Wednesday, June 9 “No Pay, No Ride”


Well once again I am the solitary rider with a long line of drivers to choose from. The first car is a bright red Dodge Avenger, a passenger already in the front seat, so I get in the back. This is a clean, new, pleasant car, with a tape of new age/jazz stuff coming out of the speakers. Before we hit the freeway I ask “Are you ready to start paying toll July 1?” “Sure. Just put my transponder in the window”, the driver replies. I ask him if he expects passengers to pay and he is emphatic – “Yes!”.

“What about riders who have no money with them, or only have large bills?” he pats the arm rest between the seats. “I think I’ll keep 20 singles and some change in here.” As for riders who can’t pay, he says he’ll probably give them a ride. He and the rider in the front seat speculate about cars with no transponders and what will happen. Then we’re underway and we retreat into our own spaces.

It’s a gray, overcast morning again, but summer weather is due to return for the weekend. Traffic very heavy, but the carpool lane is moving at 50 mph. We’re in the city in 45 minutes.

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