Posted February 6, 2013

Golden Gate Bridge Announces
FasTrak Account vs. License Plate Account Standoff!
Which one is best?

With the new all electronic tolling system undergoing testing now (since January 30) on the Golden Gate Bridge, local drivers are asking lots of great questions about the new tolling system, anticipated to go fully live by the end of March 2013. Primarily, motorists are asking us the following questions [NOTE: answers to the following questions are included below]:

  • “What toll payment option is best suited for me?”
  • ”How do I figure out what I need to do by the end of March to pay my toll?”
  • “What about rental cars, how will they pay the toll?”
  • “What about visitors from out-of-state, how will they pay?”
  • “Someone borrowed my car, who pays the toll?”
  • “I sold my car but I’m being sent Toll Invoices for the new owner’s tolls, so who is responsible for paying the tolls?”

After the cut-over (to all electronic tolling) in late March, for all motorists crossing the Golden Gate Bridge that do not have a FasTrak Account , tolls will be assessed based on license plate numbers and the registered owner of the vehicle on file with the Department of Motor Vehicles is the responsible party for toll payment. Even for FasTrak customers, the license plate number is key, as it is the “back-up” for assessing the toll if for some reason the toll tag is not read when passing through the Toll Plaza.

Motorists crossing the Golden Gate Bridge will be able to pay tolls using FasTrak or three Pay-By-Plate options: License Plate Account, One-Time Payment, or Toll Invoice. How motorists pay their tolls generally comes down to the preferred payment method and frequency of crossings.

  FasTrak Account License Plate Account
Toll Rate (2 axles) $5 $6
Toll Tag Needed Yes, with $20 refundable deposit; households can request up to 3 additional toll tags No
Use Carpool Lane Yes, with 3+ people, bus, or motorcycle No
Open with Credit Card Yes, online is easiest Yes, online is easiest
Open with Cash Yes Yes
Maintain Prepaid Toll Balance Yes (Required) No (Optional)
Number of Vehicles on Account Unlimited Up to 5 per account
For Commuters Only? No, anyone can use FasTrak No, anyone can use a License Plate Account

Contact for More Information:

Please visit
Bay Area FasTrak Customer Service Center Toll Free: (877) BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655), outside CA 415-486-8655. Hours of Operation: Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, Saturday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

Answers to the Questions Noted Above:

Who pays the Golden Gate Bridge toll(s) when I sell my car and am sent Toll Invoices for Bridge crossing made by the new owners?
You MUST take action to REMOVE that vehicle’s license plate number from your existing FasTrak Account or existing License Plate Account BEFORE you finalize the sale of a vehicle. This will avoid the possibility of being sent Toll Invoice(s) which can escalate to Toll Violations(s) with penalties if unpaid for tolls associated with the license plate of the vehicle you sell. This is your responsibility.

When selling a vehicle, the DMV will require you to file a transfer of ownership as well as a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability. Learn more:

Who is responsible for the Golden Gate Bridge toll if I lend my vehicle to someone and they drive across the Golden Gate Bridge?
It is the registered owner of the vehicle on file with the DMV that is responsible for toll payment. Owners and borrowers must work out their toll payment agreement amongst themselves. For example, if the owner does not have a FasTrak Account or License Plate Account, the borrower may offer to make One-Time Payment up to 30 days BEFORE or within 48 hours AFTER the crossing. It is the registered owner of the vehicle that is responsible for all tolls associated with their vehicles license plate number.

How will rented vehicles pay the toll on the Golden Gate Bridge?
At the time of reservation, anyone renting a vehicle who plans on crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in the tolling direction (southbound into San Francisco) should ask their rental company/agent if a convenience–fee based tolling program is offered. The majority of rental vehicle companies offer such a program which is likely the most convenient toll payment option to use. The tolling program is part of the rental agreement.

If the rental company does not offer a tolling program for the Golden Gate Bridge, be sure to ask how that company assesses tolls on rental vehicles as the tolls are tied to the rental vehicle’s license plate. If the company offers no additional toll payment information for the Golden Gate Bridge, then you must take action BEFORE your first southbound crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge by making a One-Time Payment by telephone, online or at a nearby Cash Payment Location, or by opening a limited duration License Plate Account.

What if I have an out-of-state license plate, how do I pay my toll?
For vehicles with out-of-state license plates, if you are using the Golden Gate Bridge and/or any of the Bay Area toll facilities more than once in a year, you may open a FasTrak Account and pay the discounted toll on the Golden Gate Bridge. Alternatively, if you are passing through the area, making a One-Time Payment would be the recommended choice. A One-Time Payment may be made up to 30 days BEFORE or up to 48 hours AFTER crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.

If an out-of-state license plate cannot be associated with a FasTrak Account, License Plate Account, or One-Time Payment within 48 hours AFTER crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, a Toll Invoice is generated and sent to the registered owner of the vehicle for toll payment. You will have up to 21 days AFTER the invoice is generated to pay the balance due before the process escalates to the issuing of a Toll Violation and additional penalty fees are applied.