What is a transponder?

In Bay City, tolling is electronic. The transponders we are using are small stickers that attach to the windshield. They transmit a radio signal to equipment mounted on the bridge that captures your transponder number which is assigned to your account. It allows us to charge the correct toll rate.

Transponders are free. You will receive one once you set up your account. They look like this.

BCBP Transponder Example

Why are transponders important?

Transponders guarantee you pay the lowest toll rate for your vehicle type. They essentially tell us who you are and how to charge you. For example:

  • Residents in passenger vehicles with transponders are free until 2028.
  • Non-residents in passenger vehicles may choose the $15 monthly subscription OR the $2 per crossing rate – whichever makes the most sense for each vehicle registered to the account.

Without a transponder, you will “pay by plate.” Pay-by-plate rates are more expensive than the transponder rate because they include the administrative costs of going through the Secretary of State to find the vehicle’s registered owner and mailing an invoice. 

We encourage EVERYONE to create an account and get a transponder!

How do you qualify for the Bay City resident discount?

To qualify for the Bay City resident discount, you must live within the city limits of Bay City. Your vehicle registration will be used to confirm your address and you will need to validate that you are still a Bay City resident on an annual basis. (Click here for map to see if you qualify.)

What is the best way for non-residents of Bay City to pay the lowest toll rates?

Non-residents of Bay City with a Bay City Bridge transponder can take advantage of the $15 per month flat rate, billed monthly just like streaming video and other monthly subscriptions. This option is available for personal vehicles only and is not available for commercial vehicles.

Will a Bay City Bridge transponder work for both Liberty Bridge and Independence Bridge once both are rehabilitated and operational?

Yes. You do not need a different transponder for each bridge. Also, if you are paying the monthly subscription rate, you have unlimited use of both bridges for that one low monthly fee.

When will tolling begin?

Liberty Bridge is scheduled to reopen at the end of 2022. Tolling is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2023. However, Bay City residents with a transponder driving their passenger vehicles will not pay tolls until 2028.

Is the $15 monthly subscription per family or per vehicle?

The $15 flat monthly rate is per vehicle.

Is there a fee to walk, run or bike over the bridges?

No. Pedestrians and bicyclists are FREE.

Will there be toll booths?

No. There will not be any toll booths. Our tolling system is completely electronic. Watch this video to learn more about electronic tolling. 

Do I have to pre-register if I already have E-ZPass?

Bay City Bridges will be compatible with your E-ZPass. However, if you want the Bay City resident discount or the monthly subscription rate, you need to have a Bay City Bridge account and transponder. We will talk to you directly about the best way to “fund” your account if you plan on using it beyond Bay City.

I live in the Thumb and only go through Bay City maybe a dozen times per year to get to I-75. What should I do to get the best tolling rates?

Set up an account and get a Bay City Bridge transponder! On the rare occasions you cross the bridge, you will only pay $2 per crossing rather than the much higher “pay by plate” rate. Bay City Bridges transponders are free and definitely worth having.

Out-of-town family members must cross one of the two toll bridges to get to me. What should they do?

Set up an account and get a transponder! On the rare occasions they cross the bridge, they will only pay $2 per crossing rather than the much higher “pay by plate” rate. Bay City Bridge transponders are free and definitely worth having.

Can I use the Bay City Bridge transponder on other toll roads?

Yes, we are members of the E-ZPass network and as such, toll roads compatible with the E-ZPass network will accept toll payments from valid and funded transponders issued by Bay City Bridge Partners.

Can I use my E-ZPass on Liberty Bridge? If so, what rate will I be charged.

Yes, we are members of the E-ZPass network and as such, we accept toll payments from valid transponders and funded E-ZPass accounts, including I-Pass which is also part of the E-ZPass network. However, you will need a transponder issued by Bay City Bridge Partners for the resident discount and monthly subscription rate.

What if I drive multiple vehicles – my regular car, my convertible some days, my motorcycle on weekends, and my pick-up truck when I’m hauling materials? Do I need a different transponder and account for every vehicle?

You will be able to add multiple vehicles to one account. Each vehicle will be assigned a specific transponder. You will need to determine the type of toll rate for each vehicle; pay-per-use or monthly subscription. Our Customer Service Center will be able to assist you in setting up your account properly.

How will multiple-vehicle households enrolled in the monthly subscription plan be charged?

Each vehicle registered for the monthly subscription will be charged the monthly rate of $15.

Are the monthly subscription and/or Bay City resident discount limited to the Bay City Bridge Partner transponders?

Yes, these plans will require the use of a Bay City Bridge transponder. Travelers using a valid and funded EZ-Pass or I-Pass will be charged the standard EZ-Pass toll rate per class.

Why should I use Liberty Bridge?

Because it is the BEST BRIDGE in Bay City!! It is essentially a new bridge with all new road surfaces, all new electrical systems, a new control panel, upgraded bridge mechanics, and new technology. It is the most convenient, direct route from downtown Bay City to the Midland Business Street District. It will save you time, fuel, and wear and tear on your vehicle.

Will cash payments be accepted?

There are no toll booths for cash payments. This is an “open road” tolling facility, meaning there will be no stopping at toll booths. No cash, no problem! All vehicles are welcome on Liberty Bridge. A transponder offers the lowest travel rates, but vehicles without one will be invoiced the “pay by plate” rate. 

Are there extra fees to travel during primary commuting hours?

No – all posted rates are valid 24/7 with no additional fees for morning or evening commuting hours.

What is the speed limit through the toll gantry?

The speed limit does not change as you travel underneath the toll gantry. It remains at 35 mph from beginning to end of Liberty Bridge.

What if someone else was driving my vehicle?

If you are paying the toll via pay by plate, an invoice will be mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle as recorded by the Secretary of State. If someone else was driving the vehicle, the registered owner will be liable for the tolls and fees.

If I move into the city next year and qualify for the Bay City resident discount, does that mean I get 5 years free from the day I move or are tolls on Liberty Bridge only free for residents until 2028?

No, the 5 years free starts at the completion of construction on the bridge. It is not based on your date of residency.

I live in the city limits of Bay City, but my vehicle is still registered under my old address, how will that work?

You will need to update your vehicle registration address through the Michigan Secretary of State to your current addres.