After replacing as many people as possible with robots in manufacturing, the good old toll booth worker is the next victim to be replaced. Starting next year, toll booth workers on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge will all be removed in favor of RFID toll sensors and license plate reading cameras.
The toll collectors had been a common sight on the bridge since it opened in 1937, but the district board of directors decided in a 13-2 vote to save $19.2 million over the next ten years.
In the new system, vehicles can use the FasTrak transponder system, or pay by mail after their license plate has been identified.
As is common with government systems, the FasTrak toll lanes do not work with out of state toll systems, including EZ-Pass and iPass. Also, since rental vehicles are often from out of state, your car rental firm may charge the base toll, along with significant surcharges.
The toll operator does plan to expand the retail availability for FasTrak, so when the new system is introduced in 2012, tourists planning to drive across the bridge may want to invest in a FasTrak transponder of their own or hope that their rental car company forgets about the toll (fat chance).