Toll Taker Removal Puts Golden Gate Bridge in Fast Lane

CHP says it clocked drivers going 60 mph through the toll booths on Day No. 1 of an all electronic money gathering

By Cheryl Hurd
|  Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013  |  Updated 9:48 PM PDT
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A new era was ushered into the Bay Area Wednesday at the Golden Gate Bridge. For the first time ever there were no human toll takers at the toll plaza to take drivers' money. Chery Hurd reports.

A new era was ushered into the Bay Area Wednesday at the Golden Gate Bridge. For the first time ever there were no human toll takers at the toll plaza to take drivers' money. Chery Hurd reports.

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Last Human Toll for the Golden Gate Bridge

With the bridge switching to fully electronic toll collecting early Wednesday morning, the humans no longer had a place on the bridge for the first time in its more than 75 year history.
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A new era was ushered into the Bay Area Wednesday at the Golden Gate Bridge.

For the first time ever there were no human toll takers at the toll plaza to take drivers' money.

The last humans to man the gates were two women named Jacquie Dean and Dawnette Reed. They stepped out of their booths at midnight for the last time after collecting tolls for the past 18 years and 16 years, respectively.

 "It's like getting kicked out of your home," Dean said.

Mary Currie with the Golden Gate Bridge District said the entire toll industry is going cashless, adding that the Golden Gate just happens to be the first bridge in the Golden State to do so.

Instead of being greeted with a smile, drivers now get an 27-foot LED sign that reads "Do Not Stop, Automatic Tolling."

The first morning commute went off without much of a hitch. There were no reported accidents and only the occasional driver who stopped at the booth only to find it unmanned.

The biggest reported problem came from drivers who sped through the toll way. CHP spokesman Andrew Barclay said he thinks the new system is a good one because it eliminated any backup or congestion on the bridge.

The new posted speed limit rose from 15 to 25 mph to improve  traffic flow across the bridge, but the CHP said it clocked drivers going as fast as 60 mph.

:We had quite a few readings over 60 coming through the toll plaza which is a pretty terrifying speed to go through such a narrow space," Barclay said.

The all-electronic tolling is expected to save the bridge district  $16.8 million over eight years, district officials said.   

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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