Bay Area Bridge Toll: What to know about electronic, cashless system

Lyanne Melendez Image
Saturday, September 7, 2019
What you need to know about cashless bridge tolls
Over the next five years, all Bay Area Bridges -- including the Bay Bridge -- will transition to all-electronic tolls. Nothing new for those with a FasTrak device.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- We told you about the upcoming changes at all Bay Area bridges as they get rid of all cash lanes. But so many of our viewers reached out to us online with questions. We thought we could help.

Over the next five years all of them, including the Bay Bridge, will transition to all-electronic tolls. This isn't anything new for those with a FasTrak device.

Those devices are attached to a person's personal credit card. But let's face it, not everyone has a credit card.

It will be a few years before all Bay Area bridges transition to all-electronic tolling, just like the Golden Gate Bridge did in 2013. We wanted to find out how it's working there.

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"If you do not have a FasTrak and you cross the bridge you'll receive an invoice by mail to the registered address for the vehicle. And it's not extra," explained Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz, the spokesperson for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway, Transportation District.

One of our viewers, Kaytlyn Ashley West asked, "What about the people visiting from out-of-state who have no reason at all to have FasTrak and the like?"

We went to a car rental company to find out what their policy was. So we found out that the big rental companies have a tolling program, but it does comes with a fee.

So in this case, if you just drive through, you would pay a $3.95 surcharge on top of the cost of the toll.

But as Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District told us, there are cheaper options.

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"You can go online and either prepay for your toll in advance or pay within 48 hours after crossing," added Cosulich-Schwartz.

Another viewer, Andrea Takemoto, asked us, "What about the people who work in the toll booths? Are they going to be out of work?"

The short answer -- they'll have other jobs, just like toll takers at the Golden Gate Bridge.

"We implemented the program over two years and we worked with our toll booth operators to transition into other jobs at the agency," said Cosulich-Schwartz.

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The Bay Area Toll Authority estimates that with this new system, they will speed up time at all of their seven bridges by three to seven minutes.

The Golden Gate Bridge saw immediate results.

"Before cashless tolling, we moved 500 vehicles per lane, per hour. After cashless tolling, we were able to move 1,500," he said.

And isn't that what we all want-- a seamless commute?

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