Bay Area Bridge Toll Increases Impact Carpools and Motorcycles By Thomas Lewellyn
Bridge tolls across bay area bridges were increased this week and for the first time in 30 years carpool lanes in the bay area will no longer be free. This has bay area commuters upset. For commuters who travel the carpool lanes daily, including those who use the vanpools, the economic incentives have diminished and may lead to a decrease in the use of carpools. Motorcycles will now have to pay tolls, too. This causes motorcycle drivers the unique inconvenience of having to remove protective gloves to retrieve toll money from their pockets.
Not only are the tolls increasing, the tolls vary according to the time of day, proving to be challenging for those travelers paying cash. Delays as vehicles approach the toll plaza and scramble to find the correct change may also increase the likelihood of more auto accidents. As an Oakland personal injury lawyer, I have handled many cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents on the Oakland Bay Bridge.
Having Fastrak is convenient and may help ease the congestion at the toll plaza. The fastrak transponder will automatically calculate the correct toll according to the time of day and in the carpool lanes.
Caution on the bridges is always recommended, especially during this transitional period as drivers adjust to the toll changes.
Mercury News, 6/20/2010, New bridge tolls take effect July 1
Contra Costa Times, 6/29/2010, The Queen of the Road: Toll increases affect motorcyclists, vanpools
Bay Area Toll Authority, 2010, Bay Area Toll Authority