SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The death of a Bay Bridge toll taker over the weekend after a truck smashed into her toll booth has prompted new calls to finally do away with cash tolls on the bridge.
The idea is not a new one, as the Golden Gate Bridge has been all electronic toll since 2013.
“It’s been great,” said Golden Gate Bridge district spokeswoman Priya David Clemens. “Toll takers used to collect 500 tolls an hour. With all electronic tolling we collect 1,500 an hour, so traffic can move much more quickly.”
Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman Randy Rentschler said the change could be done in a matter of months. “Right now in every single lane you can use FasTrak,” said Rentschler. “Right now you can go into any cash-paying lane and use FasTrak, its already fully equipped.”
There are also concerns the staffed toll booths invite crime. “There has been crimes out on the toll plazas,” said Rentschler. “Armed robberies, people with weapons have robbed the toll takers.”
However, Caltrans says switching the Bay Bridge to FasTrak-only tolls is will take longer than some expect. In a statement, Caltrans said, “any consideration of electronic tolling is a conversation for the future” and that they would need a significant amount of time to find new jobs for the 230 toll takers.
Rentschler maintains that in light of this weekend’s deadly collision, there will be renewed calls to move in the direction of cash-less tolls on all Bay Area bridges.