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VDOT to Charge for EZ-Pass

Discussion in 'General Chat Forum' started by beahmer, May 30, 2012.

  1. beahmer

    beahmer Member

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    Just in case you didnt get this I thought I would post. I would encourage everyone to tell them where to put their fee. And that means every family member that has an EZ-Pass should respond...

    I dont get that we are TOLLED to death for roads and to pay for Metro and now they want to charge me to pay for the tolls. WTH! And the argument that there are going to be more people needing EZ-Pass because of the new toll roads - well DUH! if you will only build roads WITH tolls that a pretty good assumption. And BTW the state is still on the hook for a large chunk of the 495 HOT lanes - even if not one person uses them.

    Charge the people that pay cash, they are the ones that are costing $$$ because of toll collectors.

    UGH!!!! It never ends..... (Rant off)

    Dear E-ZPass Customer,

    With Virginia’s E-ZPass program doubling over the next several years as new toll roads open, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing a monthly fee of about $1 per transponder to pay for administrative and operations costs.

    VDOT has the utmost understanding that E-ZPass operations brings convenience and efficiency to toll operations. E-ZPass allows for electronic toll collection at Virginia toll facilities and lessens the need for manual collection. However, there is a cost to providing the service to the participating toll facilities, most of which are not operated by VDOT. The Virginia E-ZPass program is being expanded to support several new toll facilities scheduled or expected to be opened over the next few years. The cost associated with the enhanced distribution and specialized services for the new facilities and additional transponders requires a new business model.

    The proposed monthly fee would cover costs for:

    • Buying nearly one-half million transponders
    • Implementing a retail program where transponders can be obtained at various stores in Northern Virginia and eventually Hampton Roads
    • Providing service at select DMV locations
    • Upgrading information technology to accommodate the expanded program
    • Account management and processing of toll transactions (managing billing of all transactions)
    • Customer service and the operations of three customer service centers

    The fee would also help control costs and manage the selection and demand for E-ZPass transponders. The fee would be regularly evaluated to ensure that the charge is generating just enough revenue to maintain and operate the program without generating excess revenues above expenses.
    VDOT is accepting comments on the proposed monthly fee through Tuesday, 5 p.m., June 12, 2012. All comments will be reviewed and taken into consideration prior to the final decision on the proposed fee structure.

    You can go to www.virginiadot.org/e-zpass for information on the proposed monthly fee increase and provide their comments online. You can submit your comments directly to vdotinfo@vdot.virginia.gov or mail them to:

    Office Communications – Third Floor/Annex Bldg.
    Virginia Department of Transportation
    1401 E. Broad St.
    Richmond, VA 23219
    VDOT expects to have a final decision in June.
    Thank you for being a valued E-ZPass customer.

    Sincerely,

    E-ZPass Virginia
     
  2. tvl

    tvl New Member

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    I wonder if we can all just get an EZPass from MD instead, and duck the fee. Last time I looked, the MD ones actually provided better statements/etc. than what VA offers.
     
  3. signifer

    signifer Member

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    MD charges a fee ($1.50) if you don't use it at least three times in a month. This is calculated each month.
     
  4. rharse

    rharse New Member

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    So, the proposed monthly fee would cover certain costs. Here's my response:

    • Buying nearly one-half million transponders (don't we pay to get a transponder? why do we need this $1/month fee on existing transponders if we have to pay a fee to get one anyway?)
    • Implementing a retail program where transponders can be obtained at various stores in Northern Virginia and eventually Hampton Roads (so, don't offer them there. one can get one by mail or other EZPass centers. buying a transponder is not an impulse buy)
    • Providing service at select DMV locations (don't offer them there)
    • Upgrading information technology to accommodate the expanded program (IT unit costs should go down if they are doing it right)
    • Account management and processing of toll transactions (managing billing of all transactions) (I never receive a bill and have automatic replenishment; maybe others don't?)
    • Customer service and the operations of three customer service centers (how about charging individuals when they call so I don't have to pay for someone else's questions (and they don't have to pay for mine))
     
  5. Rhaegar

    Rhaegar Member

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    My response:

    Dear Toll Authorities,

    As a resident that is tied to the notorious NOVA Greenway, I already pay nearly $1000 a year in tolls on top of my exorbitant property taxes for the privilege of spending hours every day to sit in traffic. To further increase this amount on citizens such as myself is unconscionable and immoral. I pay more than my fair share to drive on these roads and I refuse to be fleeced further for the costs of others. I have no need for the transponders to be available at various stores or DMV's, nor do I require paying extra for interoperability. It is time that the southern part of the state as well as other folks that use enhanced features of the toll system pay more than those that require the roads to simply traverse to work to make their livelihood. The roads are to be paid from public funds and should be covered by State budgets. Reduce another less important expenditure to compensate for one of the top requirements of this state.
     
