'Congestion pricing' suspended on Bay Bridge, toll to remain at $6 everyday amid COVID-19 pandemic

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The San Francisco Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission announced Wednesday an end to "congestion pricing" on the Bay Bridge, meaning drivers will pay one toll price no matter what time they're crossing the bridge.

This announcement was made after a vote by the Bay Area Toll Authority.

The toll will remain at $6 everyday, no matter the time, effective Tuesday as of midnight, the agency announced.

This change is in light of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the lack of bridge traffic while Bay Area residents shelter in place.

Toll prices previously ranged from $5 to $7, with the latter price in effect during peak commute hours.

More than a 138 million drivers crossed the Bay Bridge and paid a toll in the 2018/2019 year, according to toll revenue data.

Since the pandemic began, bridge traffic has substantially decreased.

"The volume of weekday traffic across the Bay Bridge and the six other state-owned toll bridges has fallen about 50 percent below 2019 levels since the Bay Area's shelter-in-place order went into effect on March 17," the agency said a in a statement this week.

It's unclear how long the halt on Bay Bridge congestion pricing will remain in place, but California's COVID-19 shelter order is likely to continue while state officials evaluate the state's progress in stopping the virus' spread.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has identified six criteria for deciding when California may reopen and ease shelter-in-place restrictions.

The criteria includes California expanding testing and conducting contact tracing, being able to protect the state's most vulnerable populations, ensuring hospitals are equipped to handle surges, working with hospitals and researchers to find treatment and therapy for the virus, making sure businesses and schools can maintain physical distancing protocols and being able to re-implement strict measures, as needed.

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