|The popular sticker pass is about the size of a band-aid.|
Tolling on the SR 520 Bridge is starting Dec. 29. Last week we asked everyone to send us their questions on SR 520 tolling. Here are the top 10 questions we’ve received and answers.
- I got my pass at the store. I’m set, right?
You’re almost set. If you purchased your pass at one of our retail partners (Fred Meyer, Safeway, Costco or QFC) you will need to:
- Go online to set up and put money in a Good To Go! account and activate your sticker pass
- Install the sticker pass on your vehicle per the instruction accompanying the pass. Don’t forget to do this before Dec. 29!
- I only cross once or twice a month, so why would I get a pass?
Getting a Good To Go! pass and setting up an account will save you $1.50 in tolls each time you cross the bridge – the $5 sticker pass pays for itself in just four crossings (that’s $6 saved). By setting up a pre-paid account with $30 your tolls will be automatically deducted. So the real question is; why wouldn’t you purchase a pass and open an account?
- How much are the tolls?
- Toll rates vary depending on the time of the day you cross the bridge, but two points are always the same: drivers spend less by driving during off-peak times, and you can save money in tolls with a Good To Go! pass.
- For those with a Good To Go! pass, toll rates range from $1.60 to $3.50 during the week and $1.10 to $2.20 on the weekend. Rates are $1.50 higher for vehicles without a pass.
- How did you come up with these rates?
The Washington State Transportation Commission recommended toll rates and the Legislature approved them.
- Where is this money going, and how much of this is going to pay for the bridge?
Tolls on SR 520 expect to raise $1 billion to help fund the $4.64 billion SR 520 bridge replacement and HOV program. The target date to open the new bridge is 2014.
- What kinds of vehicles are exempt?
The only vehicles exempt from SR 520 tolls are registered vanpools, transit, emergency response vehicles (such as police, fire and ambulances) on bona-fide emergencies, Washington State Patrol vehicles assigned to the bridge, tow trucks authorized by the Washington State Patrol to clear a blocking incident, and bridge maintenance vehicles. Carpools and motorcycles are not exempt.
- What other routes can we take?
While there are other routes around Lake Washington like I-90, SR 522 and I-405-to-I-5, these may be even more congested as traffic reroutes to avoid tolls. We encourage SR 520 drivers to get a Good To Go! pass and save $1.50 on each toll when they cross the bridge. Drivers can also share the ride and take advantage of carpools, vanpools, transit and work with their employers to look into compressing or changing work hours and teleworking.
- Is this really, truly going to happen?
Yes. Tolling will start at 5 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29 and we are ready. When we encounter issues we will work to solve them as quickly as possible and keep the public updated. Drivers can help and save money in tolls by getting a Good To Go! pass and setting up an account on line as soon as possible to avoid the last-minute rush. Don’t have online access? Just call Good To Go! customer service at 1-866-936-8246 for other payment or pass options.
- How many people are going to change their travel routes?
Every driver is different and it’s going to take a while for travel patterns to shake out. Once people get settled into their new habits we expect to see slightly more traffic on I-90 and SR 522 during rush hour. We also expect to see more traffic return to SR 520 and a more reliable trip across the bridge as drivers find paying a toll for a more reliable trip across the bridge is worth it. We will closely monitor all of the routes around Lake Washington during this transition.
- What should visitors from out of the area do to cross the bridge?
No pass? No worries. Your out-of-town guests don’t have to do anything – a photo will be taken of their license plate and we will bill them by mail at a higher toll rate. You can also call customer service within 72 hours of crossing to pay the toll by setting up a Short Term Account. But those who want the lowest rate possible should check out the pass options online.
If you have questions or concerns regarding a toll bill, civil penalty or Good To Go! account please call 1-866-936-8246 or email GoodToGo@GoodToGo.wsdot.wa.gov.