With 2022 just around the corner, we highlight two things that come with the new year – an increase in Bay Area bridge tolls and new laws that affect drivers.
Bay Area Bridge Tolls: Tolls at the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges will go up by $1 on January 1, 2022. Regular tolls for cars, trucks, and motorcycles at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay, Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, and San Mateo-Hayward bridges will increase to $7.
New Laws Which Affect the Average Driver: After reviewing the CHP Press Release on new laws affecting motorists, there’s not much to report going in to 2022. However, if you’re not familiar with the new laws that went into effect in 2021, now is a good time to review them.
One law that went into effect on July 1, 2021, is worth mentioning specifically:
- Points for distracted driving: Violating the hands-free law for a second time within 36 months of a prior conviction for the same offense will result in a point being added to a driving record.
If you’re considering making the switch to driving electric, Drive Clean Bay Area hosts a series of virtual events to help you find the right electric vehicle for your budget and lifestyle. These events are online, free, and open to the public.
Click any link below to see upcoming events in that series of webinars:
If you have questions and can’t make it to one of these Zoom webinars, email Drive Clean Bay Area at firstname.lastname@example.org.
E-Bike Rebate: If you purchase an e-bike or have an e-bike conversion kit professionally installed, be sure to apply for a rebate from 511 Contra Costa. Rebates of up to $300 are available while supplies last. Learn more at 511cc.org/rebate.
California’s 12-cent gas tax increase went into effect this month, and you’ll soon see the impact at gas stations throughout the state. We have a couple of ways for you to beat the tax hike:
Share the Ride – Whether you call it ridesharing or carpooling, it’s the same thing – sharing a ride and splitting the cost. Now that most people have smartphones, apps make it possible to carpool to work with just a little advance notice. The first step: visit our Carpooling Page. We’ll walk you through your options (some app-based, some not) and even tell you how carpooling might qualify you for a $25 incentive.
If you commute by driving to BART, there’s an additional perk for you: Scoop carpools are guaranteed a parking spot at a number of Contra Costa BART stations when they arrive before 10am. No need to get up super-early to get a space or roll the dice on a spot being available when you arrive – use Scoop to find a passenger for that empty seat & parking is yours! Plus, parking is free.
Get an Electric Vehicle – If you’re not ready to commute without driving, leasing or purchasing an electric vehicle not only lets you avoid paying the gas tax, but vehicles which are 100% electric get toll-free access to the Express Lanes. Electric vehicles are also allowed in the HOV lanes during carpool hours, even if it’s a solo commute.
For more information on the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, visit our Electric Vehicle Incentive Programs page.
You’ve probably noticed that traffic congestion in the Bay Area is as bad as it’s ever been, starting at 5 o’clock each morning. Congestion isn’t expected to get better anytime soon and is increasing faster than population and employment. So if you’ve been considering making the switch from commuting alone by car, now is the perfect time!
Here are 6 great reasons to make this the month you change up your commute:
#1: ‘Drive Less’ Commuter Incentive: Make the switch from driving alone to carpooling, taking transit, bicycling or walking for your commute even one day a week and 511 Contra Costa will give you a cash reward as part of the Drive Less Commuter Incentive Program. Get all the details here.
#2: Get There Faster: Transit, carpooling and vanpooling speed up your commute by granting you access to HOV lanes, while biking and walking help you bypass the backup of vehicles almost entirely.
#3: Alternative Commuters Are Healthier & Feel Better: Studies Show riding the bus or train to work is associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, and being overweight. Research also shows commuting on foot or by bike is better for people’s mental health than driving.
#4: Tax Break for Taking Transit: Did you know you can set aside $255 per month in pre-tax dollars to pay for public transportation? You’ll save money by getting transit tickets & passes tax-free. Ask your employer for details on how to take advantage of this program.
#5: Free 20-ride Pass from Tri Delta Transit: The easiest way to find out if commuting by transit is for you is by giving it a try. Right now, Tri Delta Transit will let you do it for free. Let them know you want to commute by bus and they’ll send you a free 20-ride Pass, while supplies last. (Deadline to apply: February 14)
We want you to have the best possible experience while trying transit, so make sure to take advantage of all the resources available on the 511 Contra Costa website, with information on taking public transit, participating in vanpools, locating park-and-ride lots and much more. Happy commuting!
Photo: Eric Risberg, Associated Press