The Water Cooler – FasTrak & Bridges

January 30, 2014 12:04 pm · 28 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

Do you have a FasTrak? Also, what is your least favorite bridge to drive across in the Bay Area?

Talk about it….

1 Makalele January 30, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Yes, I have a fastrak. There’s no reason not to have one (they’re free), unless you never, ever cross any bridges.

My least favorite bridge is the Bay Bridge, especially after that ridiculous embarrassment of a rebuilding process that took 2 decades and BILLIONS of dollars. I hope the whole span collapses. Pathetic.

2 Fastrak is a MUST.... January 30, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Worst bridge is Rio Vista northbound. There is very little room for trucks to accelerate between toll gate and incline…….and I’m usually behind one…

3 Dorothy January 30, 2014 at 12:18 PM

I’m with Makalele (#1)

Fastrak is free, will not use Bay Bridge if I don’t have to. I would go the long way before using that one.

Nice thing about Fastrak is that you only have to remember what car it is in when you do have to use it.

4 Ted K., Supermax January 30, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Yes. have one.

The Bay Bridge sucks monkey nuts.

5 No, no FasTrak January 30, 2014 at 12:34 PM

So seldom cross a bridge going the toll direction.

Least favorite bridge? Probably the Golden Gate. Love the bridge and scenery, hate the tourists and reckless drivers. Walking and biking are ok as long as you are not too shy to push some dumb tourist over this side.

6 anonmtz January 30, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Not a fan of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge…unsafe at any speed.

7 wc January 30, 2014 at 12:42 PM

I have one but now I use it infrequently. After 12 months of inactivity, they try to close my account. Never know when I’ll needit so I log in to the website to reactivate my account. They have my (interest-free) balance to use in the mean time. Can’t they just leave my account open? I will close it if I want the money back.

8 Drvrdadca January 30, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I’ve had one since 2001 (used to commute form PH to SSF every day). It is used for 3 different cars and all are on the account. No need to remember where it is, because the plates gets read.

I agree with anonmtz #6, Richmond/San Rafael. Too narrow for speed and just seems like it would fall before any of the others. Plus the approach from this side is taking your life into your own hands going through Richmond.

9 Least and Most Favorite January 30, 2014 at 1:00 PM

The Bay Bridge is my least favorite. Begin the safety factor of the new section, they cannot adequately handle when someone’s car breaks down and traffic backs up with for 45 minutes to an hour delay, including the FasTrac.
My favorite is the Benicia Bridge with the no toll both FasTra lanes. I would like to see all the bridges retrofitted this way. The money saved by not having overpaid toll takers in those lanes will pay for the retrofits within a decent amount of time.

10 yes January 30, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Yes, I have one. Used mostly for Benicia and Richmond bridges.

Either Bay Bridge or Golden Gate are least favorites.

Richmond, Benicia, Carquinez, Dumbarton are all used and are okay

11 Lori January 30, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Makalele seriously? You hope it collapses? A little extreme isn’t it? I’m not thrilled about the cost or length of time it took either but geez let it go.

12 dilligafman January 30, 2014 at 1:08 PM

just got the fastrak a couple of weeks ago and the first time i used it it didn’t work. a week or so after crossing benicia bridge i get a citation in the mail. i called them and they said its been cleared up but i’m not sold on it.

13 Cowellian January 30, 2014 at 1:17 PM

We picked up our first FasTrak transponders at the Park-n-Shop, back when they had an office there. We had them for over a year before we actually used one of them. I was ecstatic when they opened the FasTrak lanes on the new Benicia Bridge. That was so cool. I guess that the Antioch bridge was my least favorite bridge.

14 VikingPrincess January 30, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Don’t need no stinkin fast track

I ride a chariot pulled by cats


15 Pyrrhus January 30, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Yes I do. My favorite bridge to cross is the Bay Bridge (I commute the opposite direction of everyone so I have no traffic). If i had to commute in traffic then I would hate it like everyone else. My lease favorite bridge is the Antioch Bridge only because it’s a two lane bridge that puts you way up in the sky.

