Paying visitor’s bridge toll takes some advance effortJune 11th, 2012 by travis baker
The in basket: Bernie Golbeck writes, “A few weeks ago some out-of-town friends visited during a road trip. We all went to Tacoma to meet other friends in separate vehicles.
“We went through the toll booth ahead of them in order to pay their Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll. The attendant told us that he did not have any way to scan our Good To Go pass. We were instructed to drive through the red light and the camera would capture our license plate number and charge our account.
“We paid for our friends toll and they got the receipt. We never did get charged but our friends were mailed a bill for not paying! They mailed in a copy of their receipt but have yet to hear anything.
“There must be countless people who have a Good To Go pass going across the bridge with other friends in cars without the pass. Going through the scanning lanes and then pulling over on the shoulder to wait for the booth traffic seems to be asking for trouble. Maybe they would listen to you and your infinite wisdom and come up with a resolution to a pesky situation, like at least one booth that could scan a Good To Go pass.
“This also happens a lot to me on my motorcycle,” Bernie said. ”Other bikers don’t have the pass and I end up on the shoulder waiting for them and then I have to merge in a hurry when they catch up. Toll booths have been around a long time. This seems like an elementary glitch that should have been resolved years ago.”
The out basket: My infinite wisdom came up a bit short on this one. Annie Johnson of the Good to Go! office reminded me that I had written a Road Warrior column last September explaining the reason that they had discontinued the availability of transponder scanners at the toll booths.
“Last fall we completed upgrades to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that allowed us to read both the new and old Good To Go! passes,” she said. “One of the results of the upgrade was that customers can’t use their Good To Go! passes to pay at the toll booths.
“If you recall, we estimated that on an average weekday there were approximately 100 customers with passes stopping at the toll booth to pay their toll and with a cost of $90,000, we didn’t feel it was worth it to upgrade the readers over the toll booths.
“In December, we began photo tolling on the bridge so in a situation like one described by your reader, the easiest thing to do is to temporarily add their visitor’s license plate to their Good To Go! account. Customers can do this online, in-person at a customer service center or by phone at 1-866-936-8246. (They can also use any of these ways to remove a license plate from their account and as a reminder you can have up to six vehicles on one account.)
“Adding visitor’s plates to an account allows both vehicles to skip the toll booths and use the Good To Go! lanes. For vehicles registered on a Good To Go! account, but without a pass, the Good To Go! toll rate plus a $0.25 photo enforced fee will be deducted from the account for each toll transaction. This is less expensive than the cash toll rate and allows folks traveling in multiple cars to stay together.”
She also said they’ll be happy to work with Bernie and his friend to resolve the disputed bill. I sent him the details on what they need to do that.