The Bay Area’s harsh system of penalties for late payments on bridge tolls disproportionately hurts low income residents, people of color and non English speakers, according to a new report by the Bay Area public policy group, SPUR. The report found residents struggling to pay tens of thousands of dollars in late fees, as high as 12 times the original toll, leading to deepening debt and a block on vehicle registration. We’ll discuss equity issues in late fee penalties, calls for system reform and the new steps taken by the Bay Area Toll Authority to address the issue.
Bay Area Bridge Toll Penalties are Pushing Low Income Residents Into Debt
Commuter traffic backs up at the toll plaza to the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge on July 2, 2013, in Oakland (when cash was still accepted). ((Justin Sullivan/Getty Images))
Dan Brekke, editor, KQED News