by: Chris Legeros Updated:
SEATTLE - More than a half million commuters already have "Good to Go" passes.
Transponders on their cars are read electronically at the 520 Bridge, the Tacoma Narrows and on Highway 167. Tolls are automatically billed to individual accounts.
The Washington Department of Transportation is now looking into whether the same system could be used to board state ferries. Instead of pulling out your credit card or paying cash for each ferry ride, the bill could be instantly charged to a "Good to Go" account. That could speed a ferry passenger's trip through a ferry line.
Tammy Kettel said, "I would love it, love it, love it." Angie McKinnell agreed. She said, "I think it's a great idea, just in the convenience for it." There is no way that you could just drive straight onto a boat. For security reasons, there would still need to be someone to make sure you weren't carrying something flammable like gasoline. You would still need a person to check the size and length of your vehicle and the number of passengers to determine the fare. Craig Stone of WSDOT said, "you still have to have a visual inspection from those folks in the toll booth."
The system would be more automated and there's a possibility that call centers for the ferries and the DOT's "Good to Go program could be combined. We asked Stone whether jobs could be cut. He said, "those are questions we have to work out."
The Department of Transportation is supposed to report to the state legislature in January whether "Good to Go" is a good match for the ferry system. It'll be up to state lawmakers to decide whether the passes should eventually be used to pay for trips on state ferries.