With Free Ride Over, Fewer Carpoolers Drive Over Bay Bridge

No more free rides

Their free ride over, some carpool commuters are ditching the Bay Bridge.

The amount of carpool trips over the Bay Bridge has declined 26 percent since the $2.50 toll was instituted in 2010, according to the San Francisco Examiner. Beforehand, anyone driving with three or more passengers in the vehicle was allowed to cross the span into San Francisco for free.

Though bridge officials are fairly certain this does not mean a glut of new lone car trips: traffic on the bridge has increased by only 3,000 cars, according to the newspaper, which means that they're going somewhere else -- but where?

BART traffic is up eight percent, according to the newspaper, meaning the carpool change has put some more people on transit.

And many are still carpooling -- perhaps in cars jam-packed to the gills with commuters. The Bay Area's Casual Carpool system, where folks meet up at spots to grab a ride, is still thriving, the newspaper reported.

The newspaper also floated a lawbreaking theory: prior to the toll, many motorists drove through the carpool lane while driving solo. It risked a $381 fine, but it may also have artificially increased the carpool stats, the newspaper reported.

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