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Bay Area bridges say goodbye to toll booths

Bay Bridge
Robert Diam from Pixabay
Robert Diam from Pixabay
The Bay Bridge is expected to remove all toll booths by 2026.

Toll booths, a signature part of travel in the Bay Area, will soon be all but a thing of the past. Prior to the pandemic, 250 workers used to collect cash tolls around the Bay. In 2020, fully electronic systems replaced workers to avoid the spread of person-to-person germs.

Plans are in place to remove toll booths from seven state-owned Bay Area bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge, owned by Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, has no current plans to remove its booths.

The Bay Area Toll Authority has outlined plans to reduce the multi-lane toll areas where cars slow to pay tolls. Instead, systems will be switched to open road tolling and money will be collected at highway speeds. CalTrans oversees the Bay Area Toll Authority, which runs FasTrak.

Commuters could see changes as early as 2023 on the Benicia-Martinez, Antioch, and Carquinez bridges. The Dumbarton, San Mateo, and Richmond-San Rafael bridges are expected to switch to open road tolling by 2024.

The Bay Bridge plans are more complicated. Designers are working out how to best eliminate congestion. Changes are not expected to take place until 2026.