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Call Kurtis: What To Do If You’re Caught Without Cash At The Toll Bridge

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Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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Drivers who get stuck in the wrong lane at a bridge toll end up stiffed with a $25 fine from FasTrak.

We have heard from people who made the mistake of getting in the FasTrak lane when they meant to be in the cash lane. One viewer told us she pulled over trying to pay, only to be told it was too late and she’d receive a fine in the mail. Others don’t realize you need to carry cash.

But Call Kurtis uncovered how you may be able to get out of a pricey ticket.

“We went to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for the first time. We had never been there before,” said Susan Larson.

It was a fun trip for her and her boyfriend. But rarely ever going to the coast, they say they didn’t know they would have to pay a toll coming home at the Benicia Bridge.

“We didn’t go through any toll bridges on the way there, so we assumed on the way back we wouldn’t go through any,” she said.

They didn’t have cash and the bridge doesn’t take checks or credit, so the attendant told her just drive through.

“She told me there’d be a fee for not paying, but I didn’t know exactly how much it was going to be,” said Larson.

It turns out it was a $25 fee on top of the $5 toll that came in the mail a week later.

“‘Toll evasion,’ made me sound like a criminal! $25 for toll evasion. I couldn’t believe it,” said Larson.

“If you don’t have any cash, just go through the toll plaza. You’ll receive a violation notice. There’s room on there for a written explanation,” said FasTrak’s John Goodwin. ‘

He says if you’re caught in that situation and you’re not a repeat toll evader, just explain you were caught without cash.

“I think the chances are excellent that the customer service staff will dismiss the violation,” said Goodwin.

It worked for Susan. After writing a letter to FasTrak, they waived her $25 penalty and are now asking for just the $5 toll.

“As often as I go to the Bay Area, I think I’ll just keep five bucks in my wallet for the next trip,” said Larson.

Even if you don’t live in the Bay Area the FasTrak recommends drivers get a transponder. They are free and linked to your bank account. Any money left on your device gets refunded when you return it.

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