Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) on Friday announced the temporary suspension of cash toll collection at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges until further notice. The move minimizes the risk of exposure for toll collectors and toll payers to COVID-19 during the public health emergency.
This temporary switch to all-electronic tolling will affect drivers who cross the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, San Francisco-Oakland Bay or San Mateo-Hayward bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge adopted full-time all-electronic tolling in 2013.
Beginning at midnight, toll booths at all Bay Area toll plazas will be unstaffed. Motorists who normally stop at a toll booth to pay cash should proceed cautiously through the toll plaza without stopping. Automated, high-speed cameras will capture images of the license plates, and the FasTrak customer service center will process the images and mail a toll invoice to the address at which the vehicle is registered with the DMV.
While invoices will include a heading that reads “Toll Violation Notice,” these transactions will not be considered violations, and the amount due on each notice will be for the toll amount only. The FasTrak customer service center will waive all toll violation penalties during the period in which cash toll collection is suspended. The escalation of penalties for previous unpaid toll crossings will also be suspended. This will include a temporary halt to referrals to the DMV for a hold on vehicle registration after a second toll violation notice has gone unpaid.
Motorists who normally use a FasTrak toll tag or license plate account for toll collection will not notice a difference in their statement.
Caltrans and BATA encourage toll bridge customers who do not already have a FasTrak account to open one online at www.bayareafastrak.org or by phone at 1-877-229-8655 (BAY-TOLL). Customers also can obtain a FasTrak toll tag at Costco or Walgreens stores and then activate their new accounts online. For a map of retail locations at which FasTrak toll tags are available, visit https://www.bayareafastrak.org/en/howitworks/retailmap.html.
Caltrans and BATA will monitor toll bridge operations and heed ongoing public health guidance before making any decisions about resuming cash toll collection or extending all-electronic tolling.
BATA administers all toll revenues from the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges. Caltrans owns and operates the state highway system, including the seven Bay Area toll bridges.