Carpoolers Lose Free Ride On All Bay Area Bridges

In Jan., the Bay Area Toll Authority approved a new toll schedule that charges carpoolers $2.50, half the regular toll, effective July 1 to cross the seven state owned Bay Area bridges. On May 28, the Golden Gate Dist. approved a $3 carpool rate.
June 1, 2010, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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On July 1, car poolers must pay to cross all eight Bay Area bridges - seven owned by Caltrans and managed by the regional Bay Area Toll Authority (the Metropolitan Transportation Commission wearing a different hat), and the Golden Gate Bridge owned and operated by the independent, six county Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.

"The bridge district's board of directors on Friday voted unanimously, and with little discussion, to charge tolls to carpoolers. Three-person carpools crossing the Golden Gate will be charged $3, 50 percent of the standard auto toll, and will be required to have a FasTrak transponder to get the discount.

One item that is not on the list, however, is a general toll increase. The Golden Gate, which typically charges more than the state bridges, raised its car toll to $6 in 2008."

From ABC News: Carpoolers will soon be asked to pay up: "For the first time since the 1970s, a toll will be charged for carpoolers on all seven of the state-owned bridges," says MTC spokesman John Goodwin.

Carpools and solo hybrids will have to have a FasTrak toll tag to pay the new $2.50 toll on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On July 1, 2010, there will also be a $1 increase, from $4 to $5 for all non-carpool vehicles on all the bridges except the Bay Bridge, which will have congestion pricing."

From MTC: New Toll Schedule Begins July 1: "On the Bay Bridge, (the) rate will vary according to the day of the week and the time of day - a concept known as congestion pricing. Tolls for autos will increase to $6 during weekday commute hours, dropping to $4 during off-peak hours on weekday" (See hourly schedule for congestion pricing.).

Correspondent's Notes: See below related links - the Golden Gate Bridge had planned to go forward with its own congestion pricing - which was dropped for a parking congestion pricing plan. See TRB Notes on Lessons Learned about the unsuccessful 1993 attempt by MTC to initiate congestion pricing on the Bay Bridge. Note that one of the three authors, Steve Heminger, is now executive director of MTC.

Thanks to Mark Brucker

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, May 29, 2010 in San Francisco Chronicle
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