Changing amounts of money auto-withdrawn for FasTrak accounts vex drivers

Tuesday, May 31, 2022
How does FasTrak determine how much money to reload into your account?
The amount of money automatically moved into your FasTrak account can change -- sometimes leading to a surprise for drivers.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- FasTrak used to be a simple convenience. You could stop and pay the toll, or just zip past in the FasTrak lane. Now the toll booths aren't staffed and FasTrak, while not a necessity, is certainly an easier way to go.

However, the amount of money moved into your account can sometimes be a surprise.

Michael Zanzoni lives in San Francisco.

RELATED: Bay Area woman ticketed for using FasTrak lane when she didn't; still had to pay fine

"Right now, if you saw my screenshots, I have over $170, for what? $8 and $7 bridge tolls," he says.

The screen shot he's talking about has his FasTrak account. There is $170.45 on account.

The last time the Bay Area Toll Authority added money, it added $115. The account already had $57.50 in it.

Zanzoni says it used to take a lot less.

So what changed? 7 On Your Side asked John Goodwin of the Toll Authority who said when drivers sign up for FasTrak, $25 is put on account and is replenished when your account total falls to $15. After that, your bridge crossings are tracked and an algorithm applied.

RELATED: Thousands of Bay Area drivers dispute unfair FasTrak charges on freeway express lanes

As drivers begin their return-to-the-office commutes, many are using new FasTrak express lanes -- but some are complaining of errors and excess tolls.

"Every customer's account is evaluated once a quarter," Goodwin says, "and the replenishment amount is adjusted, or not, based on use in that previous quarter."

So what if Zanzoni does not want that much taken from his account. Is there a workaround?

"There is a workaround," Goodwin says. "He can drop the threshold to as little as $15 and he can drop the replenishment amount to as little as $25."

If you want the FasTrak account to take less out of your account, call Fastrak. It will change how much it takes.

Also drivers can rely on the Toll Authority to track bridge crossings using a vehicle's license plate number. They can then go online and pay in advance or within 48 hours after a crossing. If drivers do neither, a bill will come in the mail.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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