and bus riders by enabling them to bypass areas with the heaviest traffic congestion. The HOV lane is rarely congested because most drivers, especially during rush hours, are driving alone. HOV lanes also incentivize more efficient modes of travel like transit, carpooling, and vanpooling because users can bypass traffic.

How are HOV lanes enforced?

HOV passenger regulations are enforced by the San Antonio Police Department. Drivers that are not eligible to use the HOV lanes may be stopped and cited by the San Antonio Police Department or they will simply be redirected back into the slower-moving general-purpose travel lanes.

How do I find a carpool/vanpool?

Alamo Commutes provides free carpool and vanpool matching. Visit our website or download the Alamo Commutes mobile app to create your profile and find a carpool partner or vanpool route. From there, you can contact potential matches or vanpools.

Enjoy faster moving traffic by sharing the ride! For more information on HOV lanes, visit VIA Metropolitan Transit.