San Francisco Bay Bridges’ Toll Hikes Approved

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January 28, 2010 by   1 Comment

Nearly every driver crossing San Francisco Bay Area bridges will need to pay a higher toll starting July 1.

Wednesday  (Jan 27), the Bay Area Toll Authority bumped the cost of crossing the Bay Bridge to $6 during commute hours, and the price for driving across the other six bridges to $5, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The move will also impact carpoolers for the first time and those who pull recreational vehicles. Truck drivers will also see their tolls increase – but not for awhile.

The Golden Gate Bridge, which is owned and controlled by an independent district, is not affected.

The package of toll hikes unanimously approved by the authority after months of public hearings brings to the Bay Area congestion-based tolling and carpool tolls for the first time. About a dozen speakers asked the commission either to kill or reduce the toll increases. Among the opponents were casual carpoolers, and recreational vehicle and boat users.

On the Bay Bridge, drivers crossing during weekday commute hours – from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m – will have to pay $6. During other weekday hours, the toll will remain at $4. On weekends, it will rise to $5. The toll will increase to $5 at all other times on the Dumbarton, San Mateo, Richmond-San Rafael, Carquinez, Benicia-Martinez and Antioch bridges. Carpoolers on all bridges will see their free ride end, as they’re charged $2.50.

Truck drivers will see the steepest increases, but in an attempt to soften the blow to struggling truckers, their increases will be delayed for a year to allow them to negotiate with their customers to cover increased costs. Trucks and other multiple-axle vehicles will be charged $5 per axle. They now pay between $6 for a three-axle vehicle to $13.50 for a seven-axle vehicle.

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One Response to “San Francisco Bay Bridges’ Toll Hikes Approved”

  1. Jim Spellman on January 30th, 2010 6:51 pm

    Seen on the California RVer blog:

    “. . . In case that didn’t get your attention, chances are if you are an RVer, you drive a multi-axle vehicle — which includes trailers, fifth-wheels, and toads.

    That means that you would be charged on the same basis that a commercial freight truck driver would pay.

    Recreation advocates, which include boaters, campers, and recreational vehicle owners, would be gouged by a toll system that blindly bases charges on the total number of axles. Under the current system, the driver of a two-axle pickup truck towing a three-axle fifth wheel already pays the same –and unfair– $11.25 toll as a commercial big rig and trailer with five axles.

    But with the rate increase, this same configuration would jump to $18 after July 20ll and $25 after July 2012. A two-axle motorhome towing a car would see a fee increase from $8.25 to $14 in July of 2011 and $20 in July of 2012.

    An irony of this fee schedule is that a motorhome could unhitch its toad before reaching the toll plaza and drive both vehicles over the bridge paying only $5 per vehicle for a total of $10, or half what towing it across would cost. If that make no sense to you, $20 to cross a bridge is even more senseless — unless the “rich” recreational vehicle owner is being selected to fill the coffers of the bridge department. . .”

    Te obvious solution to avoiding these escalating fees is to avoid the Bay area completely, which make sense anyway, since the city is not designed for large RVs in the first place. Rather than taking US 101 up through San Francisco, RVers can skirt the area by taking I-5 north to Sacramento, and then west on I-80 to Hwy 37 in Vallejo. From there, they loop around the northern portion of the bay and pick up US 101 again just south of Petaluma.