Starting today, the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza will be testing a new Pay-by-Plate system meant to eventually replace human toll takers and provide an alternative to the existing FasTrak payment system. Like FasTrak, Pay-by-Plate allows drivers to save precious, rage-inducing seconds on their commute by eliminating the awkward exchange of paper money with another human being.
The pay-by-plate system works, simply enough, by connecting a credit card to your license plate number. From there, drivers can either load up their account with a prepaid amount or just pay as they go. The new human-free system doesn't get the same discounted rates as FasTrak, however.
The system test begins today and runs until March 27th, when toll takers are tentatively scheduled to disappear from the toll booths for good. The move, which will make the iconic bridge the first in the U.S. to eliminate all human toll workers, was approved by the bridge District's Board of Directors last year. The bridge will save about $19 million over the next eight years in salaries and benefits for the 32 toll workers who will have to find another bridge to work for come April. The human-free system will cost about $3.2 million to setup.