In attempt to slow coronavirus, California’s shelter in place will remain in effect until April 7th. Leaving countless companies requiring their employees to work from home and schools across the Bay Area shut down indefinitely. With less commuters, many of the freeways, roads and bridges are empty.
However, shelter in place allows for people to leave their house to purchase food or other household items deemed necessary. With a number of people driving and potentially needing to pay tolls, germs can easily be spread.
Cash is know to be dirty, in fact researches at New York University’s Dirty Money Project analyzed 80 $1 bills and discovered that some had 3,000 types of bacteria.
Additionally, according to Time, paper bills can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days, where as most virus and bacteria can live on surfaces for only 48 hours.
Due to the ability to spread germs not only through money, but also with human contact, as of March 21st, Bay Area Fastrak will no longer collect cash on bridges. In a statement posted on their Facebook page, they explained people can still use a Fastrak to pay bridge tolls and, “If you do not have a Fastrak, you will receive a bill in the mail for the amount of your toll. It is called a violation, but there is no penalty.”
If you already have a violation, Fastrak is postponing both additional penalties on violations and sending unpaid notices to DMV or collections for now. These will eventually go back into effect and there will be no change on Golden Gate Bridge penalties.
Fastrack decided to stop collecting cash “To protect toll-paying customers and toll collectors from the risk of exposure to the coronavirus during the current public health emergency.”
Please visit bayareafastrak.org to pay your toll or read more about the current situation.