OAKLAND (CBS / BCN) – Commute-hour delays on the Bay Bridge have decreased by 15 percent in the first six months since congestion pricing was implemented on the bridge, according to data presented at a transit committee meeting Wednesday.

Metropolitan Transportation Commission Executive Director Steve Heminger told members of the Bay Area Toll Authority’s oversight committee that he thinks the decrease in travel time during busy commute hours is “very significant.”

On July 1, transportation officials imposed a new pricing scheme in which tolls on the Bay Bridge increased from $4 to $6 between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The toll is $5 on weekends.

The average delay during the morning rush hour had been 27 minutes but it has now declined to 23 minutes, according to a study prepared by University of California at Berkeley transportation researchers that was presented at Wednesday’s meeting.

KCBS’ Bob Melrose Reports On The Decreased Use Of Carpool Lanes:

MTC spokesman Randy Rentschler said, “There’s been some behavioral change due to the congestion pricing” but he added that other factors could also be at work, such as the poor economy resulting in fewer people driving from the East Bay to San Francisco for their jobs.

Rentschler said the study also provides some evidence that some people are using BART to get to work in San Francisco instead of paying the higher tolls on the Bay Bridge during rush hour.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

Comments (10)
  1. AndresIniesta says:

    WIth higher gas prices and bridge tolls, fewer drivers use the bridge, it’s that simple Einstein. The fleecing of America continues.

    1. jbquick says:

      Yes, maybe. but the daily commute headache doesn’t change. It would be great if they eliminate the stupid metering lights. They just waste time and energy. the fasttrak is still the slowtrak.

  2. joe says:

    that picture is fake — my car is not red.

  3. Bob says:

    Maybe I’m a lot older then everyone else here but I remember that they said the bridge would be paid for and we would cross for free when that happened, just another lie from Sacramento and I won’t vote to keep the TEMPERORY taxes for 5 more years in June because they lie and those taxes will NEVER go away just like the FREE bridge tolls.

  4. Jim says:

    Bob, I remember that time too. My worry now is that with decreased traffic, they will see that there is “decreased revenue” and raise the tolls yet again. I do not believe that the tolls will ever go away, decrease, or remain temporary. When it was reported that they were going to vote on increasing the FastTrak lanes and charge for the carpool lanes, they had already put the truss in place for the tranponder receives months before it “passed.” Doesn’t seem like a truly democratic vote by predestination. Ho hum…I am but a useless, nonfunctional cog in the wheel and have to go to work.

  5. Shari says:

    I agree with you. That is exactly what they said, once paid for tolls go away, nothing ever goes away because they use the money for an ongoing expense that we did not approve and then it can’t go away!