Golden Gate Bridge goes electronic, eliminates cash option

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 3/27/2013

Paying a cash toll and interacting with a toll taker is now a thing of the past on the Golden Gate Bridge, for better or for worse.

Electronic toll collection through FasTrak or toll-by-plate options that include online payments or invoices through the mail means vehicles no longer have to stop. The new speed limit through the gantry is 25 mph.

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District collects tolls only on southbound traffic headed into San Francisco.

The agency made the decision in 2011 to convert to all-electronic toll collection, hoping to save $16 million in costs over the next eight years. According to the agency’s website, 28 toll collectors have either transitioned to other departments or retired.

The agency website includes a video about payment options and to explain how electronic tolling works.

A five-axle truck pays $25 with a FasTrak transponder or $30 to use one of three toll-by-plate methods including a license plate photo and mailed invoice.

The historic bridge opened in 1937. The first cash toll was taken from a 1937 Packard. According to online reports, officials rolled out the same ’37 Packard to pay the final cash toll shortly after midnight, Wednesday, March 27.

Approximately 110,000 vehicles cross the Golden Gate each day, in excess of 40 million each year. The toll agency takes in over $100 million annually.

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