This sensationalist and mindless Washington Post story on the one-year anniversary of I-66 tolling at least documents that the Virginia State Police have failed to effectively enforce against I-66 toll-cheating by solo motorists.
There is also evidence that some commuters are trying to cheat the system: solo drivers switching their E-ZPass transponder to carpool mode and hoping they don’t get caught. An enforcement blitz on the morning of Nov. 30 netted 13 citations for such commuters. In 10 months following the system’s opening, the state police issued 614 HOV violations, according to records.
Issuing 614 citations over 217 weekdays (which includes several non-tolled holidays) equates to fewer than 3 toll-cheating citations for every 8 hours of tolling. With one-way full-trip toll prices often in the $20-$45 range and fewer than 3 cheating motorists being stopped on a typical day, it's likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of solo motorists have been cheating the I-66 tolls and driving up the toll prices for law-abiding toll payers.
The following passage in the article reveals the ignorance and bias of the authors. The comment I posted on the WaPo webpage is copied below it.
Sadly, the authors of this sensationalist smear job either don't understand the word "users" or are incompetent at grade-school arithmetic. The "users" of I-66 are PEOPLE in cars and buses, not VEHICLES. While the majority of vehicles on I-66 may have only one occupant, each carpool has two or more occupants and each bus probably averages 25 or more riders. The 15,000 carpools equate to more than 30,000 people, while express buses using I-66 are now moving more than 6,000 people each day. Clearly, the majority of I-66 USERS while tolling is in effect (at least 36,000 PEOPLE on an average workday) are carpoolers and bus riders who ride toll-free and now have faster and more reliable trips. Failing to mention those important facts reveals the ignorance, professional incompetence, and simplistic solo-motorist bias of the authors.The number of vehicles traveling with two or more people on I-66 inside the Beltway during tolling hours has increased 25 percent since January, to about 15,000 from about 12,000, according to the VDOT report. However, the majority of road users are still solo drivers who are paying tolls.