High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes

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Experience the benefits of using HOV lanes! Streamline your commute, save time and money, and contribute to a greener environment. Ready to make the switch? If so, consider using High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in New York State.

HOV Lanes are designated highway lanes that promote carpooling and reduce traffic congestion. By using these lanes, you can enjoy the following benefits:
  • Save time by avoiding traffic jams and reaching your destination faster.
  • With the Clean Pass Sticker on a qualified vehicle, you can drive in a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane.
  • Save fuel by driving less and using less gas.
  • Improved air quality through reduced emissions by producing less greenhouse gases.
  • Improved safety and reduced risk of accidents.

New York State has three types of HOV lanes

  • HOV-2 lanes: require a minimum of two occupants per vehicle.
  • HOV-3 lanes: require a minimum of three occupants per vehicle.
  • Clean Pass lanes: allow single-occupant vehicles that meet specific emission standards to use the lane.
HOV-2 lanes are available on the following highways:
  • Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE)
  • Manhattan Bridge
  • Queens Midtown Tunnel
  • Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
  • Cross Island Parkway
  • Northern State Parkway
  • Southern State Parkway
  • Interstate 81
  • Interstate 90
  • Interstate 95
HOV-3 lanes are available on the following highways:
  • Long Island Expressway (LIE)
  • Throgs Neck Bridge
  • Whitestone Bridge
Clean Pass lanes are available on the following highways: 
  • Long Island Expressway in Nassau and Suffolk counties

Rules and Exemptions

The rules and exemptions for HOV lanes vary depending on the area of the state. Below are a few key takeaways and requirements: 
  • HOV lanes are only in effect during specific periods of the day or a full 24 hours, depending on the lane, and vary depending on the location. Drivers must refer to the posted signs.
  • HOV lanes are designated for motorcycles, buses, emergency vehicles, Access-A-Ride vehicles, ambulettes, and wheelchair-accessible vans. Commercial vehicles are not permitted to use the HOV lanes. 
  • Uber, Lyft, and taxi services are also eligible for the HOV lane if they meet the occupancy requirement of the lane. 
  • Owners of plug-in electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles registered in New York State can apply for a Clean Vehicle Sticker that allows them to use the HOV lanes on the Long Island Expressway in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, even if they are single occupancy. This exemption expires on September 30, 2025. You can learn more about the Clean Vehicle Sticker program at New York DMV | Clean Pass Stickers
To use HOV lanes, you must meet the following requirements:
  • Your vehicle must have a valid HOV decal or Clean Pass sticker.
  • You must have the required number of occupants in your vehicle.
  • You must obey the speed limit.
  • You can be issued a ticket if caught violating the HOV rules. The fine for violating the HOV rules varies depending on the area of the state.

HOV Lane Resources

These resources can provide more information about the specific rules and exemptions.

Clean Pass Stickers for High-Occupancy Vehicle Lanes on the Long Island Expressway 

New York's Clean Pass Program 

HOV Lanes - NYC311 


How to Find Carpool Partners

If you want to use HOV lanes but don't have enough occupants in your vehicle, you can find carpool partners through 511NY Rideshare. 511NY Rideshare is a free service that helps you find other commuters traveling the same route. You can use 511NY Rideshare to:
  • Register for a ridematching service that matches you with other commuters who share your travel preferences.
  • Post rideshare requests and offers on a forum to connect with other carpoolers.
  • Browse a directory of carpool and rideshare organizations in New York State.
You can also use 511NY Rideshare to access other transportation options, such as transit, biking, walking, telecommuting, and vanpooling.

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