Early indications from the first five months of the MTC/Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) Bay Area Toll Payment Plan – created to enable drivers who owe overdue tolls, fees and penalties get out of debt and start fresh – suggest that customers are enrolling, payment plans are being completed, and those customers receiving benefits are happy.
These are just some of the findings released at the Jan. 10 BATA Oversight Committee meeting. As of Nov. 30, 2023:
- Payment plans have been established for nearly $1.25 million in outstanding charges.
- A total of $133,000 has been collected by BATA.
- The average outstanding balance is $1,146, though account balances range as high as $12,400.
- The average monthly payment amount is $51, though some customers make payments as high as $500.
- Nine and one-half percent of Toll Payment Plan customers have already fulfilled their payment obligations and completed the payment program.
The Bay Area Toll Payment Plan, launched on July 1, 2023, gives people with lower incomes a path out of debt. It aims to improve customer relations by meeting customers where they are, break down large amounts of debt into more manageable amounts and provide a more positive customer experience.
The Bay Area Toll Payment Plan is for individuals with outstanding toll debt whose household income is no more than 200% of the federal poverty level (about $60,000 for a family of four). The payment plan is open to anyone with a qualifying lower income who have received toll violations on Bay Area bridges or Express Lanes. For those who qualify, violation penalties will be waived and any remaining balance of at least $100 can be paid off over time in the payment plan.
This program mirrors AB 2594, authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting of San Francisco, and is intended to provide a way for people with overdue tolls, fees and penalties to get out of debt.
Eligible participants may apply at the program website at bayareatollpaymentplan.org or by mailing or faxing a paper application. Both the website and the paper application are available in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. Eligibility for the toll payment plan is not limited to Bay Area residents.
Additionally, BATA, the Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority (BAIFA), and Golden Gate Bridge offer a one-time waiver of all violation penalties to anyone regardless of income through September 30, 2024.
To obtain a waiver or to find out if you have overdue toll violations, customers must call the Bay Area FasTrak® Customer Service center at 877-BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655) and pay all outstanding tolls and any DMV fees owed. Eligible customers who choose to enter into a payment plan must make their first payment to receive the penalty waiver.
MTC staff will continue to analyze results and look for additional improvements to the program. Staff also will come back with an additional report on evaluation in the future.