By Kurtis Ming

ELK GROVE (CBS13) — Cecil Houston’s family was among the first to drive through the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza after it got rid of its toll takers. Houston recalls the weekend of March 30, no one was there to take his money.

“It said do not slow. Go through. No tolls being taken this weekend,” he recalls.

Drivers who don’t have Fastrak and don’t prepay their tolls online or within 48 hours of crossing the bridge are now billed based on their license plate number and address on record with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Fast Forward more than a month, and Cecil says the first thing he received in the mail was a notice of toll evasion which added a $25 fine to the $6 toll.

“I said, ‘For what?’ There was no toll taker.”

Golden Gate Bridge spokesperson Mary Currie claims drivers only get a toll violation if they don’t pay the initial invoice mailed out. Cecil insists he never got one.

“We open every piece of mail that has our names on it,” he said.

Currie says between 250 and 300 customers have complained they didn’t get an invoice out of nearly 216,000 mailed out, which she says represents .0013 percent of all customers. She says it’s possible people are throwing them out thinking they are junk mail. The toll invoices are sent out in envelopes that say “Pay By Plate”. They do not state anywhere they’re for a Golden Gate Bridge toll. Bridge management is considering making a change.

“If we have to modify this envelope to make it more clear and to clarify things for the customer, then we will,” she said.

After Cecil contacted the customer service number, they reduced what he owes to the original toll.

“If it’s something we need to pay, we’ll pay it. Six bucks is not a lot of money.”

To see the various way you can now pay your Golden Gate Bridge tolls, click here.


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