For the first time since it opened last month, commuters are paying a fee to use British Columbia's newest toll bridge.

Built at a cost of $800 million, the Golden Ears Bridge is designed as a key traffic artery, linking Langley and Maple Ridge.

But unlike toll bridges of the past, drivers don't have to stop at a booth to pay the fare.

Instead, cameras are set up to snap pictures of a vehicle's license plate, automatically applying the toll to those who carry rented transponders on their windshield. Those that don't will get a bill in the mail.

Related Links: Register for Transponder or call (604) 460-5050.

Under the tolling system, care drivers are billed $2.75 to $3.90 per crossing. Large trucks pay up to $9.40 and motorcycles pay $1.40.

So far, about 17,000 transponders have been leased, according to Drew Snider, a spokesman for the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority (TransLink).

During the 31-day trial period, an average of 37,000 vehicles crossed the bridge per day.

But TransLink is predicting that usage will fall now that the toll is in effect.

Proceeds of the tolling process will be used to pay down the cost of the bridge, a process that is expected to take about 32 years.

To register for a Golden Ears Bridge transponder go to or phone (604) 460-5050.

With files from CTV British Columbia's Michele Brunoro and The Canadian Press