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Wheelchair Taxis, Blood Delivery Solo Drivers To Get Access To Carpool Lanes

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The performance of HOV lanes in the Seattle are is worsening

After several tries, blood bank couriers and wheelchair taxis with just one person on board have won coveted access to carpool lanes in order to provide better service.

The Washington Legislature gave those marked vehicles access for one year on a trial basis. That despite concerns raised by the state traffic engineer about worsening congestion in the Seattle-area HOV lanes.

Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, chairs the state Senate Transportation Committee. 

"There was a little bit of pushback because are you letting more cars in the carpool lane,” he said. “We kind of looked at it—less than 100 (vehicles qualify). Will less than a 100 overfill the carpool lanes? Not sure, so let's let it go forward and see what happens.”

A report delivered to the Washington Legislature late last month said the performance of the carpool lanes is worsening as is. Only two of 12 HOV corridors that were monitored flowed smoothly during peak hours. 

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.