More evidence that computers will soon take over the world: after more than fifty years of service, the toll workers at the Golden Gate Bridge have been replaced by an automated system. The reason for the change was to improve traffic flow and, so far, so good. But locals certainly miss those smiling toll workers during their morning commute.Golden Gate Bridge Toll Worker — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy
For visitors from out of town, there are a few options. All major rental car agencies will register your car for you, but be sure to read the fine print in the contract for any extra surcharges. If you're driving your own car, you can zip through the toll and a bill will be mailed to the address associated with your license plate. If you want to pay beforehand, you can sign up through http://www.goldengate.org/tolls/ and do a one-time payment through Pay by Plate. If you're planning on staying in the Bay Area for awhile, and you know you'll be going across the Golden Gate Bridge frequently, then it might be worth your while to sign up for a Fastrak account. Unlike Pay by Plate, the Fastrak account requires a cash balance, but Fastrak users are charged $5 instead of $6 to cross the bridge.
Whatever method you use, just remember this: don't stop at the toll, wander out of your car, and look for someone to hand your money to. Conversely, don't fly through at speeds over 25 mph. This is the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the marvels of the world. Drive at a reasonable rate and enjoy the sights!Golden Gate Bridge — Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy