Starting in early 2013, drivers who cross the Fraser River will be able to manage their Golden Ears Bridge and Port Mann Bridge tolls together.
"The Golden Ears Bridge transponder will always work on the Port Mann Bridge, and the Port Mann Bridge decal will always work on the Golden Ears Bridge," explained Sany Zein, TransLink's director of roads.
But eventually, it will be more cost effective to just have the TReO decal installed on the windshield.
Tolling on the Port Mann Bridge will begin in December.
Then everyone - regardless of enrolling in either tolling programs - will receive a discounted rate of $1.50 when crossing the Port Mann Bridge between December and the end of February.
For those who register for the decals before Feb. 28, the $1.50 Port Mann rate will continue until December 2013.
To qualify for a further bonus, the Transportation Investment Authority is offering a $30 credit (equivalent of 20 free trips in a car) for drivers who have a decal installed and a payment method on file before Nov. 30, 2012.
Each motorcycle, small vehicle, or medium vehicle listed on the account will receive the credit.
But the offer does not apply to large vehicles, and is limited to personal accounts with four or fewer vehicles listed.
The credits expire on May 31.
For drivers who currently use the Golden Ears Bridge and have transponders, Zein explained that, after integrated billing is introduced in spring 2013, travel on both bridges will be tracked, correlated, and automatically billed together.
Drivers may choose to opt out of integrated billing by calling the customer service centres, which will mean motorists will then receive a separate invoice for travel on the Golden Ears Bridge.
"If you have the decal, you will get the best rates on the Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges," Zein said, "but if you have the transponder, you only get the best rate on the Golden Ears Bridge, not the Port Mann."
Golden Ears Bridge was the first electronically tolled bridge in Western Canada when it opened in 2009, and Zein explained that the two bridges are using different systems because the decal technology is new.
"When we were choosing the tolling technology for the Golden Ears Bridge around 2007, this technology wasn't available. It was only in a prototype stage," he said.
If drivers prefer to only have a TReO decal, they can turn in the transponder in December.
As a Quickpass transponder is no longer needed after tolling on the Port Mann Bridge starts, it can be returned after Dec. 1, Mondays to Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., to either of the Golden Ears customer service centres, in Walnut Grove or across the river in Pitt Meadows.
GOLDEN EARS BRIDGE TOLLS
Most passenger vehicles, vans, SUVs, pick-up trucks, and taxis
Transponder $2.95 Video $3.50 Pay As You Go $4.20
Cars towing a trailer, light duty commercial vehicles with fewer than five axles, school buses, motor homes, and intercity buses or coaches
Transponder $5.95 Video $6.50 Pay As You Go $7.10
Articulated trucks or tractor trailer combinations
Transponder $8.85 Video $9.50 Pay As You Go $10.05
Motorized two-wheeled vehicles; does not include electric bicycles
Transponder N/A Video $1.50 Pay As You Go $2.70
. The permanent Port Mann Bridge tolls are not yet finalized, but are expected to be about $3 per car.
@ Copyright 2013