HOUSTON -

METRO's HOV HOT Lanes are getting more expensive during peak hours, starting Monday. The rate increase is aimed at easing congestion on Houston's busiest commutes.

Traveling the Eastex Freeway from Humble to downtown in the morning will now cost Hot Lane users $4.50, up from $2.25.

If you take the Southwest Freeway in to town, the HOT Lane Toll goes up from $2 to $6.50. The same increase will apply to drivers on the Gulf Freeway traveling in from Dixie Farm Road.

North Freeway and Highway 290 drivers will see their tolls increase $2 to a total of $7.

These toll increases affect early morning drivers who are on the freeways between 6 and 6:30 a.m.

There is another big change coming to all the HOT Lane corridors; they will be open to high occupancy traffic only from 6:30 a.m. through 8 a.m. Previously that HOV start time was 7 a.m.

METRO says the changes were made based on traffic patterns, speeds and volumes in the hot lanes.