License Plate Law Cuts Toll Cheating On Bay Area Bridges

Matt Bigler
August 27, 2019 - 2:07 pm
 The moon sets as traffic backs up at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza while commuters make their way into San Francisco on the first day of the (Bay Area Rapid Transit) BART strike on October 18, 2013 in Oakland, California.

Justin Sullivan/KCBS Radio

There's been a dramatic drop in toll cheaters at Bay Area bridges, largely due to recent changes at California car dealers.

Last year, Bay Area bridges lost about $1 million a month to toll cheaters. Now, that number has been slashed to about $250,000. 

“We’ve made a lot of progress. We still have a ways to go,” John Goodwin, spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said to KCBS Radio.

The main reason for the drop is a new state law that pertains to car dealers, he said. 

“As of Jan. 1 of this year, vehicles that are  leaving new or used car lots are supposed to leave the lot with a temporary license plate that is produced at the dealership,” Goodwin said. “And it has been very, very effective.”

The cameras at toll plazas can now read those temporary plates and the cars' owners will receive a bill in the mail. 

Goodwin hopes the few cars that still have remaining dealer plates will be reigned in. 

“Our friends at the CHP and local law enforcement will make contact with those drivers and ask them what’s up,” he said. 

As a result of the changes, the MTC expects to get about $8 million in extra toll revenue this year, which should go right back into transportation projects.