FasTrak(R) Toll Tags Now Available at Costco, Coming Soon to Safeway BATA, American Express Offer Up to $10.50 in Free Tolls



    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
 FasTrak(R) accounts.
     "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

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