Cofiroute USA, an Irvine-based tolling and express lanes operator, says it will deliver technical innovation under its new contract for toll operations on the 91 Express Lanes between Anaheim and Corona.
The company, a subsidiary of French transport infrastructure giant Vinci Highways, also plans to bid to provide similar services on a stretch of San Diego (405) Freeway elsewhere in Orange County.
Cofiroute USA has been providing services since 1995 on the 91 Express Lanes, one of the world’s first fully automated “free-flow” toll facilities.
Gary Hausdorfer, chief executive of Cofiroute USA, said the company will be completely upgrading the back office of the 91 Express Lanes operations to modernize it “in terms of toll collection, violation processing, accounting, website and customer interaction.”
That includes dealing with an array of customer issues online, including credit card upgrades and changes, as part of the end-to-end customer service operation, Hausdorfer said.
“It will reduce the amount of time that somebody would have to take to come physically into our office,” according to Hausdorfer. The system includes a call center in Corona that handles customer queries about violations, credit cards and other matters.
The back-office system is being provided by Chandler, Ariz.-based TollPlus, which was acquired in part by Vinci Highways in 2016.
Hausdorfer said the 91 Express work is “something that we have been doing for many, many years but we had to rebid and to meet the new functionalities needed to support the agencies.”
The latest agreement covering the 18-mile, four-lane stretch is worth $73 million over seven years and will serve 37 million trips per year, with motorists using a transponder to zip under the gantries for a “free-flow” ride.
The overall goal: “reducing congestion and saving time” while producing needed data from the operations.
Cofiroute USA was jointly selected by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Riverside County Transportation Commission after a competitive bid process.
OCTA took over ownership of the 91 Express Lanes in 2003. The Riverside County Transportation Commission opened its portion of the Express Lanes in 2017.
“Later this year, we will be bidding on the 405 Express Lanes,” Hausdorfer said. “There will be tolled Express Lanes added to the 405.”
The work would be similar in scope to the services provided by Cofiroute USA now on the 91 Express Lanes.
Kirk Avila, OCTA’s general manager of the 91 Express Lanes and the official directly overseeing the development of the 405 Express Lanes, said the bidding will begin around July and August as part of the massive highway widening project.
It will cover an approximately 16-mile stretch in each direction between the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway—just west of John Wayne Airport—to the Los Angeles County line, near the city of Long Beach, with two Express Lanes in each direction.
The express lanes are expected to open in 2023 as part of the approximately 5.5-year project, Avila told the Business Journal. There will be three in-and-out possibilities for accessing the lanes.
Avila said he hopes there will be “several” bidders for the 405 stretch.
Cofiroute USA handles comprehensive toll collection systems, roadway operations, customer relationship management and integrated technology systems for toll facilities and managed lanes in the U.S.
Parent Vinci Highways in turn is a subsidiary of Paris-based Vinci Concessions, which handles road concessions, operations and services globally.
Cofiroute USA is a California corporation.