Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in a Rental Car

On my recent trip to San Francisco, I rented from my usual place, Alamo, and drove off.  As I picked up everyone else, I suddenly remembered something.  The Golden Gate Bridge does not take cash and my car didn’t have a Toll Pass.

Luckily, there’s a solution for that.

You are allowed to pre-pay for your rental car before going across the bridge.  (You also get a buffer for 48 hours afterwards if you forget to beforehand).

From the Golden Gate website:

Take note of the license plate number and the end date of your rental period. You can make a One-Time Payment using any of the following methods:

  1. Online using a credit card at
  2. By phone using a credit card: Toll free (877) BAY-TOLL (877-229-8655), outside California 415-486-8655. Click here for hours of operation.
  3. In person using cash at a Cash Payment Location
  4. In person using cash, check, or credit card: Bay Area FasTrak Customer Service Center (effective June 17, 2014) at 62 First Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 (near the intersection of Market and First Streets). Click here for hours of operation.

You may also open a limited duration License Plate Account before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. To ensure the License Plate Account is only activated  for the length of the rental period, you must be sure to include the end date of your rental contract as the ‘Closure Date’ when completing the application. To learn more about a License Plate Account, click here.

Areas are increasingly becoming more Toll Tag/EZ-Pass/etc. only.  Before I got my own EZ-Pass, I got a ticket because my GPS took me through an EZ-Pass only area and I did not know the area at all and had no idea how else to go.  I was also a little nervous in Colorado when I noticed I was driving through many toll areas without a pass–but it turned out they use a license plate system there.  (Phew).

how to pay golden gate bridge toll

how to pay golden gate bridge toll
What I *wish* the rental car companies would give me.

About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. You are right, more and more roads are becoming toll roads and all the cities shutting down the cash lanes on toll bothes and replace them with fastrak, EZpass and all the other systems throughout the country. Yes it’s the United States, where you have a ton of un-united systems.
    Even worse, if you get a fastrak trensponder, you can’t just use it on your rental car. You have to go online, register your license plate and all that crap. so stupid. I always have to deal now with rental car agencies. In some cites all of there cars are equipped with plate pass or have a fastrak transponder installed. But if you use it they charge you an outrages amount of administration fee, which is a joke. Cars with fastrak give you at least the option to deactivate the integrated fastrak transponder to use your own. Platepass vehicles dont have an option, even that it says on their website to deactivate the transponder. as far as I know the transponder is the license plate, so to deactivate it, i should remove my plates? great idea to get in trouble with cops. Platepass knows how to game the system and make money, because nobody can think of one system across the whole country. Now i have more time and work, just to run after PlatePass and rentacl companies to get my money back.
    Welcome in the 21st century, where it woudl be simple to built an easy system but thanks to capitalism, that wont happen.

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