DENVER -- Whether you like it or not, the free HOV lanes on Interstate 25 and US 36 will soon require three people to avoid the tolls.
CDOT said the change will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.
Right now, drivers can ride in the HOV or express lane for free if they have two people in the car.
"The reason we're changing it is to ensure trip reliability. These lanes are moving a lot of people -- they're also moving buses," said Megan Castle a spokeswomen with CDOT.
"A lot of people are going to be upset about this, is this just about making money?" asked Denver7 Reporter Jennifer Kovaleski.
"We understand that this is going to be a difficult change for a lot of people," said Castle.
CDOT also said moving the lanes to HOV3 will help bring in more toll revenue to offset costs.
Drivers had mixed reactions regarding the change.
"I don't think it's a good idea," said driver Daisy Thao.
"Maybe it would encourage more carpooling," said driver Nicodemo Casciato.
"I'm always one - so I always pay. So it doesn't really bother me either way," said driver Doug Weinmiester.
CDOT also said the new HOV rules will not make any exceptions for drivers with cars that can't accommodate more than two people.
"If your vehicle is not able to safely hold three people then you're not going to be able to travel for free," she said.
Local law enforcement will enforce the new rules, and if a driver is caught driving in the HOV lane without three people they could face up to a $250 fine.
CDOT said it will also be offering free HOV transponders to drivers who plan to carpool only. The transponders are needed in the express lanes to ensure drivers aren't charged a toll.
Previously, the transponders cost all drivers $15 - even if they planned to carpool and had no intentions of paying the toll.