OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- As the new year begins, the Bay
Area Toll Authority (BATA) is making it easier for motorists to enjoy a
faster and easier commute -- with FasTrak(R) electronic toll collection.
FasTrak(R) toll tags are now available at 15 Costco warehouse stores in the
Bay Area. Toll tags also are being delivered to 51 Safeway stores and four
Safeway gas stations around the region, with all stores expected to have
the tags in stock by Wednesday, January 10. A complete list of
participating Costco and Safeway locations is available on the FasTrak(R)
Web site at bayareafastrak.org.
"With the toll tags available at Costco and Safeway, FasTrak(R)
enrollment becomes a lot more convenient for a lot more people," said Marin
County Supervisor Steve Kinsey, who chairs BATA's Oversight Committee.
"FasTrak(R) can help you save money, too. The Golden Gate Bridge currently
has a $1 discount for FasTrak(R) users, the Bay Area's seven state-owned
toll bridges are offering a $1 discount for FasTrak(R) through the end of
January, and the new retail distribution program allows customers to get up
to $10.50 in free tolls."
The upfront cost for obtaining a FasTrak(R) toll tag through the retail
program ranges from $24.99 at Costco to $26 at Safeway. At store checkout,
the tag will be loaded with $25, of which $5 is immediately available for
paying tolls and $20 is temporarily held as a deposit until the customer
registers the tag online at 511.org or bayareafastrak.org. Once the toll
tag has been registered and linked to a credit card for replenishment, the
$20 deposit will be transferred to the customer's prepaid toll balance.
(Customers who do not link their FasTrak(R) account to a credit card can
still pick up a toll tag at Costco or Safeway, but $20 of their initial
payment will be held as a deposit and they will have to send a check to
increase their prepaid toll balance.) BATA will then add $5 in free tolls
($5.50 for Costco customers) to all new FasTrak(R) accounts registered
through the retail distribution program, and partner American Express will
add another $3 in free tolls ($5 in free tolls for Costco shoppers) for
customers who opt to use an American Express(R) Card to replenish their
"The retail program is the result of some great partnerships between
BATA, the retailers, American Express and ACS, which operates the
FasTrak(R) customer service center," said Rod McMillan, director of bridge
operations and oversight for BATA. "We really appreciate the work our
partners have done to improve mobility for Bay Area motorists."
The retail distribution initiative is part of the FasTrak(R) Strategic
Plan that BATA adopted in June 2006 to expand and improve electronic toll
collection in the Bay Area. The plan's goals are to make the toll plazas at
the region's toll bridges function more efficiently, and to boost the
percentage of motorists who use FasTrak(R). Currently, there are more than
570,000 FasTrak(R) account holders in the Bay Area. During peak periods,
FasTrak(R)-equipped vehicles account for about 70 percent of morning
commute traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge and 44 percent on the region's
seven state- owned bridges.
FasTrak(R) can be used in all lanes at all Bay Area toll plazas. During
2007, BATA will convert more cash lanes to FasTrak(R)-only lanes. This will
be accompanied by lane striping and signage improvements to separate
FasTrak(R) traffic and cash tollpayers as far in advance of the toll plazas
as possible. In addition, the Strategic Plan calls for FasTrak(R)-only
lanes to be grouped together at the left side of the toll plazas to the
extent feasible, with cash lanes to the right side of the toll plazas and
plaza approaches. The complete FasTrak(R) Strategic Plan is available on
the BATA Web site at http://bata.mtc.ca.gov .
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency
for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. BATA, which is directed by the
same policy board as MTC, administers toll revenues from the Bay Area's
seven state-owned toll bridges. Toll revenues from the Golden Gate Bridge
are administered by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation
District, which joined with BATA to operate a single regional FasTrak(R)
customer service center in San Francisco.
SOURCE Metropolitan Transportation Commission