One Week Warning: Tolls Going Up

Increase will costs drivers hundreds a year

By Lori Preuitt
|  Thursday, Jun 24, 2010  |  Updated 2:06 PM PDT
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Bike the Bay

Commuters, get ready for a change

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Here's you one week warning people.  Starting next Thursday, bridge tolls are going up.  Most people will need to bring an extra buck, but if you are among the 280,000 people who drive the Bay Bridge something close to an algorithm is needed.

The Bay Bridge is going to something called congestion pricing -- also known as time-of-day pricing. During commute hours the toll will jump from $4 to $6; weekends will be $5. Off hours the toll would remain at $4. Got it? Drivers who use cash are sure to clog the toll plaza booths as they dig for ones.

Tolls will also increase by $1 no matter the time of day or day of the week on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo bridges.

Another big change is that the freebie for vehicles carrying more than one person will come to an end. July 1 marks the introduction of a new $2.50 carpool toll. Carpool vehicles must use a designated carpool lane and they can't use cash. Drivers have to have FasTrak pass.  Got that?

If you drive something larger than a car, it gets even more expensive -- and even more confusing. Truckers will see a 300 percent fee increase. This fee also affects recreational boaters and RV users because the change will treat them the same as commercial truckers. The hike plan is based on the number of axles per vehicle and would double the price for boaters and RVers towing their rigs over bridges -- from the current $11.25 to $25.

All the changes are sure to trigger longer commutes and at least a few temper tantrums. Traffic guy Mike Inouye will track them and share the good ones during the morning shows on NBC Bay Area.

With more than a quarter of a million people passing over the San Francisco Bay each day, it's easy to add up the money the state will be making on the increase. 

These are the kind of stories that helps Lori Preuitt really appreciate living in the South Bay.

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