FasTrak use avoids higher toll 

Car-poolers will have to pay up to $6 per vehicle to cross the Bay Bridge unless they use a FasTrak card, which will reduce the price to $2.50.

Tolls have long been waived for vehicles carrying a driver and at least two passengers over the Bay Bridge. But tolls are being hiked in July to help fund new bridge-related work and cost overruns in existing projects. Outbound trips will remain free.

Tolls to cross into San Francisco will rise to $5 on weekends and $6 during weekday peak times. The toll will remain at $4 during other times.

For the first time, car-poolers will have to pay to cross the span. The toll for a vehicle containing three or more people will be $2.50.

But lanes won’t be provided for car-poolers who want to pay cash, Metropolitan Transportation Commission Bridge Director Rod McMillan said Wednesday during a Bay Area Toll Authority hearing in Oakland.

Instead, car-poolers will have to pay the full bridge toll or use a lane set aside for car-pool vehicles equipped with FasTrak transponders.

FasTrak — a prepaid electronic toll collection system — is being heavily promoted. The system can reduce bridge labor costs and speed up traffic.

In an effort to increase uptake of FasTrak, toll charges and fines that are mailed to owners of transponder-free vehicles that pass through the car-pool toll lane will include a special notice.

“You’ll get a violation and what we’re thinking is some sort of insert in the violation notice that says that if you sign up for FasTrak, the penalty for the violation will be waived,” McMillan said.

To prepare motorists for the new tolls, scores of signs will be installed before July 1.

Large clocks also will be installed along the Bay Bridge, including at the toll plaza.

“The idea is to have as little arguing as possible at the toll booth about what time it is and what the toll should be,” McMillan said.

Similar rules could affect Golden Gate Bridge car-poolers. The bridge district’s board of directors is expected to vote May 28 to introduce toll hikes for the north-south span, including fees for car-poolers, who will likely need a FasTrak transponder for multipassenger discounts, according to spokeswoman Mary Currie.

Paying more

A new Bay Bridge toll will take effect July 1.

$6 New toll between 5 and 10 a.m. and 3 and 7 p.m. weekdays

$5 New toll on weekends

$4 Toll at all other times

$25 First fine for using FasTrak carpool lane without account

$467 million Tolls paid at state-owned Bay Area bridges this fiscal year*

$596 million Tolls paid at state-owned Bay Area bridges next fiscal year, following increases*

* Estimates exclude Golden Gate Bridge

Source: Bay Area Toll Authority

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