Traffic / Toll Data

FasTrak on the Golden Gate Bridge

In 1972, the District began to pioneer development of Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) systems aimed at increasing traffic flow by reducing toll transaction time.  ETC systems utilize an electronic device mounted on the vehicle which sends a signal to a computer in the toll booth.  The toll is then deducted from an account maintained by the motorist.  

Working closely with the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association (IBTTA), the District conducted extensive ETC research and development.  By 1990, with ETC technology sufficiently advanced, the District had $1 million budgeted for ETC on the Golden Gate Bridge.  However, before the ETC system could be purchased, in September 1990, California Senate Bill 1523 was passed requiring the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to prepare ETC specifications for all California bridges and toll roads, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

FasTrak, the ETC system utilized on the Golden Gate Bridge, officially opened to the public on July 13, 2000. For more information about FasTrak, click here.

Traffic Highs & Lows

On Monday, January 4, 1982, a devastating rain storm struck the San Francisco Bay Area.  Earth slides and flooding covered the highway and roads north of the Bridge.  As a result, on January 5 and 6, there was very little vehicle traffic across the Bridge.  On Wednesday, January 6, only 3,921 southbound vehicles crossed the Bridge.  This compares to the average daily southbound count of 37,936 for January 1982.

During the evening commute on October 17, 1989, the Loma Prieta Earthquake jarred the Bay Area with a force measuring 7.1 on the Richter scale.  The Golden Gate Bridge withstood, undamaged, the most devastating quake to strike the Bay Area since 1906.  During this time of myriad traffic problems, extra bus and ferry trips were added to help smooth the commute as a flood of 30,000 to 40,000 drivers were diverted from the East Bay to Highway 101 and the Golden gate Bridge due to the failure of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge.  On October 27, 1989, an all-time record of 162,414 vehicles crossed the Bridge north and southbound.

Bridge Closures Due to Weather and a few Other Miscellaneous Reasons

The Golden Gate Bridge has been closed due to weather conditions only three times:

 

  • December 1, 1951: As gusting winds reached 69 miles per hour, the Bridge was closed for about four hours, about 2 pm to 6 pm.  A team of engineers inspected the entire Bridge for damage and declared it structurally sound.  The did, however, recommend that lateral bracing be installed.  In 1954, the project was completed and the wind stability of the Bridge was increased by 35 percent.

 

  • December 23, 1982 (some references say December 22): High winds of up to 70 miles per hour closed the Bridge for about three hours from about 3 pm to 6 pm.  The Bridge easily withstood the gusts.

 

  • December 3, 1983: Once again high winds closed the Bridge for the longest period in its history, 3 hours and 27 minutes.  Wind gusts reached 75 miles per hour, but again the Bridge suffered no structural damage.

 

The Bridge roadway was closed very briefly on separate occasions for visiting dignitaries President Franklin D. Roosevelt (date not known) and president Charles de Gaulle of France in April 1960.

The Bridge has been closed for very brief periods during the suspender rope replacement project (1973 to 1976). There were eight (8) closings of 2 hours each, 2:30 am to 4:30 am, to move equipment.

The Bridge was closed for the 50th anniversary Bridge Walk on May 24, 1987 from about 4:30 am to 10:30 am.

Traffic Safety

Today, 39 million vehicles cross the Golden Gate Bridge (see annual crossings).  The District works closely with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and other local law enforcement agencies to ensure a high standard of traffic safety.  The speed limit was reduced from 55 mph to 45 mph on October 1, 1983, to reduce the potential for critical accidents.  Further, since 1983, the CHP has provided increased traffic safety enforcement on the Bridge and its approaches.  On September 13, 1996, the Bridge was designated a double-fine zone to aid in enforcement of the 45 mph speed limit.  Since then, accidents on the span have been significantly reduced.

 


Toll History

The following is a chronology of Golden Gate Bridge Tolls from the opening of the Bridge to the present for two-axle vehicles.

 

Date

Toll for 2-axle vehicles (unless noted)

