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Golden Gate? Your money's no good here

March 28, 2013|By Chris Erskine
  • The days of toll collectors at the iconic span are over. Now, electronic devices will bill drivers.
The days of toll collectors at the iconic span are over. Now, electronic… (Getty Images )

It’s a milestone week at one of California’s most famous landmarks: Cash is no longer accepted at the Golden Gate Bridge.

The move is expected to save money and speed traffic on the iconic span that opened in 1937.

What does that mean to occasional travelers who don’t own the FasTrack devices that bill electronically? Well, most car agencies include the devices with rental cars. For those passing over the bridge during a road trip, license plate scans will automatically send bills in the mail.

Nothing can ever go wrong with that, right?

Transit officials say travelers can also pre-pay with cash at "Touch-N-Buy" kiosks in convenience stores around Marin County.

AP reports that the switchover is expected to save about $16 million in salaries and benefits over eight years.

Meanwhile, nine toll-takers will lose their jobs. Another 17 have either been placed in other positions or have retired, a spokeswoman said.

The changeover was not without some emotional moments.

“Our DNA is embedded in this bridge.… We are part of it,” said Jacquie Dean, a career toll collector who had worked on the span for 18 years before her last shift Tuesday. “Some customers still want to pay cash. They don't want to be tracked and photographed.”

Toll collector Dawnette Reed told the Marin Independent Journal that her last day, Tuesday, was difficult and filled with tears.

"I had a lot of customers who wanted to hug me. I got four bouquets of flowers, coffee, multiple cards, gift cards and baked goods," Reed said.

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