Will Congestion Pricing Cause Slow-Downs?

The Bay Area's first experience in peak-hour road tolling starts July 1. At 10 am, the Bay Bridge toll decreases to $4 from the $6 commute toll that starts at 5 am - will motorists intentionally slow to save $2 as they approach the tolls at 10 AM?

As Planetizen reported June 1, the toll schedule for the seven state-owned, Bay Area bridges (not including the Golden Gate Bridge) changes on July 1 (to finance seismic safety projects on Antioch and Dumbarton Bridges), marking the end of the 'free ride' for carpoolers.

"[T]he $2 toll savings could cause some commuters approaching the toll plaza just before 10 a.m. to pull over onto a shoulder and wait - or drive very slowly. CHP spokesman Trent Cross said his agency does not anticipate widespread trouble - or gridlock - on Thursday, but will be prepared."

From SF Examiner: Bay Area bridge tolls climb higher: "The $2.50 car-pooling surcharge and the $6 toll on the Bay Bridge will be applied from 5 to 10 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m. during the workweek. To apply for the car-pooling discount, motorists are required to purchase a FasTrak transponder. The $6 Bay Bridge toll has been touted by BATA officials as a congestion management tool, with the price hike projected to decrease the maximum delay time on the bridge from 27 minutes to 21 minutes."

Thanks to MTC Headlines

Full Story: Toll changes may lead to tie-ups on Bay Bridge

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Irvin Dawid's picture
Correspondent

"Casual Carpooling" on Bay Bridge - who pays now?

Bay Citizen's Zusha Elinson speculates on June 30, the day before the dreaded toll increase on all 7, state-owned toll bridges, including the first-time charge for carpooling, and the peak-hour commuter surcharge on the Bay Bridge toll are implemented, how the new, $2.50 carpool charge will affect the Bay Bridge phenomenon known as 'casual carpooling' in Tomorrow's Carpool: Not So Casual :

"The casual carpool — in which people with a fear of commitment line up and hop into complete strangers' cars for a free ride across the Bay Bridge — could forever be changed this week. With all the unspoken rules of casual carpool culture — riders don't speak unless spoken to, drivers get to pick the radio station — there will also have to be an awkward truce reached over how to split the new toll."

My own speculation is that each rider pays the driver a buck...but that means the driver pays 50 cents....unless 3 riders are picked up....which could mean that drivers mights want to increase their load by one as a carpool=3 occupants, and the driver pockets 50 cents:-(

Irvin Dawid, Palo Alto, CA

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