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Here’s why San Francisco commuting just got pricier

Cars approach a bridge toll plaza.
Cars approaching San Francisco on U.S. Highway 101 pass through a toll booth after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 15, 2018. | Robert Alexander/Getty Images | Source: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

Commuting in and out of San Francisco is about to get pricier as Downtown’s woes continue to pile up.

Starting July 1, several transit-related price hikes will hit Bay Area residents: a toll increase for the Golden Gate Bridge, hiked fares for regional buses and ferries with the Golden Gate Transit system, and a statewide tax increase for gas.

The planned increases are designed to stem public transit budget deficits brought on by federal funds drying up as well as lower ridership during and after Covid. Officials have warned that, without an influx of funding, transit systems could see drastic service cuts.

These fare increases may also be a harbinger of more price increases to transit, with an already-approved 5.5% BART fare increases in 2024 and 2025 and lawmakers pushing for a potential $1.50 toll hike for the Bay Bridge aimed at funding BART.

Golden Gate Bridge Toll Hike

The Golden Gate Bridge toll will increase by 35 cents to $8.75 every time you enter San Francisco using FasTrak—or $9.75 without it—and cross its International Orange span. Those using pay-as-you-go license plate accounts or one-time payments will pay $8.80 to $9.

A table showing the increased toll required to cross the Golden Gate Bridge effective July 1, 2023. | Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District

The Golden Gate Bridge toll is currently the priciest bridge toll in the Bay Area. It’s used for funding public transit and maintaining the famed bridge.

The cost increases are part of a five-year toll and fare increase plan to address a projected five-year deficit of $423 million, assuming transit service returns to pre-pandemic levels.

Bus and Ferry Fare Increases

Commuters taking Golden Gate Transit buses locally within San Francisco currently pay a $4 fare with a Clipper Card, or $5 without one. Fares for Golden Gate Transit ferries currently range from $7.50 and $9 with a Clipper Card, depending on the destination.

A table showing the increased Golden Gate Transit bus fares effective July 1, 2023. | Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District

Bus fares will increase 20 cents and ferry fares will increase by 25 cents for Clipper users. Those paying cash to ride Golden Gate Transit buses within San Francisco will see their fares tick up 25 cents to $5.25 starting Saturday. Discounts for Golden Gate Transit bus fares paid with a Clipper Card will remain in effect with the fare hike.

A table showing the increased ferry fares effective July 1, 2023. | Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District

Gas Tax Jump

The gas tax will jump roughly 7%—or another 4 cents per gallon—increasing the total gas tax to almost 58 cents per gallon, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

California’s gas tax is already one of the highest in the U.S. and goes to fund maintenance for roads and highways as well as public transit. 

Garrett Leahy can be reached at