Bay Area Toll Auth orders 410k tags from Sirit for $6.6m

September 10, 2009

Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) have given Sirit a $6.6m contract for 410k more California standard Title 21 transponders at an average price of $16.10 each. They are interoperable throughout the state under the FasTrak brandname. Over a million, under the brandname FasTrak, are presently in use in the Bay area, both on the seven BATA bridges and at the separate Golden Gate Bridge.

BATA and Golden Gate Bridge now collaborate to have their electronic toll accounts and transponder issuance done through a joint Bay Area FasTrak operation.

Sirit of Toronto (manufacturing in Malaysia, packaging and distributing out of Texas) is the dominant supplier in California although TransCore (manufactures in Albuquerque NM) is set up to manufacture to the California standard and has supplied the Golden Gate Bridge.

John Freund VP Sales at Sirit is quoted in a statement: "We are proud of our strong relationship with BATA ."

Scott Shepard, FasTrak manager at BATA is quoted as saying they're pleased to have Sirit as their transponder supplier again, saying it is "a strong partner."

In this procurement which was open to all, BATA acting for Bay Area FasTrak specifically invited bids from Sirit, TransCore and Telematics Wireless - the last a major toll systems supplier in Asia, headquartered in Singapore.

Sirit only bidder

Sirit was the only respondent.

The 410k transponders in the order are due to be delivered over a 15 month period. The contract has options for BATA to buy about another 100k transponders at the same price.

Plain and packaged transponders

There were two parts to the procurement:

- 300k plain transponders to be distributed at Bay Area FasTrak walk-in customer service center or dispatched on website or 1-800 telephone orders provided at $14.85 each

- 110k transponders supplied by Sirit to the retailing specifications of Costco in Tyvek at $18.25 each for a 65k order and Safeway in a fancier plastic clamshell at $20.35 each as part of a 45k order

Shepard says the sales through Costco and Safeway which began in December 2006 have provided a major boost to transponder usage in the area, enabling Bay Area FasTrak to reach customers who weren't responsive to their own direct marketing.

The two retailers offer $5 of toll credits on sign up.

Bay Area FasTrak provides no toll rate discount for transponder equipped vehicles as compared to cash toll payers but there is no charge for the transponder, just a $20 deposit for the first tag, and there are no monthly charges - unlike the practice of most east coast tollers.

The transponders do attract a 9.5% San Francisco City/County sales tax when delivered to the FasTrak service center but that is borne by BATA.

First open road tolling

BATA have dedicated transponder lanes at all their toll plazas.

There is open road tolling at the Benicia-Martinez bridge and they will have a highspeed transponder lane at the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge later this year.

BACKGROUND: BATA bridges toll westbound only and currently do around 310k transactions/day.

Car tolls are currently $4 and BATA collects close to $500m/year in toll revenues.

BATA traffic has been in decline for each of the past five years from a peak of 342k tolls/day in 2003/4. The overall decline in that time has been over 9%.

TOLLROADSnews 2009-09-10 SMALL CORRECTIONS 2009-09-11 12:30

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