  6. jjenkins

    jjenkins New Member

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    Wish I would have read your response before I sent it in to them; I said basically the same thing, but not as eloquently.
     
  7. Zeratul

    Zeratul Well-Known Member

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    I was using New Jersey EZ Pass for a while when the Toll Road was still just Smart Tag...Jersey has been charging a Fee for theirs for years so it is just a matter of time as the systems get bigger.

    Personally, I think they should charge more up front for the Tag itself. Spell out the costs and make it non-profit.
     
  8. signifer

    signifer Member

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    I agree with not setting up all the new ways to distribute passes to save those costs.

    Also, the way Maryland has the fees set up makes sense to me. The give a 10% discount (over the cash price) for use of a tag and charge a monthly fee if you don't use the tag at least 3 times per month.

    This seems to give a people an incentive to use a tag if they are slightly frequent users of a toll road and would deal with the concern about having to service lots of tags that aren't being used. ("The fee would also help control costs and manage the selection and demand for E-ZPass transponders.")
     
  9. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    You don't pay for them now - only some specialty ones. But instead of worrying about buying more transponders, they could have gone to cheaper ones. Many states have transponders that are mearly a sticker now.

    I think the issue is they are obligated to try to lower the barrier as much as possible to get a transponder.. and moving to all electronic roads further pushes that. But IMO this is something that should be covered by convenience fees for those that buy through this avenue.

    Scale - economies of scale. It's not practical to charge someone $20 to call for a CS question.. but by diffusing the costs everyone can pay a modest amount.

    VA has long had one of the best smarttag/ezpass programs because it costs nothing... nothing to join... nothing to use.. and nothing to not use.

    Maryland by comparison had 'use it or lose it' for a long time, but offers standard plans too.. with a $1.50/month fees and $25-$35 per transponder charges up front.

    VA only has a transponder deposit (refundable) if you have a credit card and no detailed billing.

    It's sad they make it cheap to entice people to use it.. and when it becomes entrenched, they have to start raising prices on everyone supposedly to make it sustainable :(
     
  10. Lisa

    Lisa New Member

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    In case anyone else was thinking about switching to MD EZPass, they charge $1.50 / month if you don't use it at least 3 times a month on a MARYLAND road. It looks to me if you don't regularly travel in Maryland then would be cheaper to stick with Virginia EZPass.
     
  11. pamD

    pamD New Member

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    Be careful about generalizing the "southern part" of Virginia. Hampton Roads/Norfolk has it as bad as us, if not worse (not counting the high-priced greedway).
     
  12. fidothedog

    fidothedog Member

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    I posted my disagreement with the fee.

    This is getting ridiculous. The EZ pass saves them a tremendous amount of money plus they are getting a free loan in the prepaid feature on the pass.

    I have any idea...take the friggen toll down on the Toll Road which has been fully paid for.

    No tolls then no need for the stupid EZ pass.
     
  13. beahmer

    beahmer Member

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    How about Richmond WEST.. Ever been on the 4 lanes highway around Richmond? Funny you don't see a toll there...
     
  14. backtothewoooo

    backtothewoooo New Member

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    It's the last day tomorrow to submit your comments/ concerns to VDOT for this. I do not want the $1 charge, so I am emailing them now.
     
  15. TeamDonzi

    TeamDonzi ShowMeTheMoney!

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    It never ceases to amaze me how these government agencies relentlessly try to fleece the public. Gone are the days when you can just go on your merry way. You cannot, unfortunately you must guard everything these days....from an out of control legislative branch, to a local gov't paid off by big companies, to the state tapping us for every dime.

    Email sent, but Beahmer, we have two transponders and did not receive that email, so this is just one more reason why gov't can manage nothing well, not even their subscriber list.
     

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