OAKLAND, CA — Beginning Saturday, Aug. 11, FasTrak® customers traversing the Carquinez Bridge will enjoy a faster commute as a result of the conversion of more cash/FasTrak lanes to FasTrak-only lanes at the bridge’s toll plaza in Vallejo. Conversely, the reduced number of cash/FasTrak lanes may mean longer delays for drivers who pay their tolls with cash, especially during peak traffic times in the afternoon and evening hours.
The new lane configuration will place the high-occupancy vehicle (HOV)/carpool lane and four FasTrak-only lanes to the left and seven cash/FasTrak lanes to the right during peak traffic hours (5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.). (See lane configuration diagram) To access the HOV/carpool booth, carpool vehicles will share the far left lane with FasTrak vehicles. During non-peak hours, the HOV/carpool booth will become a FasTrak-only booth. New changeable message signs will allow bridge officials to vary the mix of FasTrak-only and cash/FasTrak lanes during certain times of the day and on weekends. Because the Carquinez Bridge experiences particularly heavy traffic on Friday afternoons and evenings, bridge officials initially will keep the current mix of cash/FasTrak and FasTrak-only lanes at these times.
The new FasTrak improvements at the Carquinez Bridge toll plaza mark the second in a series of lane conversions by the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Caltrans at Bay Area bridges this summer. Similar improvements were unveiled on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge on July 9. “The changes are part of a comprehensive FasTrak Strategic Plan adopted last year to increase toll plaza efficiency and expand the use of electronic toll collection at the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges,” said Rod McMillan, BATA’s director of bridge oversight and operations.“ FasTrak-only lanes can process three times as many cars per hour as lanes where drivers stop to pay cash,” noted McMillan. “As more drivers sign up for FasTrak, traffic congestion and pollution from cars creeping through the toll plaza lines will continue to be reduced.”
The Antioch, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, Benicia-Martinez and San Francisco-Oakland Bay bridges also are slated for lane conversions and toll plaza improvements over the next several weeks. There will be no lane changes at the Golden Gate Bridge, which is owned and operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
As an incentive, customers who pick up FasTrak toll tags at select Safeway stores or Costco warehouses, and open their accounts before August 31, can receive up to $10 in free tolls. For information on incentives for new FasTrak customers, please visit www.511.org, or call 511 and ask for ‘FasTrak’ at the first prompt.
Caltrans owns, operates and maintains the state highway system, including seven Bay Area toll bridges. BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), administers toll revenues from the region’s state-owned toll bridges. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.
Randy Rentschler, BATA: (415) 778-6780
Lauren Wonder, Caltrans: (510) 286-6120
BATA/MTC Public Information: (415) 778-6757