DULUTH -- Interstate 85's toll lanes have brought in more than $200,000 a month since November, with about 20 percent of users not paying the toll.
According to recently released revenue figures, the first month of operation in October brought in $105,807. The number nearly doubled in November, and remained above the $200,000 through January. February's revenues were not available.
In its first four months, the 800,000 trips on the HOT lanes provided more than $750,000 in revenue, which goes to pay for staffers at the customer service center, tolling operations, equipment, maintenance and other expenses.
State Road and Tollway Authority spokeswoman Malika Reed Wilkins said officials are analyzing the revenues vs. expenditures and a clear picture should be available at the end of the year.
According to the statistics, about one in five cars using the lane are not paying the toll. Wilkins said the system does not differentiate how many of the non-toll drivers are carpooling. Others who drive emergency vehicles, transit buses, motorcycles and some specific alternative fuel vehicles can also use the lanes for free.
Originally, the authority expected 27 percent of trips to be non-tolled in the first year, Wilkins said, adding that the remaining months could give a more complete assessment.
And while the toll lanes -- which run 16 miles from Old Peachtree Road to Chamblee-Tucker Road -- have been at capacity for months, not all Peach Pass holders have used them.
While more than 140,000 Peach Passes have been issued, as of Feb. 29, Wilkins said a total of 57,168 unique transponders have been used in the lanes. Revenue figures do not include the $20 pre-payment cost of a Peach Pass, Wilkins said, stressing that the numbers reflect the toll transactions that occur within the lane.
In terms of revenue, SRTA's income will eventually include fines paid for violating the rules of the HOT lanes. A three-month grace period ended in January, but Wilkins pointed out that the 2,603 violations recorded in February also include violations from the Ga. 400 tollway.