Top Ten Questions and Answers about
All Electronic Tolling
at the Golden Gate Bridge
January 30, 2013
1. With the Golden Gate Bridge converting to all electronic tolling, what will happen to the Toll Collectors?
The decision to convert to all electronic tolling was made in January 2011. Over the last two years, we have been working to transition the 28 full-time Toll Collectors who wish to remain employed with the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District into other positions. As of March 11, 2013, over half of these employees have either transitioned to other District positions or have retired.
2. Will the conversion to all electronic tolling improve traffic for motorists using the Golden Gate Bridge?
When electronic tolling with FasTrak was added at the Golden Gate Bridge in July 2000, the traffic congestion during the weekday morning commute was immediately improved, with typical wait times at the Toll Plaza dropping from up to 20 minutes to under a minute. Today, 70% of all southbound (the tolling direction) motorists use FasTrak, with the morning commute market share at 86%, the afternoon market share reaching 79%, and Saturday evening market share peaking at 59%.
Today, traffic congestion does occur during the evening weekday commute periods and on weekend evenings. Much of this congestion is due to the higher percentage of customers stopping to pay cash during these time periods. When all electronic tolling is implemented, cash will no longer be accepted and motorist will not stop at the Toll Plaza which should improve the flow of traffic during these times.
3. How will rented vehicles pay the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge?
At the time of reservation, anyone renting a vehicle who plans on crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in the tolling direction (southbound into San Francisco) should ask their rental company/agent if a convenience–fee based tolling program is offered. The majority of rental vehicle companies offer such a program which is likely the most convenient toll payment option to use. The tolling program is part of the rental agreement.
If the rental company does not offer a tolling program for the Golden Gate Bridge, be sure to ask how that company assesses tolls on rental vehicles as the tolls are tied to the rental vehicle’s license plate. If the company offers no additional toll payment information for the Golden Gate Bridge, then you must take action BEFORE your first southbound crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge by making a One-Time Payment by telephone, online or at a nearby Cash Payment Location or by opening a limited duration License Plate Account.
4. How will the District and Golden Gate Bridge customers benefit from the conversion to all electronic tolling?
Motorists will save time with no more stopping at the Toll Plaza, and experience the added benefit of improved traffic flow. Additionally, the District saves money as the cost of electronic toll collection is about half the cost of manual toll collection. The projected savings are estimated at about $16 million net over an 8-year period following full implementation.
5. What happens to FasTrak when the Bridge converts to all electronic tolling?
FasTrak services remain the same with two exceptions: (1) At the Toll Plaza, there will no longer be dedicated FasTrak-only toll lanes as all toll lanes will be open to process tolls electronically for FasTrak and the new Pay-By-Plate options; (2) If you use CASH to replenish your FasTrak Account, you will now have more options for doing so at one of dozens of new, conveniently located Cash Payment Locations.
6. FasTrak can only be used by regular commuters?
Any motorist who crosses the Golden Gate Bridge or other seven Bay Area toll bridges or Express Lanes in California can use FasTrak. FasTrak is a convenient way for all motorists to pay tolls electronically using a toll tag mounted in their vehicle. At the Golden Gate Bridge, FasTrak customers pay a discounted toll rate.
7. The new all electronic tolling program offers several toll payment choices, how do I select the option best for me?
Don’t fret—this is all new and it may take you some time to sort out what toll payment option is best for you – whether it is a FasTrak Account or a Pay-By-Plate option including opening a License Plate Account, making a One-Time Payment, or paying a Toll Invoice.
If your vehicle’s license plate is not associated with a toll payment (via FasTrak or License Plate Account or One-Time Payment), when your cross the Golden Gate Bridge do not stop - keep driving through the Toll Plaza. Images of your license plates are captured and within a few days a Toll Invoice is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle.
Your choices are to: (1) Open a FasTrak Account: To get a discounted toll on the Golden Gate Bridge, open a FasTrak Account easily by phone, online, or pick up a FasTrak tag at Safeway, Costco or Walgreens. (2) License Plate Account: If you prefer to pay as you go, open a License Plate Account. Each time your vehicle crosses the Bridge, the toll is charged to your credit card. (3) One-Time Payment: You may make a one-time payment up to 30 days before or up to 48 hours after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, online, by phone, or in person at a Cash Payment Location.
8. I still want to pay the toll using cash, how can I do that?
Once the full conversion to all electronic tolling is made by the morning commute on Wednesday, March 27, 2013, and cash is no longer accepted at the Toll Plaza, customers can still pay their toll using cash. There are several options available:
- A One-Time Payment can be made using cash at a Cash Payment Location. You just need to have your license plate number with you when you go to make a payment.
- You can use cash to purchase a FasTrak toll tag at select Bay Area retail locations such as Safeway, Costco or Walgreens; then, after you register the tag either online (www.bayareafastrak.org) or by phone at (877) 229-8655, you can replenish or fund your account using cash at any Cash Payment Location or at the Bay Area FasTrak Customer Service Center (effective June 17, 2014) at 62 First Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 (near the intersection of Market and First Streets).
- You can open License Plate Account online (www.bayareafastrak.org) or by phone (877) 229-8655; then add funds using cash to the Account at a Cash Payment Location. A cash-based License Plate Account requires a prepaid balance (the value of one toll), before crossing the Bridge.
9. What if I have an out-of-state license plate, how do I pay my toll?
For vehicles with out-of-state license plates, if you are using the Golden Gate Bridge and/or any of the Bay Area toll facilities more than once in a year, you may open a FasTrak Account and pay the discounted toll on the Golden Gate Bridge. Alternatively, if you are passing through the area, making a One-Time Payment would be the recommended choice. A One-Time Payment may be made up to 30 days before or up to 48 hours after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.
If an out-of-state license plate cannot be associated with a FasTrak Account, License Plate Account, or One-Time Payment within 48 hours AFTER crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, a Toll Invoice is generated and sent to the registered owner of the vehicle for toll payment. You will have up to 21 days AFTER the invoice is generated to pay the balance due before the process escalates to the issuing of a Toll Violation and additional penalty fees are applied.
10. What about vehicles with no license plates?
Motorists in vehicles without a license plate are responsible for paying their tolls. They can pay for up to 10 toll crossing at a time, up to 30 days before or with 48 hours after crossing, using the One-Time Payment option. Additionally, AB 1215 went into effect on July 1, 2012 to expedite the vehicle registration process for cars sold by new motor vehicle dealers in the state of California. In California, with the exception of new cars, vehicles without properly mounted license plates are in violation of California Vehicle Code Section 5200.
All Electronic Tolling Contact for More Information
www.goldengate.org/tolls to learn all about FasTrak and the new toll payment options coming to the Golden Gate Bridge.
To Open a FasTrak Account Online (using a credit card): www.bayareafastrak.org
To Open a License Plate Account (using a credit card): www.bayareafastrak.org
To Make a One-Time Payment (using a credit card): www.bayareafastrak.org
Call for information: Toll free (877) BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655); outside CA 415-486-8655