Golden Gate Bridge tollbooths and toll collectors will soon be a thing of past as the span moves to an all-electronic system in 2012.
The Finance Committee of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District voted Friday, Jan. 28, to recommend moving ahead with the plan for the iconic San Francisco landmark, which would save at least $16 million over the next decade, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Golden Gate Bridge will be the first California bridge with unmanned, electronic-only tolling booths, John Goodwin, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bay Area Toll Authority, told Government Technology last year.
The new electronic system will combine the existing FasTrak, an electronic toll collection system that allows drivers to prepay bridge tolls and eliminates the need to stop at the booth, with one that photographs the license plates of cars going through the toll plaza and mails a bill to the registered owners. The toll costs $6 cash for passengers and $5 with FasTrak. Half of all drivers, and 70 percent of morning commuters, use FasTrak, according to the Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
The Golden Gate Bridge will join the growing ranks of roads and bridges that have switched toll collections to all-electronic systems.
“It’s certainly a trend, there’s no question about that,” said Goodwin.
Examples of roadways that have gone exclusively electronic include: E-470 outside of Denver, facilities operated by the North Texas Tollway Authority in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and the 407 Express Toll Road near Toronto.
Toll collectors have been on the Golden Gate Bridge since it opened May 28, 1937. The 30-plus workers currently make between $24 and $26 per hour, with medical, vacation and retirement benefits. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the new system will eliminate the jobs of 32 toll collectors and two vault workers.