Bay Bridge toll plaza (Courtesy photo)

Bay Bridge toll plaza (Courtesy photo)

New system for collecting tolls at state-owned bridges goes into effect Friday

On Monday, the Bay Area Toll Authority announced that a new all-electronic toll collection system will start after midnight New Year’s Eve on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, San Francisco-Oakland Bay and San Mateo-Hayward bridges.

Customer who pay their tolls with a FasTrak tag or a license-plate account will see no difference in their statements, but drivers who are not enrolled in either program will also receive a monthly invoice for all toll bridge crossings from Friday on.

After cash toll collection was suspended on March 21 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these drivers were sent individual toll notices for each bridge crossing.

The all-electronic toll collection system being introduced in 2021 at the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges is similar to the system used at the Golden Gate Bridge, which adopted all-electronic tolling in 2013. Automated, high-speed cameras will capture images of license plates, and the FasTrak customer service center will process the images and then mail an invoice each month to the address at which the vehicle is registered with the DMV.

The debut of all-electronic tolling and monthly invoicing at the state-owned bridges will mark the return of toll payment rules that were temporarily suspended in March.

Drivers who do not have FasTrak or a License Plate Account — and who do not use the online one-time payment option — will be required to return invoices with payment within 30 days. Those who neglect to return payment within 30 days will receive a “Notice of Toll Evasion” with a $25 penalty for each toll crossing.

Drivers who do not return invoices with payment after 60 days will receive a “Second Notice of Delinquent Toll Evasion” with a violation penalty of $70 per crossing. Customers who do not return payment after a second notice may have a hold put on their vehicle registration by the DMV and/or have the amount owed referred to a collection agency.

BATA encourages drivers who do not already have FasTrak to open accounts online at www.bayareafastrak.org or by phone at (877) 229-8655. Customers also may obtain FasTrak tags at select Costco and Walgreens stores.

Drivers also may open a License Plate Account, which links a license plate to a credit card and charges that card whenever the vehicle crosses a toll bridge; or make a one-time payment, which allows the customer to pay a toll online up to 30 days in advance of a bridge crossing or within 48 hours afterward. There are no fees for either of these services.

More information about License Plate Accounts and one-time payments is available at www.bayareafastrak.org.

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