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Frequently Asked Questions:

What is MnPASS?
MnPASS is a Minnesota Department of Transportation program - a way to move traffic in metropolitan areas and make better use of existing roadways. MnPASS also gives solo drivers a commuting choice - an "express" service that will save them time.

Who can use MnPASS?
Transit buses, carpools, and motorcycles can use the MnPASS Express Lanes for free. Solo drivers and owners of small two-axle commercial vehicles who open a MnPASS account, can use the MnPASS Express Lanes on for a fee.

I am a solo driver. What do I need to do to try MnPASS?
Solo drivers who opt to pay a fee can enjoy a new “express” service as they travel the MnPASS Express Lanes. Here’s how it works:

1. Open a prepaid MnPASS account with a credit card or debit card.
2. Install a small MnPASS transponder on the inside of your vehicle’s windshield.

You are now ready to use MnPASS!

How does the prepaid account work?
Your MnPASS account is like a debit account. Open your account using a credit card or debit card online, over the phone or at the MnPASS Customer Service Center. The minimum prepaid deposit is $40.00. There will also be a $1.50 per month transponder lease charge because MnDOT owns the transponders and therefore takes responsibility for them when they malfunction. When the account balance falls below a threshold amount, usually $15, the account is automatically replenished from your credit card or debit card. You can choose to receive a free monthly statement by e-mail, showing the date and time of each charge. You will can also set up a personal identification number (PIN), which allows you to view your account activity online. If you choose, you can have a monthly statement mailed to you for a $2.00 monthly service fee.

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Can I use the ramp meter bypass lanes as a MnPASS account holder?
No, ramp meter bypass lanes are restricted to carpools, transit vehicles, and motorcycles. They are not part of the MnPASS system. If caught using these bypass ramps as a solo driver, you will be subject to a fine.

What if I use the MnPASS lanes without two or more occupants in my vehicle or without a MnPASS transponder?
You would be in violation of state law and subject to a minimum fine of $142. Minnesota State Law requires solo drivers using the MnPASS Express Lanes to have a MnPASS transponder properly mounted on their vehicle and a valid MnPASS account. The Minnesota State Patrol or other law enforcement officers will enforce this law. It is your responsibility to be sure that your account is in good standing and that your transponder is properly installed in your vehicle.

How do I install my MnPASS clip and transponder correctly?
1. Remove the mounting clip. Peel the white covering off the back of the clip, exposing the adhesive strip.
2. Position the clip with the large, curved end up and the two smaller prongs at the bottom. Place the clip on the windshield behind and to the right of the rearview mirror, where it will not obstruct the driver’s view. Gently press the exposed back of the clip onto the windshield to adhere it to the surface of the glass.
3. Place the bottom of the transponder into the clip so that the lower prongs of the clip cradle the transponder.
4. Gently press the transponder into the clip until it clicks into place. You should hear two consecutive beeps, which indicate that the transponder is active.

Please click the following link to view the MnPASS Clip and Transponder Installation Instructions

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Once I have my MnPASS transponder installed, how do I use the MnPASS lane?
• The MnPASS lane will be separated from regular lanes by double-white lines. It is illegal to cross these lines.
• Safely merge into the MnPASS lane at designated “MnPASS Access ” entry points. You may enter and exit the MnPASS lanes only at designated points.
• When traveling in the MnPASS lane, an overhead sensor reads your transponder, and the posted fee is automatically deducted from your prepaid MnPASS account.
• The fee will be posted on overhead signs just before the entrances to the MnPASS lane and will vary based on real-time traffic levels in the MnPASS lane.
• The operation is fully electronic — no tollbooths, gates or arms, no slowing down or stopping required to drop coins.

I am a MnPASS customer who normally drives solo, but what if I decide to carpool — how do I keep from being charged for that trip?
If you have a second person in the car, simply remove the MnPASS transponder from its clip on your windshield; that deactivates the transponder and you won’t be charged the toll. Be sure to return the transponder to its clip the next time you drive solo to avoid a fine.

Can I have more than one transponder at a time?
Yes, you can obtain more than one transponder and tie all of them to a single account. This is convenient for busy families and commercial operators with more than one vehicle. You may also transfer your transponder between vehicles – the choice is yours.

