Golden Gate Bridge officials unveiled the new payments plans Tuesday that drivers will use once the famed span goes to an all-electronic toll system in February 2013.
Golden Gate Bridge District spokeswoman Mary Currie said saving and improved traffic flow were the reasons for eliminating the 32 tolltaker positions and going to the new cashless system.
“The primary reason we are moving in this direction is the financial savings that will be achieved,” she told reporters. “(It will cost) $3.2 million to get the system up and running… However, we expect to see a saving of approximately $19 million over an eight-year period…So it is a significant savings.”
Currie said 12 of the 32 tolltakers have already “transitioned out -- either retired, accepted other positions or left for other reasons.” “That leaves us with 20 tolltakers to place elsewhere in the organization,” she said. “Seven are interested in becoming bus operators.”
According to the district, 70 percent of the bridge’s daily traffic already uses Fastrak to pay electronically. Converting the remainder to electronic pay will improve traffic flow even more, especially on weekends.
“We anticipate seeing improvements in the flow of traffic during our peak periods of congestion.” She said. “The collectors will go away, there will be no stopping and everybody will keep on moving. “
While Fastrak will remain the payment system of choice, the bridge district will also have two “pay to play” options.
The first option will allow drivers to set up a license plate account. A bill will be mailed to the car owner each month charging them for each time they cross the bridge in the pay direction. While the pre-paid Fastrak accounts will save drivers $1 per toll crossing. The other two options will force the driver to pay the full price of $6.
The second option will be a one-time prepayment made at machines located in the Bay Area and possibly at rental car agencies.
The new system will be tested in December and rolled out in February 2013.
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