Its here! After many announcements over the past year about “upcoming” tolling on the 520 bridge connecting the Eastside communities with Seattle, today is the day that tolling officially begins.
The Washington State Department of Transportation is encouraging drivers to get their Good to Go pass. Buying a pass will save you money when you need to make the trip across the bridge. (Thinking that you’ll avoid 520 and just use I-90? That may work for some, but if 520 is the most direct route, and traffic is increased on I-90 because of lots of drivers with the same idea, then you’ll want to keep you best options open – you may find its worth it to pay the toll to avoid increased traffic and reach your destination sooner).
Drivers who cross without the Good to Go pass will pay an extra $1.50 per trip so Simply Placed has gathered some important information and great tips about this big change. Here are 5 steps that can save you time and money:
1. Buy your Good to Go pass at Fred Meyer, Costco, Safeway or QFC. It’s only $5.00 for the pass itself (less at Costco) and having it will save you $1.50 each trip which can add up fast. You can also purchase one online.
2. Don’t forget to activate your pass online or over the phone. Activating your pass links it to your vehicle and adds money to it for tolling costs. When you activate your pass, you will be required to create an account and put a minimum of $30 on it so have your credit card handy when you make the call or log on. Also, don’t be alarmed when activating your pass online and the system drops the last digit of your pass number. The automated system is supposed to do that, the last digit is unnecessary.
3. Purchase a pass for each of your cars. Passes cannot be moved between your vehicles! The pass you purchase at your local grocery store will be connected to your specific license plate once you activate it online.
4. Adhere your sticker pass to the right place! Attach your sticker pass to your inside front windshield below any metalized sun strips or visor tints. The top of the pass should be no more than six inches below the roof-line of your car and at least 2 inches below the rear-view mirror stem. Check out other placement tips from the DOT here.
5. Don’t assume you’re exempt. Only a few vehicles will be exempt from tolling and even if you’re a carpool or a vanpool, you still have to pay up for every crossing. Only emergency vehicles and tow trucks clearing accidents will be exempt from the toll.
Don’t have time to follow our tips and get your pass before your first trip across the bridge? No problem, you can still cross but it will be more expensive. A camera will take a photo of your license plate and you will be billed by mail. Still have questions? Check out King5’s article Top 10 questions about SR 520 tolling.
Want to think about ways to reduce crossings, further saving you time and money? Check out the post we did with some suggestions earlier this year, when the tolling was first announced.
Let us know if your work, travel or personal plans, routes or routines will be altered as a result of the tolling. Here’s to smooth sailing, or more appropriately, smooth driving, as you motor about the Puget Sound area.