Better find a new carpool buddy: I-25 and US 36 are about to get new HOV rules

At the end of this year, Colorado will institute new “HOV 3” rules for high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Interstate 25 and US 36.
U.S. 36 in Broomfield. (Ken Lund/Flickr)

Currently, you can use the toll lanes on both highways for free if you have a driver and one passenger, along with an ExpressToll transponder.

Starting on Jan. 1, 2017, the requirement will be at least two passengers and the driver.

This change has been planned since 2013. The state says it’s a way to keep the lanes “free-flowing.” Presumably, the new requirement will cut down on the number of HOV drivers, forcing them either to start paying tolls or to find another passenger, either of which is fine by CDOT.

HOV lanes on I-25 run between 20th Street. They stretch most of the way from Denver to Boulder on U.S. 36.

If you can’t find a second passenger, here’s my suggestion:

Split the tolls, and don’t try to cheat the system.

The way these HOV lanes work is that drivers switch their transponders into “HOV mode,” which tells the toll system not to bill them.

However, police also can see when you’ve enabled HOV mode, and they will punish you for being a liar, the Boulder Daily Camera reported in 2013.


Andrew Kenney

Author: Andrew Kenney

Andrew Kenney writes about public spaces, Denver phenomena and whatever else. He previously worked for six years as a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C. His most prized possession is his collection of bizarre voicemail. Leave him one at 303-502-2803, or email