December 28, 2009


After keeping a personal diary of my daily carpooling stories over the last four years, I’ve decided to share some of them, and to invite other riders to add their stories, opinions, thoughts to this blog.

The biggest story right now  for all casual carpoolers in the Bay Area is the proposed carpooling toll – proposed by the Bay Area Toll Authority as part of their solution to their $160 million budget gap in 2010.

The proposed bridge toll for carpools would be $2.50 and be automatically charged through a required FasTrak transponder.   Other tolls are being increased as well (see cbs5.com/local/toll.hike.hearing).

How will this impact our 30-year casual carpool system?

Will there be fewer carpool drivers without the free toll incentive?

John Goodwin, toll authority spokesman says he doesn’t want to take away any incentives to carpooling, “but the fact is that the number of carpool riders on Bay Area bridges has gone up as the number of toll-paying cars has dropped by 13 million in the past six years, resulting in a yearly $52 million decline in revenue. ”  (see Michael Cabanatuan’s article  “More Costly Complicated Bridge Tolls Ahead” on sfgate.com, December 10, 2009)

Sounds like it doesn’t really matter to the bridge toll authority whether there are fewer carpoolers or not.  And with the new tolls in place, they’ll make money either way – more money, in fact, if you choose NOT to carpool and to drive your own passenger-less car.

The BTA votes on these proposals on January 27.  If you want to make your opinion heard, send your comments to:  tolls@mtc.ca.gov.

And let us know how you feel – about the proposed tolls,  how long you’ve been a casual carpooler, and your latest car pooling adventure.

Happy riding and happy new year!

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