Freeway tolls could be reduced for low-income Bay Area families

An empty carpool lane on the flyover connecting I-880 and I-80 in Emeryville, Calif., on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. (Photo By Carlos Avila Gonzalez/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Bay Area transit leaders hope low-income families will soon catch a break when it comes to paying tolls. 

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission plans to introduce the Express Lane START Program soon. 

The program will apply to toll fees on Interstate 880 in Alameda County and will run for 18 months. After that, the program will be reevaluated. 

Solo drivers enrolled in the Express Lanes START program will receive a 50 percent discount off the posted toll and two-person carpools will receive a 75 percent discount. All Express Lane customers in carpools with three or more people travel toll-free. 

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According to MTC, applications for the pilot program are open

Those who qualify should have a household income no more than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $60,000 for a family of four), according to the MTC website