Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Golden Gate Bridge Toll Flaw

Yesterday, I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and discovered a small chink in its armor.

As I approached the southbound tollbooth I noticed that there were no cash payment lanes and my rental car wasn't equipped with a FasTrak transponder. After driving through the tollbooth, I wondered if the car rental company would receive my bill for the delinquent toll and then tack on a $20 administration fee.

The rental car rep at the San Francisco Airport explained that the new toll system required me to pay the toll on the FasTrak website using the license plate number of my rental car. If I paid within 48 hours the toll bill wouldn't be sent out. It turns out there's a key flaw in this system since I couldn't pay for a specific trip over the bridge. On the website, when I entered my credit card info and selected an effective date, I'd have to agree to pay for 30 days worth of trips.

I called the FasTrak customer support number and they could only narrow my payment down to yesterday and today, not a specific trip or amount, which means I may end up paying for other people's trips across the bridge in the car that I rented. The rental car service rep told me that 800 cars were reserved on the day that I picked up my vehicle so it's reasonably possible I may end up paying for more than my share. We shall see.

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