April 28, 2004

  

NOW MOTORISTS CAN OPEN FASTRAK™ ACCOUNTS ONLINE AT
 

Beginning Wednesday, April 28, 2004, to make it easier for all Bay Area motorists to open a FasTrak™ toll account, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (Bridge District) and Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) have joined forces to launch a web page www.enrollwithfastrak.com that provides a new feature-the ability to open a FasTrak account online using a credit card through secured technology.   This new online service is available for all new FasTrak customers using the Golden Gate Bridge or any of the Bay Area's seven state-owned, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) operated toll bridges.  

According to Bridge District General Manager Celia Kupersmith , “With this new, convenient online FasTrak account opening feature, it is hoped that even more weekend and evening commuters on the Golden Gate Bridge will be drawn to FasTrak and continue the trend of easing congestion.”

 

While the Golden Gate Bridge morning commute period has a very high FasTrak market share of 70% with virtually no toll plaza backup, the afternoon commute period market share stands at a sizable 52% and the weekend market share at only 35%.   Because of the lower FasTrak market share on evenings and weekends, some toll plaza delays do occur—this is where the new online application feature can help even more Golden Gate Bridge motorists choose FasTrak and further improve traffic flow during these times. Opening a FasTrak account saves money too-the Golden Gate Bridge Fastrak toll is $4 while the cash toll is $5. Since the debut of Fastrak on the Golden Gate Bridge nearly four years ago ( July 1, 2000 ), 85,000 FasTrak accounts are now opened and 48% of the average daily southbound vehicles (54,000) use FasTrak.

With the target date of June 1, 2005 , the District will merge its customer service center (CSC) operations located in Mill Valley with the Concord CSC previously operated by Caltrans and now under BATA administration.   The consolidated regional CSC, to be housed in a new location not yet identified, will bring more people to the FasTrak system by reinforcing that FasTrak is available and compatible on all Bay Area toll bridges, offering improved customer convenience while reducing customer confusion between the two FasTrak CSC operations, reducing overhead costs, and improving operating and auditing efficiencies. With the merger, additional interactive online account management features are also planned, including the ability to update account information such as license plate numbers, address, and credit card information.   Customers will also be able to pay toll violations, and monitor recent toll and FasTrak financial activity online.

The Golden Gate Bridge is not operated by Caltrans.   It is a special district, Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, formed by the California Legislature in 1928 as the entity to build and operate the Golden Gate Bridge .   The Legislature expanded this role in 1969 when Golden Gate Transit and Golden Gate Ferry systems were added to its mission.  

 

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

BATA and TOLLS ON THE SEVEN STATE-OWNED TOLL BRIDGES

Motorists who use FasTrak to pay their bridge tolls electronically on the Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges will get a four-month reprieve from the $1 toll hike that was approved by the region's voters in March as part of Regional Measure 2. On April 28, 2004 , BATA voted to approve a $1 toll discount for the Bay Area's seven state-owned bridges, from July 1, 2004 through October 31, 2004 . BATA also approved the designation of one new FasTrak-only lane on the Benicia-Martinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges, and three more on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The new lanes will be phased in over a three month period beginning in July 2004.

“We wanted to thank those Bay Area drivers who already have FasTrak accounts by offering a discount and to encourage others to sign on to use the FasTrak system, which can help reduce backups at the toll plazas,” said Steve Kinsey, Marin County supervisor and chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).

BATA was created by the California Legislature to administer the base toll revenues generated by the Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges. MTC-the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county region-provides policy direction and staffing for BATA, which began operations in January 1998.

For more information about the District, go to www.goldengate.org and for more information about BATA, go to www.mtc.ca.gov/bata