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Golden Gate Bridge to go to digital toll system

The Associated Press

3/27/2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The historic Golden Gate Bridge will take a high-tech leap forward when it becomes the first California span to replace all human toll takers with an electronic system that ends the need for motorists to stop and pay cash.

Toll takers will collect money for the last time early Wednesday before the toll booths are closed for good.

In addition to cost savings, the move is expected to improve traffic flow on the majestic span that opened in 1937.

"It was a difficult decision and involved the loss of some very dedicated staff," said Mary Currie, spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

Bridge officials say the new system allows drivers to pay using digital transponders that deduct money from a prepaid account or credit card, or through license plate scans that generate bills sent to drivers.

Under both methods, cash will no longer be an option.

Those who fail to pay will receive warnings and could ultimately have a hold placed on their vehicle registration at the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The switchover is expected to save about $16 million in salaries and benefits over eight years. Nine toll takers will lose their jobs. Another 17 have either been placed in other district positions or have retired, Currie said.

Bridge officials say there is one overarching message for drivers using the bridge on Wednesday.

"Just don't stop," Currie said.

 

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