In accordance with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services' recommendations designed to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) will not accept cash transactions starting March 21.
Until further notice, Mackinac Bridge customers will need to pay with a credit or debit card, or use a MacPass card or windshield sticker. The MBA and toll staff will be encouraging transition to non-cash payments for the next few days until cash is no longer accepted.
"We realize this change may be an inconvenience for many of our customers, but eliminating the handling of cash between drivers and our employees is one more way we can help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus," said MBA Executive Secretary Kim Nowack. "We'll reevaluate this policy as the situation evolves."
If drivers wish to pay with credit or debit cards, the toll collector will hold the credit card device out to the driver so they can insert their card. Drivers will not need to hand their cards to the toll collector.
Information on this new payment policy will be posted on the MBA website, www.MackinacBridge.org, and on the toll plaza marquee. So far this month, about 64 percent of customers have paid the bridge tolls with cash, 7 percent with credit/debit cards, and 29 percent with MacPass cards or windshield stickers. Frequent users of the bridge may wish to open a MacPass account at https://MacPass.MackinacBridge.org/Login.
The MBA previously announced suspension of its driver assistance program and snowmobile, passenger and bicyclist transportation programs as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state is taking proactive steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Michigan. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in reducing the coronavirus risk.
Frequently asked questions:
Why is the Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) temporarily halting cash payments amid the COVID-19 outbreak?
This temporary measure to stop the exchange of cash may help to protect MBA toll staff as well as the customers they service. Paying with cash and requiring change being handed back to a customer creates additional contact points that are unnecessary as we work to practice social distancing.
What can customers do to reduce their risk while making payment at a bridge crossing?
Customers are being encouraged to reduce their contact with toll staff by paying with credit/debit cards or a MacPass device. If drivers wish to pay with credit or debit cards, the toll collector will hold the credit card device out to the driver so they can insert their card. Drivers will not need to hand their cards to the toll collector.
While paying with a credit/debit card does not create a touchless payment, it does reduce the contagion potentially exchanged during payment between both the customer and the toll staff. In accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, customers are also encouraged to increase their hand washing and avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth.
Is there an option to eliminate any contact between the customer and the toll staff?
The MBA offers a pre-paid toll account called MacPass that uses a windshield-mounted sticker that is scanned when passing through the toll booths at the bridge, requiring no contact with toll staff. More information on the MacPass, and how to open an account, is available at https://MacPass.MackinacBridge.org/Login.
What can customers do if they reach the toll booth and do not have a credit/debit card or MacPass?
Toll collectors will provide instructions for payment for customers who only have cash available. The move to eliminate cash is a precautionary measure to reduce person-to-person contact and is not intended to completely eliminate travel, especially when deemed necessary.
Who can customers direct questions to?
Customer questions can be directed to the MBA at 906-643-7600 or visit the MBA website at www.MackinacBridge.org.