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Golden Gate Bridge to go to digital toll system

Wednesday - 3/27/2013, 3:40am  ET

Toll takers Dawnette Reed, left, and Jacquie Dean, right, talk with reporters about their last day on the job at the Golden Gate Bridge Tuesday, March 26, 2013 in San Francisco. The historic bridge will take a high-tech leap forward when it becomes the first California span to replace all human toll takers with an electronic system that ends the need for motorists to stop and pay cash. Toll takers will collect money for the last time early Wednesday before the toll booths are closed for good. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Drivers approaching the majestic Golden Gate Bridge will experience something new for the first time in 76 years: no human toll collectors.

The toll takers were removed on Wednesday in favor of cheaper and faster electronic transponders. A camera system photographs every license plate that comes through, mailing an invoice to each motorist who doesn't prepay.

Those who fail to pay will receive warnings and could ultimately have a hold placed on their vehicle registration at the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

The switchover is expected to save about $16 million in salaries and benefits over eight years.

Nine toll takers will lose their jobs. Another 17 have either been placed in other district positions or have retired.

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