The news from our Metropolitan Transportation Commission is that you now have yet another reason to get a Fastrak and/or get in on a carpool. Check it out, below.
Don’t forget to look outside your window as you carpool on the Richmond-San Rafael. You won’t want to miss seeing San Francisco’s northernmost point (that private island on the left) or the B&B (can you see it on the right?) that drove Danielle Steele crazy:
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Richmond-San Rafael, Antioch Bridges to Get Dedicated Carpool Lanes
Cash Tollpayers Must Stay Right on Richmond-San Rafael Approach
OAKLAND, Calif., June 1 — Toll plaza changes designed to speed travel for carpoolers are coming this month to the Antioch and Richmond-San Rafael bridges.
Beginning in mid-June, carpoolers who travel across the Antioch and Richmond-San Rafael bridges during peak commute periods will be able for the first time to take advantage of dedicated high-occupancy vehicle lanes at the far left side of the bridges’ toll plazas — eliminating the need to stop at a staffed toll booth. Carpool commuters at these bridges currently use mixed-flow cash/FasTrak lanes, and must stop briefly at a staffed toll booth for occupancy verification.
In addition to the new dedicated carpool lane, work crews will restripe the westbound Interstate 580 approach to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge toll plaza to add a second FasTrak-only lane. During peak commute periods, carpoolers and other FasTrak customers will share the far left lane, while the center lane will be reserved for drivers who pay their tolls with FasTrak. Drivers who use cash to pay their toll will be restricted to the right lane of the toll plaza approach. Cash tollpayers may experience additional delays as drivers become accustomed to the new configuration.
The carpool lane changes at the Antioch and Richmond-San Rafael toll plazas come several weeks before the July 1 start of a new toll schedule that includes a discounted $2.50 toll on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for carpools at all seven of the Bay Area’s state-owned toll bridges. Carpoolers must use a designated carpool lane and pay their toll with FasTrak® to qualify for the toll discount. FasTrak toll tags are available online at www.511.org or at Walgreens, Safeway and Costco locations around the Bay Area. New customers who pick up a FasTrak toll tag at a participating retailer before July 15 can get up to $10 in free tolls.
The new toll schedule also will include a $5 regular auto toll at six of the state-owned bridges; and “congestion pricing” at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, with auto tolls varying based on the day of the week and/or the time of day. Bay Bridge tolls will be set at $6 during the weekday morning and afternoon peak periods, at $4 during weekday off-peak periods, and at $5 all day on Saturdays and Sundays.
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.