What MTC is Calling Congestion Pricing on the Bay Bridge Isn’t, Actually

Obviously, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission can charge whatever it wants on our broke-down San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, but raising the toll at 5:00 AM every weekday morning when the bridge isn’t congested at all is not what can fairly be called congestion pricing.

Call it something else, MTC. Call it a toll increase, if you want. Whatever you call it, it’s not an implementation of congestion pricing.  

Mssrs. Matier and Ross are highlighting this issue today

“Bay Bridge drivers are going to be forking over an extra $2 during the morning “peak” commute hours of 5 to 10 a.m. starting Thursday – even though the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which made the call, has stats showing the actual peak is from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m.”

Economist Bill Vickrey, the “Father of Congestion Pricing,” must be rolling over in his grave over there in New York.

What good does it do to send a signal to drivers that it’s better for society if they drive over the bridge at 4:50 AM vs. 5:10 AM? It does no good at all.


The latest missive explaining tings from the Ministry of Truth, after the jump.

Bridge Toll Increase Just Two Weeks Away

Get FasTrak® by July 15 and Receive up to $10 in Free Tolls

Rod McMillan – 510.817.5860
John Goodwin – 510.817.5862

OAKLAND, Calif., June 17, 2010. . .With just two weeks to go before a toll increase on the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges, the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) reminds drivers that several important changes take effect July 1. These include the debut of congestion pricing — also known as time-of-day pricing — on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is by far the region’s busiest toll bridge. Beginning July 1, auto tolls on the Bay Bridge will vary from $4 during weekday off-peak hours, to $5 all day on Saturdays and Sundays, to $6 from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays. The regular auto toll will rise to $5 at all times on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges. BATA invites Bay Area residents to visit www.mtc.ca.gov/tolls/ for more information about the upcoming toll increase.

July 1 also marks the introduction of a new $2.50 carpool toll, which is half the new $5 regular toll (and a $3.50 discount off the new $6 peak-period toll at the Bay Bridge). The discounted toll will be assessed for carpool vehicles that cross any of the region’s state-owned toll bridges on weekdays from
5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Carpool vehicles must use a designated carpool lane and pay the toll with FasTrak ® to qualify for the toll discount.

BATA has expanded its FasTrak retail distribution network to make it easier for motorists to enjoy the convenience of electronic tolling. New FasTrak customers can now obtain toll tags at more than 125 Walgreens stores around the Bay Area as well as at some 100 Safeway supermarkets and two dozen Costco warehouses. New customers who pick up a FasTrak toll tag at a participating retailer through July 15 can get up to $10 in free tolls. A complete list of participating locations is available on the FasTrak Web site at bayareafastrak.org.

Customers also can enroll in the FasTrak program online at 511.org; by calling 511 and asking for “FasTrak” at the first prompt; or in person at the FasTrak customer service center at 475 The Embarcadero in San Francisco. Operating hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Currently, there are more than 900,000 FasTrak account holders in the Bay Area. During peak periods, FasTrak-equipped vehicles account for more than 60 percent of peak-period traffic on Bay Area toll bridges. This figure includes the Golden Gate Bridge as well as the seven state-owned spans. FasTrak can be used in all lanes at all Bay Area toll plazas.

BATA, which is directed by the same policy board as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (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 customer service center in San Francisco. MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

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