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NORCROSS: SRTA sees 'Positive experience' for Peach Pass drivers on I-85

7:05 PM, Oct 4, 2011   |    comments
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A bird's eye view of the I-85 Express Lanes from the Indian Trail overpass.

NORCROSS, Ga. - There were complaints from commuters Tuesday who, for a second day, said they were late to work because of the new Express Lanes on I-85 in Gwinnett and DeKalb Counties.

RELATED: I-85 Express Lane FAQ
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Many commuters said the toll lanes have simply made traffic worse adding as much as 30 to 45 minutes to their old commute.

If you ask anybody who travels the 15 mile stretch of I-85 that employs the Express Lanes and you'll hear a consistent response - the Express Lanes are virtually empty, while other lanes feel more packed than ever.

"We're hearing complaints that people's commuters are growing by 30 to 45 minutes if they're using those non-Peach Pass lanes," 11Alive's Duffie Dixon said to State Road and Tollway Authority Spokesperson Malika Wilkins.

"We're working right now with Georgia Tech to look at what it was before and what it is now," Wilkins responded. "I don't have that comparative data to substantiate that. I'm not saying that people aren't experiencing that. I'm saying we don't have the data to give your right now for that comparison."

"What would you say to those commuters, those very frustrated commuters?" Dixon asked.

"I would say we've seen a positive travel experience for those commuters who do have a Peach Pass and use the Express Lane and have experience a reliable travel time," Wilkins said. "We definitely encourage people to continue to register for a Peach Pass."

"The original idea was that this would relieve congestion along that corridor and a lot of drivers are telling us that its actually worse," Dixon said.

"What I'm saying is in terms of looking at data that says there is an increase really what we can go on is some studies that we have from about three years ago that said there was no discernable impact," Wilkins said. "Right now, we don't have the hard data to substantiate that."

"I'm certainly not arguing with the person who said that," Wilkins said. "But at the same time I don't that data to substantiate that. But, we will have it in about six to eight weeks."

The SRTA said Tuesday that 70,000 Peach Pass transponders have been purchased. Of those, 3,217 were used Monday.

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