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Author Topic: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary  (Read 4167 times)

hbelkins

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West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« on: May 20, 2021, 01:21:30 PM »

I've had a West Virginia E-ZPass for years. When I acquired it, I needed it in a hurry, I was able to drive to Charleston one afternoon to obtain it, and it had the added bonus of being interchangeable between vehicles. Since my wife and I would never have need of it at the same time, she could mount it in her vehicle whenever she was driving into E-ZPass territory, and I could keep it in mine other times.

The WV Turnpike has changed its rules on its E-ZPass transponders. You can no longer move them between vehicles. Each vehicle has to have its own transponder. My transponder is now linked to my Saturn Vue, which is out of commission until I can get the charging issue fixed. (Still having no luck getting that done, or finding a way to bypass/disconnect the "mild hybrid" system where the charging fault seems to lie).

I've looked on their site, and see no way to change the transponder to another vehicle. The transponder is also old enough that there's a very real possibility that the battery is dead. It hasn't been used on a toll road for at least three years, if not longer.

Is the WV Turnpike matching transponder reads to license plate numbers at its toll booths? In other words, if I go ahead and put the transponder in a different vehicle, and the device reads correctly at the toll plaza, are they going to know that I wasn't driving the Vue? A non-read through an E-ZPass-only lane will no doubt trigger a violation.

I guess one option would be to go through a staffed lane and have the cash in hand ready to pay if the transponder doesn't read. Another option would be to shunpike. I may be traveling from Charleston to Beckley and Princeton before too long. The southern plaza will likely be off my route because I'll be checking out the Coalfields Expressway, and from the end of WV 121 near Mullens, I can take WV 16 and WV 10 to Princeton.

And is there a good way to check to see if the battery still works?

Beyond that, it's probably time for me to look into canceling my WV account and getting an E-ZPass unit that (1) can be moved from vehicle to vehicle, and (2) has no annual fees. Transponder discrimination isn't really an issue for me, as I expect that my major roadtripping days are over and I won't be using a lot of toll facilities in the Northeast anymore. I'd expect my travels to be mostly the WV Turnpike and the Louisville bridges.
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1995hoo

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2021, 01:47:20 PM »

....

And is there a good way to check to see if the battery still works?

....

The easiest way is typically to drive through an E-ZPass toll lane that uses a traffic signal or other message board to tell you the toll was paid. Light turns green (or message displays), you're good. I have no clue whether there are any such facilities anywhere convenient to you, of course, and I suspect the answer to that is "no."
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triplemultiplex

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2021, 02:22:16 PM »

Battery?  The whole point of RFID technology is the unit in the vehicle doesn't need batteries.  The equipment at the toll plaza induces a current in the device and causes it to transmit its information.
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Bitmapped

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2021, 02:57:13 PM »

Why not just change the license plate that is listed with the vehicle associated with your transponder? I did that last year in WV's online portal without issue.

You could also call the WV Parkways Authority customer service office. They normally pick up after the first or second ring in my experience.
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1995hoo

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2021, 03:03:35 PM »

Battery?  The whole point of RFID technology is the unit in the vehicle doesn't need batteries.  The equipment at the toll plaza induces a current in the device and causes it to transmit its information.

E-ZPass transponders have batteries.
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mvak36

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2021, 12:56:40 AM »

I've had a West Virginia E-ZPass for years. When I acquired it, I needed it in a hurry, I was able to drive to Charleston one afternoon to obtain it, and it had the added bonus of being interchangeable between vehicles. Since my wife and I would never have need of it at the same time, she could mount it in her vehicle whenever she was driving into E-ZPass territory, and I could keep it in mine other times.

The WV Turnpike has changed its rules on its E-ZPass transponders. You can no longer move them between vehicles. Each vehicle has to have its own transponder. My transponder is now linked to my Saturn Vue, which is out of commission until I can get the charging issue fixed. (Still having no luck getting that done, or finding a way to bypass/disconnect the "mild hybrid" system where the charging fault seems to lie).

