GoldenGateBridge-001.jpgThe Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District began two months of testing its all-electronic tolling system Wednesday morning.

The system, which will take effect in March, will eliminate 28 toll collectors and save the district $16.8 million over eight years, district officials said.

Cash will still be accepted at the bridge for the next 60 days.

The electronic system will give motorists the option of paying tolls by the existing FasTrak, three Pay-By-Plate options and an in-person cash payment network at locations yet to be established.

The cash payment network system will be tested later in February.

The three Pay-By-Plate options include a license plate account, a one-time payment and a toll invoice.

The license plate account may be opened, funded and maintained with a credit card, cash, check or money order. When the account is opened with a credit card, a “pay-as-you go” toll is charged to the credit card only when you cross the bridge.

When the license plate account is opened with cash, check or money order, the account must maintain a balance equivalent to a single toll. You may add up to five license plates per account.

One-time payments for motorists who make infrequent trips across the bridge or for out-of-state residents may be made by phone using a credit card, or in person with cash at cash payment locations yet to be established, or in person using cash, check, money order or credit card at the Bay Area FasTrak Service Center in San Francisco.

Under the toll invoice option, a bill for the toll is mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle that crossed the bridge.

Payments may be made on line or by phone with a credit card, by mail using a check, money order or credit card number, in person with cash at the cash payment locations and in person with cash, check, money order or credit card at the Bay Area FasTrak Customer Service Center in San Francisco.

The iconic span will be the first toll bridge in the state to switch from manual to electronic toll collections, District spokeswoman Mary Currie said.

“Everything went just as we expected,” Currie said about the system test this morning.

“We didn’t expect any glitches. We’ll be testing the hardware and software for the next 60 days,” she said.

The tentative date for the all-electronic tolling to begin is March 27, Currie said.

James Lanaras, Bay City News

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