SAN FRANCISCO -- Keep your wallet in your pocket.
At least when you’re crossing the Golden Gate Bridge into the City That Knows How. Starting Wednesday morning, the humans will be gone from the iconic structure’s toll booths, the windows will be covered and all-electronic tolling will go live.
Regular bridge crossers are advised to open a FasTrak account, which can be done online at www.bayareafastrak.org. Motorists using the system’s dashboard transponders get discounted toll rates ($5 instead of the usual $6).
The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District figures that about 70% of all vehicles crossing the bridge already use FasTrak accounts, which are good on all Bay Area bridges and express lanes.
Drivers without FasTrak accounts have three other options for paying the toll. They can open a license-plate account; each time a registered vehicle crosses the bridge, the driver’s credit card is charged the full toll.
Travelers also can make a one-time payment of up to 30 days before or 48 hours after crossing the bridge by phone, online or in person at a cash-payment location.
And finally, there is the so-called toll-invoice option. Vehicles crossing the bridge without having arranged payment will have an image of their license plate captured via camera and an invoice will be mailed to the registered owner.
Drivers who do not pay the invoice will receive a violation notice and will be fined $25 for each unpaid toll. The more violations, the higher the penalties. Eventually the DMV will be notified and will withhold future registration until the penalties are paid.
Bridge district officials say the conversion will speed up traffic and save money. More information is available at http://www.goldengate.org/tolls/.
Starting with the Wednesday morning commute, according to the district’s new slogan, motorists must “drive on through to the other side. ... No stopping, ever. Trippy.”