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  • Waiting for a ride

Tuesday, June 29 KPIX puts Casual Carpool on the air!


Check out the blog video link on the left side of your screen (Carpooling in the Bay Area) and you can see the news segment (and maybe yourself!)that aired on KPIX-TV -Channel 5 – last night. Carpoolers (both drivers and riders), as well as myself, Commuter Gal, were interviewed from both the Vallejo and Oakland casual carpools. Kudos to Gerry Watson, KPIX producer, for putting together a great, informative piece on casual carpooling and the new toll issues!

The line today is at least a block long. If it’s vacation time for all the drivers, why not for the riders? After a 20-minute wait, I’m rewarded with a super ride in a lovely Volvo Sedan. The two young fellows in front are chuckling and sipping coffee as I get in and we exchange greetings. The driver is sporting a blue tooth and wearing a terrific pink dress shirt. Traffic is very light again and as we approach the toll area, I ask the driver if he drives the carpool regularly and what he thinks about the toll. “Yes, I drive most days. I don’t have to pay for parking, or I probably wouldn’t.” He expects riders to contribute to the toll. I discuss my concerns about the vulnerability of the casual carpool and tell him about this blog, and the KPIX interviews. He seems pleased to learn that he (and his shirt) will be a part of today’s blog and hastens to explain that he typically wears a tie with his shirts, and a suit, but not while commuting.

As we near the end of the trip, we talk about the possibility of early morning toll gate chaos as the new toll begins on Thursday. “If people don’t have the money, the bridge toll people will send them a bill”, he says. He thinks it’s about $28 if you go through the toll gate without paying. I checked after I got to work and there is a $25 violation fee plus whatever the bridge toll is. They take a picture of your car and license plate as you pass through the gate and track you down. If you ignore the ticket they send you, they’ll send another for $45 and after that they’ll come after you.

Be sure you have your FasTrak account set up by Thursday morning if you’re a carpool driver, and if you’re riding in a casual carpool, have a dollar and some change ready to contribute to the toll. One more day to go.