16 anon January 30, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Only way to cross any bridge. You can use them in So Cal on the toll roads also.

17 The Mamba January 30, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Yes, I have one, I married into it. My least favorite bridge is the Richmond San Rafael bridge, not enough lanes and I always get stuck behind a truck and a car held together by duct tape.

18 Jojo Potato January 30, 2014 at 2:12 PM

You don’t need to remember which car it’s in. We’ve got one in our family but I registered all four cars on the Fastrak site. If one of our cars crosses the bridge without the tag there is a picture of the license plate taken and they match it up and charge the appropriate Fastrak account. I actually like to do that because it makes them work harder to get their money.

19 RANDOM TASK January 30, 2014 at 3:18 PM

agree the new botched bay bridge is the worst …it stand for corruption and greed and outright incompetence……..bay area suffered and will suffer for years because of the dems greed and slimy hands

20 mika January 30, 2014 at 3:49 PM

I have a fastrak in each of my cars so I don’t have to remember bringing it! Doesn’t cost anything. . .

21 Incognito January 30, 2014 at 4:04 PM

I have Fastrak – it’s a wonderful thing.

Just remember if you are a boat owner, you need to not only register the vehicle, but also the boat trailer on your Fastrak. And, you can register up to six vehicles on one transponder.

22 Brian January 30, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Fastrak is the best. Love the Bay Bridge. HATE the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. Don’t ever think about the Antioch bridge because I never ever go over that way and don’t remember it exists. Second least favorite is Golden Gate because of the stupids.

23 Rob January 30, 2014 at 4:22 PM

I can’t imagine commuting without a Fastrak.

24 Poodlme January 30, 2014 at 4:50 PM

Yes I bought mine to handle the commute along 680 South to Fremont as I needed to commute there 2 times a week for my Sister who has Cancer and needed to be assured I would get her to the Doctor on time for treatments. My favorite bridge is the Benicia Bridge. We travel that one on our way to the Outlets in Vacaville many times.

25 KAD January 30, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Yes, I have FasTrak. I got it at Walgreen’s about 5 years ago when our daughter in SF was getting married and I had to go into the City to view wedding dresses and go to showers, etc. Then the grandson came along and there was another reason to go into SF more often. I love the FasTrak and if you forget it for some reason, they have your license plates for all of your vehicles and charge you that way. The Bay Bridge is the bridge I travel mostly. I have not had to cross the others in many years so I don’t recall very well if they are good or bad.

26 Antler January 31, 2014 at 7:46 AM

Bought a FasTrac transponder at Safeway soon after it first began. Seeing cars in the FasTrac lanes zipping through while the rest of us were backed up in the other lanes was one plus….and of course not having to make sure I had toll money quickly available. Benicia Bridge with no toll booths is fabulous….except I do miss the friendly smiles and greetings from the toll takers.

27 Kirkwood January 31, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Have had FasTrac since the beginning, my complaints are the same what others here have said. A problem with the Benicia bridge are the the cars that use the FT lanes to rush past cars in the toll lanes until the last minute and then try to cut into the toll lanes, ofter not immediately successfully, thus blocking the FT lane.
There is an offsite parking lot at the Oakland airport that uses FT to pay and I believe Sears Point does also.

28 FasTrak User From Day One February 1, 2014 at 9:32 AM

Just yesterday I was going across the Richmond/SR bridge and many last minute Lucys had to navigate across three lanes to get over to the non-FasTrak lanes despite the signage and lane markings.

Besides being lame, it’s dangerous! There were at least two big trucks that those cars had to get around at the last minute.

If you travel anywhere in the Bay Area, it’s a good idea to have one. Besides bridges, you can use them as a solo driver in carpool lanes if you want to pay to use those lanes.

If all your cars are on your account, you don’t need the actual transponder on the bridges to use the lane as the license plate reader will pick up the info.

If you are one of those people who say you haven’t crossed a bridge in years, then Good Grief people! You live in the Bay Area! It’s one of the most beautiful areas in our country! You should get out more often!

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