Golden Gate Bridge Looks Ahead to Robot Toll-Takers

By Matt Baume
|  Monday, Apr 4, 2011  |  Updated 5:53 AM PDT
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Golden Gate Bridge Looks Ahead to Robot Toll-Takers

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Say goodbye to your friendly neighborhood toll-taker. Soon, the next time you cruise along the Golden Gate Bridge, your money will be accepted not by a human but by a machine.

Officials hope that the switch will save money and efficiency. Although it's still in the planning stages, the new system would take a photo of every license plate and then automatically debit the driver's FasTrack or send them a bill in the mail.

But there are still plenty of kinks to work out, according to the SF Appeal.

For example, nobody's sure how car-sharing programs will handle the fee. Figuring out which customer was driving the car when a toll was incurred will be challenging.

Rental cars are another point of confusion. It's unclear whether rental agencies will be allowed to charge renters a premium for racking up tolls.

Dealer plates and out-of-state cars could also throw a wrench into the system.

But one way or another, electronic tolls are coming. And not just to Golden Gate Bridge: in about a decade, officials predict, human tollbooth workers will go the way of the ice truck or the post office.

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