May 28, 1937
50 cents each way, $1 roundtrip, with a 5-cent charge if more than three passengers
July 1, 1950
December 1, 1950
5-cent charge for each passenger was eliminated
February 1, 1955
30 cents each way
October 1, 1955
25 cents each way
October 19, 1968
One-way toll collection begins, and tolls are collected in southbound direction only
October 19, 1968
50 cents southbound toll, free northbound
November 1, 1969
25-trip discount toll ticket book available for $6.50 (26 cents/trip)
December 1, 1969
25-trip discount toll ticket book available for $10 (40 cents/trip)
December 25, 1971
Replaced discount toll ticket books with 20-trip convenience ticket book for $10 (50 cents/trip)
March 1, 1974
75 cents southbound toll, free northbound, and 20-trip convenience ticket book for $15 (75 cents/trip)
April 16, 1976
Carpool (3 or more) toll starts and is set at free from 6am to 10am on weekdays
November 1, 1977
$1 southbound toll, free northbound, auto with trailer $1.50, 20-trip convenience book for $20 ($1/per trip)
July 1, 1978
Toll rate for Persons with Disabilities established at $10 for 20 trips (50 cents/trip)
November 17, 1978
Free weekday carpool hours expanded to include 4pm to 6pm, for 3 or more in a vehicle
September 14, 1979
Morning carpool hours modified to 6am to 9am, and motorcycles added as qualifying for carpool toll rate
March 1, 1981
$1.25 southbound toll, free northbound
July 20, 1981
$1 southbound toll, free northbound
August 21, 1981
$2 southbound toll from 4am Friday to 4am Sunday, $1 southbound toll during all other hours, free northbound
August 29, 1981
$2 southbound toll from 12:01am Friday to midnight Saturday, $1 southbound toll during all day, free northbound
December 1, 1981
$2 southbound toll on Fridays and Saturdays, $1 on all other days, free northbound, PLUS Saturday-only 20-trip discount ticket book for $25 ($1.25/trip)
April 1, 1982
$3 southbound toll for auto with trailer on Friday and Saturday only, free northbound
July 1, 1982
All buses free during carpool hours only and $2 toll during all other hours, free northbound
January 1, 1989
$2 southbound toll every day, $20 ticket book for 16 trips ($1.25/trip), and auto with trailer $3 toll every day, free northbound
June 11, 1989
$2 southbound toll every day, 17% discount for discount ticket book of 12 tickets for $20 (effective toll $1.66), free northbound
July 1, 1991
$3 southbound toll seven days per week, with a 26% discount available when purchasing either a book of 9 tickets for $20 or a book of 18 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.22), free northbound
July 1, 1992
$3 southbound toll seven days per week, with a 17% discount available when purchasing either a book of 8 tickets for $20 or a book of 16 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.50), free northbound
July 1, 1995
$3 southbound toll seven days per week, with an 11% discount available when purchasing a book of 15 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.67), free northbound
July 13, 2000
$3 southbound toll seven days per week, with an 11% discount available when using a book of 15 tickets for $40 (effective toll $2.67) or FasTrak electronic toll; free northbound
November 15, 2000
$3 southbound toll seven days per week, with an 11% discount available only when using FasTrak (effective toll $2.67), discount ticket books no longer accepted, free northbound
July 1, 2001
$3 southbound toll seven days-per-week with no discounts, and $1.50 per each additional axle, free northbound
September 1, 2002
$5 cash and $4 FasTrak, $2.50 per axle for each additional axle, free northbound
September 2, 2008
$6 cash and $5 FasTrak, $3 per axle for each additional axle when paying cash and $2.50 when using FasTrak, free northbound
July 1, 2010
$3 carpool toll; FasTrak required.
July 1, 2011
Multi-axle toll increased.
July 1, 2012
Multi-axle toll increased.

 

Why is the Bridge Toll $6 for FasTrak and $7 for Cash?

On April 7, 2014, the GGB toll increased from $5 to $6 for FasTrak users and from $6 to $7 for cash payers. The $1 increase was implemented to resolve the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) projected budget shortfall.

The District is a special district of the State of California formed in 1928 and is based in San Francisco, CA. The District is responsible for the operation of three public transportation systems: Golden Gate Bridge (GGB), Golden Gate Transit (GGT) and Golden Gate Ferry (GGF).

These public transportation services are provided using just four primary funding sources: GGB tolls, GGT and GGF fares, government operating grants, and other revenues (concessions, advertising, leases, contracts). As the most significant of the four revenue sources, GGB tolls are periodically increased to keep pace with inflation and to aid in balancing the District’s budget. GGT and GGF fares are also currently increased annually by 5% each July 1.

In addition to operating and maintaining the GGB, toll revenues are also used to subsidize the financial shortfalls of the operation of GGT and GGF services. For example, in FY 2008/2009, approximately 41% of GGT and GGF public transit operations will be funded by GGB tolls, with another 23% coming from GGT and GGF fares, 17% coming from government grants and 19% from other revenues. The transit system in turn keep traffic levels manageable across the GGB as without GGT and GGF we would see an increase in traffic of about 34% during the peak morning hour.

Over a six-year period, from September 2002, when the District was facing a $454 million five-year shortfall, through September 2008, the District’s five-year projected shortfall was reduced by 80% to $91 million. The five-year shortfall was reduced through a range of actions: External actions: increased GGB toll in September 2002, implemented annual 5% transit fare increase program, reduced bus service by 25%, streamlined ferry services to use fewer vessels. Internal actions: reduced workforce by 21%, reduced in employee health benefits, and implemented a two-year wage freeze, cut Board meeting expenses by 50%, expanded revenue generating programs. During this same time, critical capital improvements were implemented to safeguard and maintain the GGB and transit system infrastructure: GGB Phase II Seismic Retrofit completed, major under-deck repainting and repairs, expansion of security systems, along with many others.

Golden Gate Bridge FasTrak Usage