Just kidding, this is a photo of me, as seen by a FasTrak toll violator camera.
On three occasions two weeks ago my FasTrak transponder wouldn’t register as I was crossing the Golden Gate Bridge after 6pm. It’s normally free for me going into the city between 4 and 6 because motorcycles and scooters are considered carpools, assuming I get out of work by 5:50. The first time it happened I think there was actually some malfunction, and the other two times I’ve just now received toll violation letters for—because my license plate wasn’t connected to my FasTrak account.
Anyway, it’s kind of amusing for a closed-circuit-tv-esque picture of myself to filter through a giant bureaucracy all the way down to my mailbox, thanks to some really good optical character recognition and a giant database. Do androids dream of captcha license plates? I admit it’s a little scary to know all it takes are a few cameras and a computer to track everyone’s movement through an urban transportation grid.
What annoys me about these systems is how imperfect they are. These violations prompted me to log on and look at my account, and I’ve discovered that I’ve been overcharged three times, twice $10 and once $7.50 (the toll should be $4), the amounts for a 4 and 3 axle truck, respectively. Yay, now I have to convince some customer service agent, “I wasn’t driving a truck over the bridge, I swear (check your photos).”