No Cash on the Golden Gate Bridge – Um…what about new cars?



So, I’m the proud owner of a 2013 Prius Model II, a stonkin’ car I must say. It’s brand new; 18 miles on the odometer when I drove it out of the dealer. I’m in bliss, right?

Well, I live in San Francisco and employed for a company that has headquarters in Marin. My office is downtown, but occasionally I need to head to Marin for meetings. My aging but still solid 4Runner has had Fastrak for years and I don’t regret it, even when I notice the amount of my money they hold in escrow for the privilege of not paying tolls.

Well, the Golden Gate Bridge no longer has toll takers. I was at best dubious, but apparently things have gone pretty well since it’s introduction earlier this year. But, there’s a few glitches as you’ll soon see.

Back to the Prius, I also want to separately add a medallion to it to enjoy the convenience of Fastrak regardless of which vehicle is in use. So, I just run to my local retailer, pick up a new medallion and register it to my existing account, right?

Uh…no. Purchasing the medallion is easy enough and the online registration looks pretty straightforward. So, what’s the problem? Well, it turns out that you need a license plate in order to register your new medallion. Huh? it takes 4-6 weeks to get new plates in CA, so I can’t register the medallion for at least that long.

So, I’ll just share my medallion between my 4Runner and my Prius, right? Uh…no. it turns out that the new toll collection bots at the GGP require the medallion to MATCH the plate they were registered against! So, even though your account gets charged as you cross, it is a violation (and you get a ticket) if the plate doesn’t match (or, in my case, if you don’t have plates).

WTF?! I called customer service at Bay Area Fastrak and (get this) this is what she told me. Basically, I need to use my 4Runner medallion AND COLLECTION VIOLATIONS FOR EVERY TIME YOU CROSS THE GGB until you get plates. Yep, collect tickets; you heard me right. Then, they “promised” when got my plates that they would waive the violations.

Are you fucking kidding me? I have to illegally cross the GGB because DMV can’t get me real plates in a timely manner? I bought a car in Massachusetts and they handed me the plates before I drove out of the dealer. This is not hard folks. OR, just allow a valid Fastrak medallion with balance be debited REGARDLESS OF THE LICENSE PLATE ON THE VEHICLE!!!. You’re getting paid; why do you care what the actual license plate number is???

I can’t fucking believe it. Now, I need to continue driving my 4Runner to Marin until I get my plates. Unfucking believable!!!

An open letter to Paul Rose, SFMTA

Do you a actually ride Muni? I have a bad knee and would like to sit
down at a shelter waiting for a bus. Every morning, rain or shine,
the seats at the Judah and 36th shelter are SOPPING WET due to the
sprinklers and open back. And the open back opens onto lawn which is
inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. The shelter is UNUSABLE for
anyone who wants shelter from the elements or even wants to sit down!

Are you paying attention to the needs of your riders? Put a back on
this shelter NOW!


UPDATE: Here’s Paul’s response…

Hi Mark,

I do ride Muni. I will check with staff to see what the details are about this shelter and if there is anything we can do.