I've looked on their site, and see no way to change the transponder to another vehicle. The transponder is also old enough that there's a very real possibility that the battery is dead. It hasn't been used on a toll road for at least three years, if not longer.

Is the WV Turnpike matching transponder reads to license plate numbers at its toll booths? In other words, if I go ahead and put the transponder in a different vehicle, and the device reads correctly at the toll plaza, are they going to know that I wasn't driving the Vue? A non-read through an E-ZPass-only lane will no doubt trigger a violation.

I guess one option would be to go through a staffed lane and have the cash in hand ready to pay if the transponder doesn't read. Another option would be to shunpike. I may be traveling from Charleston to Beckley and Princeton before too long. The southern plaza will likely be off my route because I'll be checking out the Coalfields Expressway, and from the end of WV 121 near Mullens, I can take WV 16 and WV 10 to Princeton.

And is there a good way to check to see if the battery still works?

Beyond that, it's probably time for me to look into canceling my WV account and getting an E-ZPass unit that (1) can be moved from vehicle to vehicle, and (2) has no annual fees. Transponder discrimination isn't really an issue for me, as I expect that my major roadtripping days are over and I won't be using a lot of toll facilities in the Northeast anymore. I'd expect my travels to be mostly the WV Turnpike and the Louisville bridges.

I have an IPass and I haven't had to pay any annual fees. Hopefully they don't change that, knock on wood. There is an upfront cost for the transponder and some other stuff. I don't remember what that was though since its been a while since I got it.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 01:00:38 AM by mvak36 »
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hbelkins

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2021, 03:04:55 PM »

Why not just change the license plate that is listed with the vehicle associated with your transponder? I did that last year in WV's online portal without issue.

It's a different vehicle. If they compare license plates, the plate associated with the tag isn't going to match the plate assigned to the vehicle.

I had two misreads in Pennsylvania years ago. They captured the license plate, looked it up, and sent me notices of violation. When I sent my statement to them showing that the vehicle pictured did, indeed, have an E-ZPass account, the violations were dismissed.

If I get a misread in a 90 Chevy truck, they run the plate, and see that it belongs to a 90 Chevy truck instead of the 08 Saturn on the account, I suspect it won't end well.

I may have to go back and see if they can change an entire vehicle's association. I would, of course, assign the tag back to the Saturn once it's back on the road.
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Scott5114

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2021, 06:13:18 PM »

Why not just change the license plate that is listed with the vehicle associated with your transponder? I did that last year in WV's online portal without issue.

It's a different vehicle. If they compare license plates, the plate associated with the tag isn't going to match the plate assigned to the vehicle. [...] I may have to go back and see if they can change an entire vehicle's association. I would, of course, assign the tag back to the Saturn once it's back on the road.

I think the suggestion here is to go in and edit the license plate number to that of the Chevy truck whenever you put the transponder in the truck, then change it back to the Saturn whenever you use it in the Saturn.
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Bitmapped

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2021, 09:08:51 AM »

Why not just change the license plate that is listed with the vehicle associated with your transponder? I did that last year in WV's online portal without issue.

It's a different vehicle. If they compare license plates, the plate associated with the tag isn't going to match the plate assigned to the vehicle. [...] I may have to go back and see if they can change an entire vehicle's association. I would, of course, assign the tag back to the Saturn once it's back on the road.

I think the suggestion here is to go in and edit the license plate number to that of the Chevy truck whenever you put the transponder in the truck, then change it back to the Saturn whenever you use it in the Saturn.

As long as the vehicle is in the same toll classification, I doubt it would really matter if the make and model matched. When I've had rental cars, I've just changed the license plate number entered to match whatever was on the rental and changed it back when I got home.

