Bay Area bridge tolls to go up July 1

January 27, 2010 7:05:05 PM PST
Tolls around the Bay Area are going up starting July 1 and just about everyone on every bridge is going to have to pay more. But for the commuters who use the toll plaza regularly, they're the ones who will be paying the most.

The Bay Area Toll Authority approved that drivers on most bridges that now pay $4 will have to pay $5. At the Bay Bridge, tolls will remain $4 during non-peak weekday hours.

But during the morning and evening rush hours, those peak commute times, the price will jump to $6.

On weekends, the tolls at the Bay Bridge will be $5 and for the first time since the 1970s, carpoolers in the Bay Area will no longer get a free ride -- they'll now have to hand over a $2.50 toll at all seven state-owned bridges and will need a FasTrak.

Commuters are not happy about the changes.

"I will stop picking up carpoolers, which means there will be more cars on the road, and there's no benefit to me if I have to pay to cross the bridge," carpooler Rachel Cheng said.

"Any increase in toll falls into the laws of economics. You increase the toll, you're going to increase the demand for carpool and therefore increase congestion on the bridge," carpooler Victor Douglas said.

The $160 million a year the toll increase will bring is going to help in part to pay for retrofit projects on the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges. The only bridge that is not affected in the Bay Area is the Golden Gate Bridge, because it is not one of the seven state-owned bridges.