Golden Gate Bridge Toll-takers Reach End of the Line as New Payment System Begins

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Golden Gate Bridge toll collectors finished their final shifts early Wednesday morning as the bridge moved to an all-electronic, cash-free payment system.

The Golden Gate Bridge on Aug. 23, 2007 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The Golden Gate Bridge on Aug. 23, 2007 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

To remind commuters of the change, a 27-foot LED sign has been installed atop the toll plaza that says: "Do Not Stop, Automatic Tolling."

In another change for drivers, the bridge's board of directors last week approved raising the speed limit through the toll plaza from 15 to 25 mph to improve traffic flow across the bridge.

How to Pay Golden Gate Bridge Tolls

  • Commuters can still use the existing FasTrak system or open a new account and pay a toll of $5. All other payment methods cost $6. Bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie says that about 70 percent of southbound motorists on the bridge already use FasTrak.
  • Drivers can open a License Plate Account that charges a registered credit card every time the car crosses the bridge.
  • Motorists can make a one-time payment up to 30 days before or up to 48 hours after crossing the bridge online, by phone or eventually at "cash payment locations."
  • Drivers can pay a toll invoice that is mailed to the car's registered owner after the crossing with the help of cameras that capture passing cars' license plate numbers.

More information about the electronic conversion, as well as directions for how to set up an account, can be found on the bridge's website at www.goldengate.org/tolls.

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Payments can be made online, by phone or in person at participating locations listed online on the bridge district's website.

Concerns About Losing that ‘Human Touch’

Nearly half of the 28 full-time toll collectors who worked in the plaza are being transitioned to other positions in the district, while the others are being given severance packages, Currie said. The move is expected to save about $2 million per year.

Drivers often ask toll collectors for help during health emergencies, such as heart attacks or diabetic shock. Toll plaza personnel routinely report accidents and drunk drivers, and they give directions to the many out-of-towners who get lost.

Currie says the bridge district will run patrols to help motorists. And in an emergency, she says, drivers can always call 911.

Listen to a discussion of the changes on Forum. 

More: Golden Gate Bridge Says Goodbye to Toll-Takers — and to a Personal Touch for Travelers