In the WV E-ZPass portal, there is a spot where you associate a transponder ID with a vehicle so I would imagine you could create an entirely new vehicle entry and just copy-and-paste the transponder IDs back and forth as needed. This is all just supposition of course - customer service can easily tell you what the best answer is.
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SP Cook

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2021, 11:44:51 AM »

The reason WV is tight about tying a transponder to a single car is the AWESOME deal associated with the "Roads to Prosperity" plan.  $25/year for unlimited usage (one round trip would be $24 with cash).  Thus the state wants it per car, not per family or per group of friends.   Before this program, you could share one transponder between up to 6 cars. 

However, all you have to do is go to your account page and just change the car and the plate.  It takes a few seconds, and if there is some limit on how many times you can do it, I have never encountered it. 

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hbelkins

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2021, 01:58:52 PM »

I thought I could get by with deleting my wife's vehicle, adding the truck, and then using the "switch" feature to move the tag, but when I added the truck, it wanted me to request a transponder.

So I found the little pencil icon to edit the vehicle, changed all the parameters, and then found that WV doesn't accept a regular two-axle, four-wheel pickup as the same class of vehicle for the transponder despite the GVW being the same (7,000 pounds) for both types. So I left the vehicle type as passenger car/SUV, which shouldn't pose any problems since the truck has a regular Kentcuky passenger vehicle plate (three numbers and three digits with the county sticker) instead of a weight-apportioned tag like some pickups have.

Now, I guess we'll see this weekend if the transponder reads correctly.
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ctkatz

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2021, 08:43:32 PM »

^^^when I used my nc quickpass ezpass last year for my rental I deleted my car info and put in the rental because ncqp doesn't let you move cars either. I didn't have any problems.
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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2021, 03:24:58 PM »

The reason WV is tight about tying a transponder to a single car is the AWESOME deal associated with the "Roads to Prosperity" plan. 

There is no state marketing department that harbors a greater existential crisis than WV's.
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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2021, 06:02:45 PM »

^^^when I used my nc quickpass ezpass last year for my rental I deleted my car info and put in the rental because ncqp doesn't let you move cars either. I didn't have any problems.

Just a word of caution: Because it can take a few days for a transaction to be reviewed, your car could have gone thru a few days prior to you renting it, but they'll charge the toll to you since you have a registered tag.
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mvak36

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2021, 11:32:47 AM »

^^^when I used my nc quickpass ezpass last year for my rental I deleted my car info and put in the rental because ncqp doesn't let you move cars either. I didn't have any problems.

Just a word of caution: Because it can take a few days for a transaction to be reviewed, your car could have gone thru a few days prior to you renting it, but they'll charge the toll to you since you have a registered tag.
With IPass I can add a rental car and pick the start and end dates and the time that I have the car. So I haven’t had to deal with that issue. The car drops off of the account after the end date and time that I entered for the rental car.
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hbelkins

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2021, 09:53:15 PM »

My transponder read properly at Cabin Creek and Mossy and flashed me a message "Toll Paid $0.00."

At Mossy, I followed a Tennessee-plated vehicle through an E-ZPass-only lane. The guy obviously didn't have one, because after he sat there with nothing happening, the sign flashed "Go, Call E-ZPass." So I presume he'll get a bill and a violation notice in the mail.
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SP Cook

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2021, 11:48:57 AM »

Searching for something else and stumbled upon recent changes to Florida's Sun Pass program.

You can now get a "Sun Pas Pro" which is good in Florida, Georgia, and throughout the EZ-Pass system.  Only $15 to buy the transponder with no service fees.  Can be moved from car to car, and used in rental cars. 

Seems like a great deal for people who do not need a local based account.  The ability to easily use it in rental cars is a real plus.

« Last Edit: June 02, 2021, 11:35:39 AM by SP Cook »
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ctkatz

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Re: West Virginia E-ZPass quandary
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2021, 10:30:53 AM »

the central florida epass is doing what surpass is doing.  it's a good enough deal that I canceled my quickpass.
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