FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Lisa Telles (949) 754.3405, firstname.lastname@example.org
Happy 20th Birthday, FasTrak!
My, how you’ve grown! California’s electronic tolling got its start in Orange County in October 1993
IRVINE, Calif. – Oct. 11, 2013 – “Born and raised” in Orange County, Calif. 20 years ago, FasTrak® has grown up to become the fast, reliable, and stress-free way to travel statewide toll facilities, with more than 3.2 million FasTrak transponders in vehicles throughout California.
FasTrak is the prepaid electronic toll collection system that allows drivers to pay tolls electronically while traveling at highway speeds through designated toll lanes. It was licensed by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA), which operates The Toll Roads, the largest network of toll roads in the state (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261 in Orange County). FasTrak can also be used on toll roads, lanes and bridges in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties.
“When TCA opened the first FasTrak system in the state, our hope was to transform the lives of harried Southern California drivers by using cutting edge technology to save them their most precious commodity: time,” said Orange County Supervisor Patricia Bates, who served on the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency Board of Directors 20 years ago and is a current board member. “We are beyond pleased to see that drivers throughout California see the value of FasTrak, which has become an indispensable part of their daily lives.”
Loyal FasTrak Fans
FasTrak customers have remained loyal and enthusiastic of the toll collection system over the years, including Trabuco Canyon resident Brian Clifton. He has the distinction of being the very first FasTrak customer when he opened the first FasTrak account in August 1993 in anticipation of using it on the 241 Toll Road when it opened two months later.
“It’s been wonderful. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without FasTrak and The Toll Roads,” said Clifton, who uses FasTrak daily, even when he only needs to travel less than a mile.
Luis Perez of Foothill Ranch also opened his FasTrak account 20 years ago, and now has four FasTrak transponders in his family. “My kids use it, my wife uses it,” said Perez. “It’s part of our lives.”
Today, TCA handles more than 432,000 FasTrak accounts and has more than 873,000 transponders in circulation.
History of FasTrak
When TCA opened the first 3.2 miles of the 241 Toll Road in October 1993 with the state’s first electronic tolling system, the agencies named it FasTrak. In fact, TCA holds the trademark to the FasTrak logo. TCA would eventually deploy the FasTrak system when it completed the San Joaquin Hills (SR 73) and the Foothill/Eastern (SRs133, 241, 261) Toll Roads.
When the 10-mile 91 Express Lanes opened as high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes along the SR 91 corridor in 1995, it too used the FasTrak system. Eventually, tolling agencies in San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles counties saw the FasTrak benefits of traffic relief and convenience and have since deployed the system on roads and bridges in the state.
The most recent addition to the FasTrak family was the Metro I-10 and I-110 Express Lanes in Los Angeles County, which have opened more than 145,000 FasTrak accounts.
How FasTrak Works
A customer opens an account with a California tolling agency that offers FasTrak, and establishes a way to fund the account. FasTrak uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to read a transponder affixed to a vehicle windshield.
As the vehicle passes underneath a tolling point, the toll collection system associates the transponder with an account and posts the prevailing toll rate.
If the vehicle does not have a transponder, the system classifies it as a violator and cameras take photos of the vehicle and license plate for processing and collection. If the license plate is registered to a FasTrak accountholder, the account is debited only the toll amount.
More Convenience, More Ways to Pay
TCA’s efforts to deliver convenience and a non-stop experience on The Toll Roads began with FasTrak 20 years ago and now will continue with a new program so everyone can experience non-stop tolling. In early 2014, The Toll Roads will offer Express Accounts, which will replace all cash toll collection on the 51-mile Toll Roads network.
The new Express Accounts will not require FasTrak transponders and will instead utilize an image of vehicle license plates linked to accounts, eliminating delays caused by stopping to pay with cash, searching for cash or fumbling for exact change. Three new payment methods will be offered with the Express Accounts. Soon all users of The Toll Roads will experience non-stop driving and more time savings.
Already, 81 percent of the drivers on the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads pay electronically using FasTrak.
FasTrak customers won’t have to make any changes to their accounts when cash collection ceases on The Toll Roads. FasTrak accountholders will continue to pay the lowest tolls.
Cash toll collection is scheduled to end in mid-2014. In preparation, customers can sign up for FasTrak now or for one of the new Express Accounts in early 2014.
Fast Facts on FasTrak:
• When TCA opened the state’s first FasTrak facility in October 1993, the first FasTrak transponder was used on a 3.2 mile portion of the Foothill Toll Road (SR 241) in Orange County.
• Today TCA’s toll road network is 51 miles and more than 250,000 transactions are recorded each weekday on The Toll Roads (SRs 73, 133, 241 and 261). Nearly 81 percent of those transactions are paid using FasTrak.
• FasTrak can be used on all California toll roads, lanes and bridges. This includes TCA toll roads, as well as the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, the SR 125 South Bay Expressway Transportation Corridor Agencies and I-15 Express Lanes in San Diego County, Bay Area bridges, and the Metro I-10 and I-110 Express Lanes in Los Angeles County.
• There are 3.2 million FasTrak transponders in circulation, distributed by five different tolling agencies. TCA alone has 873,000 FasTrak transponders in circulation.
• Recently, a new law was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown that will allow FasTrak in the future to be used at tolling facilities throughout the nation.
• In May 2012, TCA became the first toll road operator in the nation to offer an app for toll account management. To date, more than 44,000 customers have downloaded The Toll Roads mobile app. The app is available for download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store by searching for “FasTrak” or “The Toll Roads.”
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s 67-mile public toll road system.
Fifty-one miles of the system are complete, including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. A quarter of a million people from all over Southern California use TCA’s toll roads each day and annual revenue totals $270 million. Elected officials from surrounding cities and county supervisorial districts are appointed to serve on each agency’s board of directors. Public oversight ensures that the interests of local communities and drivers are served and that TCA continues to meet the region’s growing need for congestion-free transportation alternatives.
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