Early to Rise

Carl’s job usually includes ferrying small children around.
This morning it had a bit of a diversion, to ferry a child’s parent to work.

They are a one-car family still, and the other parent had a need for the car today (later).
Since there is also a smallish child involved, with school schedules, the path of least resistance was to get a ride. So I tagged along, let my carpooler sleep late (if he chose to).

So I am here about 1-1/2 hours earlier than normal.
I used to be a frequent early joiner, but not so much lately.
More like about 15 minutes before the starting bell.
(Really, it is a bit hard to discern our working hours, as we have people start at 5:30, 6:30, 7:00, 7:30 and 8:00)

One of the bridges that connects the City of Seattle to the eastern suburbs is going to get tolls, starting this spring. This will be the second round of tolling for the bridge. It was tolled when it first opened, I think in the 60’s. It needs to be replaced now, and this is how they intend to raise the money, or at least part of it. The tolls are planned to be on a sliding scale, with the highest range starting at 7 AM (for the morning commute). So I am considering whether a 6-6:30 AM crossing would be better. My carpooler heartily disagrees, and doesn’t think that he would be able to make that switch. His choice would be to opt for the other, un-tolled bridge (I-90). I think the traffic on I-90 is going to go from OK to really bad, as other toll-dodgers make the switch. I think they should toll both bridges.

These tolls are going to be collected electronically. No toll booths. None.
If you get a transponder, it will pick up the signal, and debit your pre-paid account.
If you have a transponder, but no pre-paid, it will send you a bill (at a slightly higher rate).
If; you don’t have a transponder, it will take a picture of your plate, and send you a bill (at an even slightly higher rate – I think).
Out of state plate? No problem. They have agreements for data sharing with other states.

Last week I saw some folks on one of the overpasses with traffic type cameras mounted on tripods. I think they were testing the cameras for speed, legibility, etc. This morning I think I saw the cameras in action mounted on a sign bridge. I wasn’t driving, so I could look, and it was dark enough to see the lights associated with the cameras.

If I were to drive every work day, both ways, with a transponder, it would cost me $1800 per year. That’s an amount worth considering in your budget. But I am not likely to decide to change my job, just to avoid tolls. I may consider changing my schedule, or maybe just changing bridges.

2 Responses to “Early to Rise”

  1. Sam Says:

    People in this country tend to resist user fees; scaled user fees can be quite wise.

  2. regenaxe Says:

    Ask not for whom the bridge tolls,
    it tolls for thee.

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