The Bay Area Toll Authority announced that fines for toll violation notices will be reduced for anyone who received them on the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges dating back to the start of 2021.

BATA, the agency tasked with administering toll revenues from the Bay Area’s toll bridges, announced Dec. 1 that the penalty for first violation notices is dropping effective immediately from $25 to $5, and the penalty for second violation notices will drop from $70 to $15.

People who paid the penalties dating back to Jan. 1 will receive a refund starting in February 2022, according to the toll authority.

The changes, approved by BATA in October, are part of its tolling equity action plan announced earlier this year.

Other changes set for implementation later in 2022 include dropping the cost of a FasTrak toll tag deposit for those who do not link their account to a credit card from $20 to $5 and reducing the minimum opening balance for a FasTrak account for customers who pay with cash or check from $50 to $25.

BATA encourages anyone using the bridges to open FasTrak accounts that automatically deduct toll amounts from their account and allow them to avoid violation notices and penalties. People can sign up online, by calling 877-229-8655, or by buying the FasTrak tags at certain Costco and Walgreens stores.

People can also open a License Plate Account that links a license plate to an account and allows people to pay a toll online up to 30 days ahead of a bridge crossing or within 48 hours after it.

People who do not have either option are required to return invoices with payment within 21 days or will receive the now-reduced penalties on new invoices.

Those who do not return payment after the second notice may have the DMV put a hold on their vehicle registration or have the amount owed referred to a collection agency, according to BATA.

Dan McMenamin is the managing editor at Bay City News, directing daily news coverage of the 12-county greater Bay Area. He has worked for BCN since 2008 and has been managing editor since 2014 after previously serving as BCN’s San Francisco bureau reporter. A UC Davis graduate, he came to BCN after working for a newspaper and nonprofit in the Davis area. He handles staffing, including coaching of our interns, day-to-day coverage decisions and management of the newswire.