How much will it cost to use MnPASS?
The average peak period fee varies between $1.00 and $4.00 depending on the level of congestion in the MnPASS Express Lanes, and $8.00 is the maximum toll that is charged at this time. This ensures that traffic in the MnPASS Express Lanes continues to flow at about 50 to 55 mph. This concept has been used successfully for many years in Orange County, California, San Diego, and Houston, Texas. The fee that you see displayed on the overhead electronic sign just before you enter the MnPASS lane will apply to your trip. Your fee will not change no matter how many times the display changes during your trip.

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Can I use the MnPASS Express Lanes without my transponder, if I have my child in the vehicle with me?
Yes, the exact definition of "car pool," according to the Minnesota Statutes 2005, Chapter 169, Subdivision 65, is a "prearranged ride-sharing arrangement in which two or more persons travel together on a regular basis in an automobile, especially to and from their place of employment or to and from a transit stop authorized by a local transit authority." This statute can be interpreted in various ways, and MnDOT leadership has said that children and infants are considered passengers for the purposes of the HOV lane and ramp meter bypass lane use.

When, and why, are higher tolls charged?
The purpose of the MnPASS Express Lanes is to get people to and from their destinations faster, and a fee is charged for this service. When the MnPASS Express Lanes become too congested - meaning traffic is moving below 50 mph - the toll to enter the MnPASS Express Lanes increase. This increase is an attempt to slow the number of cars entering the lane, and thereby increase the speed of the vehicles already in the lane. If the MnPASS Express Lanes were not tolled in this fashion, the lanes would not continue to be an "express" option for motorists.

How will revenues collected from the fees that MnPASS users pay be used?
The fees will pay for operation of the MnPASS Express Lanes. Excess revenues will be used to improve transit and other transportation needs.

Can I use the MnPASS Express Lanes for free if I drive a hybrid vehicle?
No. At this time, individuals with hybrid vehicles must comply with the same rules as all other single occupant vehicles traveling in the MnPASS Express Lanes.

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How do I close my MnPASS account?
The account holder may return the transponder along with a signed, written note indicating why they wish to close the account. These must be either delivered or mailed to the MnPASS Customer Service Center at 2055 Lilac Dr. N., Golden Valley, MN 55422.

Once the transponder and signed, written permission are turned in, allow up to 35 days while we process the account closure, during which we will settle all remaining charges (typically the final $1.50 monthly transponder lease fee). After the account is closed, MnPASS issues a refund of any remaining balance to the credit card kept on-file. To this end, please ensure that all information on the account is up to date when seeking to close the account.

What's the address to return my transponder?
2055 Lilac Dr. N Golden Valley MN 55422

Why is money being taken out of my account when I'm not using the lane?
There is a $1.50 per transponder monthly lease fee which is deducted whether the lanes are utilized or not. For additional information please refer to the lease agreement.

What is the size limit for vehicles that can use the MnPASS express lanes?
Two-axle trucks weighing less than 26,000 pounds can sign up for a MnPASS account and use the express lanes.

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Can I cross the double white lines?
No. Violators will be subject to a $142 fine.

What does it mean when the sign says "OPEN"?
When the sign reads "OPEN", anyone with or without a transponder can use the MnPASS express lane without being charged a toll.

Which price do I pay on the sign?
You will pay the price displayed on the sign when you enter the lane based on your trip. There are two segments of the road - the diamond lane West of Hwy 100 and the reversible section East of Hwy 100 into downtown Minneapolis. You will pay the first price if you travel only one section of the road. If you use both sections of the road you will pay the full trip price which is the bottom price on the sign. You do not add the two numbers together.

Can I buy the transponder?
No - the transponders can only be leased. The cost is $1.50 per month for each transponder on your account. For additional information please refer to the lease agreement.

Can I use my E-ZPass or I-PASS when traveling the MnPASS lanes?
No - at this time MnPASS does not have interoperable agreements with other toll roads.

What are the hours of toll operation of the MnPASS Express Lanes?
Reversible lanes east of Hwy 100 to downtown Minneapolis:
Eastbound: In operation from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Closed 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. for directional change.
Westbound: In operation from 2 p.m. to 5 a.m. Closed 5 a.m. - 6 a.m. for directional change.

On weekends the lanes will be switched back to the east at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Hours may be adjusted for special events.

Westbound I-394 west of Hwy 100:
Monday through Friday - 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. The lane will open to general traffic the rest of the day and on weekends.

Eastbound I-394 west of Hwy 100:
Monday through Friday - 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. The lane will open to general traffic the rest of the day and on weekends.

MnPASS toll signs will read "OPEN" when the lane is open to general traffic. The signs will show a price when tolling is in effect.

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