Q Whatever happened to the woman who got a FasTrak ticket on Interstate 680 in the toll lane for holding her transponder in her hand and not having it glued to her windshield? I think she was going to challenge this ticket in court.

F. Ramirez

A Well, let's find out.

Q My wife, Dallas, went to court, and the judge said the charge against her was for not having the FasTrak device mounted on her windshield. He asked how did she plead. Dallas said not guilty but told the judge this was a correctable violation ticket. The judge told Dallas it was not a correctable violation. Dallas pointed out that the officer had written it up as a correctable violation. The judge asked to see the ticket and, after seeing it with the correctable violation box checked, dismissed the ticket! One for the good guys!

The FasTrak transponder doesn’t need to be attached to the windshield for use on bridges, but the CHP now says it has to be secured there for express
The FasTrak transponder doesn't need to be attached to the windshield for use on bridges, but the CHP now says it has to be secured there for express lane driving. ( (Bay Area News Group))

Bob Jones

Santa Clara

A Good for her but there's more to this story.

After some confusion, the CHP now says drivers must have their transponder attached to the windshield when using the express lanes to guarantee that the FasTrak device is read correctly. This applies to toll lanes on 237, 680 and 880 where there are no cameras to record the license plate of potential offenders.

The situation is different at FasTrak areas on bridges in the Bay Area, which have cameras to photograph license plates. These cameras allow debiting of a FasTrak customer's prepaid account if the transponder is not in the car or is not working.

Q I work with the Oakland A's, and a few weeks ago one of our coaches had a carpool of three people and went across the Bay Bridge. But he did not know that he also needed a FasTrak transponder until later. He has not yet received a ticket. What should he do?

Name withheld by request

A Be patient, for a ticket will likely arrive in the mail. Yep, carpoolers on all Bay Area bridges need to be registered with FasTrak. When the citation arrives, have him write a letter explaining the situation and send in the amount for the toll. First-time violators who are not FasTrak customers can have their violation dismissed by opening a FasTrak account.

Q I have somewhat of an interesting problem. My FasTrak account keeps getting charged for someone else's tolls. There's a person in Southern California who has a license plate very similar to mine, except where I have an "F", he has an "E".

The thing is, he has a license plate frame that covers the bottom part of the "E", so cameras pick it up as an "F", and I get charged for his use of toll roads. So far I have been charged four times for his use of Highway 91 in Southern California, and I've never been on that road.

How do I know it is this one person? Well, a few years ago he ran a red light in Pasadena and I got the ticket. The camera clearly showed it was not my car, and not me driving, so the ticket got thrown out.

But I saw the picture with his license plate frame blocking the lower part of the letters. So I'm pretty sure it is the same guy.

Any suggestions as to what to do? I've called FasTrak a couple of times and they are at a loss. They can reverse these charges, but there's no way to avoid future charges. I asked what happens if I take my license plate number off the account, and they said that might not be a bad idea. I would get violation notices for his driving, but those would include a picture so I can contest it. Seems like a big headache. Do you have any suggestions?

Amir Raubvogel

Redwood City

A A big headache? Hah, more like a migraine. I'd be patient. John-the-Roadshow-FasTrak-Man has forwarded your message to its customer service center folks, who can flag this account to prevent further headaches like this. The license plate frame covering an "E" is a perennial leader in the reasons for FasTrak camera system errors.

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