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Golden Gate Bridge toll-takers ending 76-year run

Mary Currie, Golden Gate Bridge public affairs director comforts Golden Gate Bridge toll collector Dawnette Reed after Reed received flowers from friends on her last day on the job, Tuesday March 27, 2013. The bridge will be converted to an all electronic toll system at midnight.

KENT PORTER/ PD
Published: Monday, March 25, 2013 at 5:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 8:05 a.m.

Today is the last time that humans will collect tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge as the iconic span becomes the first in California and one of the few in the world to convert to electronic toll collection.

The last toll-takers are scheduled to wrap up their shifts about midnight.

By the morning commute Wednesday, motorists heading south on the span are expected to roll through the toll plaza without stopping to pay.

"Just ride through. Do not stop," said Mary Currie, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

A 27-foot LED sign atop the toll plaza will remind motorists to keep moving. Currie said bridge officials may also employ a loudspeaker or station themselves near traffic to wave people through.

The second toll lane nearest the administration building will be a diamond lane dedicated to carpools of three or more people; FasTrak is required.

Motorists can use the other 10 toll lanes without restriction. The speed limit will increase to 25 mph.

FasTrak users will continue to pay a discounted toll of $5. Carpools of three or more people will pay $3, while most everyone else will continue to pay $6.

FasTrak holders, who represent a majority of bridge users, will continue to have the appropriate toll amounts deducted from their pre-paid accounts.

Motorists who have pay-as-you-go accounts will see that the amounts are deducted from the credit cards they used to set up the account. Such accounts can be set up at the bridge district's website, http://www.goldengate.org/tolls/.

Drivers who don't have one of those accounts or FasTrak will receive an invoice in the mail.

Payments also can be made at kiosks or with store clerks at the bridge, gas stations, grocery stores and at other locations along thoroughfares leading to and from the bridge, at first including several locations in Santa Rosa and Petaluma.

One-time payments, which also can be made at the district's website, can be made up to 30 days prior to crossing the Golden Gate or 48 hours after doings so. After that window, an invoice is sent to the vehicle's registered owner.

Motorists have 21 days to pay the toll without penalty. A $25 fine is tacked on if it is not paid 30 days. The matter is then referred to the DMV, which can place a hold on the vehicle's registration until the fine is taken care of.

The new system is costing $3.4 million to implement, including $520,000 to publicize the changes. It is projected to save the district $16.8 million over an eight-year period. The savings includes the elimination of 28 full-time toll-taking jobs.

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