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Author Topic: PA Turnpike News  (Read 713179 times)

MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2700 on: July 06, 2021, 12:25:51 PM »

Another year, another toll hike (5%, likely same size hikes through 2028)

https://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2021/07/06/Pennsylvania-Turnpike-commission-toll-increase-hike-January-2022-5-percent-EZ-Pass/stories/202107050084

In comparison, a trip I just took on the Thruway cost about a third of what the same distance on the Turnpike would cost.
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2701 on: July 18, 2021, 08:09:46 PM »

I am not sure why the reversal, but it looks like, after another Sunday morning closure of SB I-476 at Mid-County, the toll booths have been reopened.  The traffic cameras show a few vehicles going through the old booths, but most using the E-ZPass Express lanes.  I assume this was done for traffic relief given the squeeze to two lanes otherwise.
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jemacedo9

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2702 on: July 21, 2021, 08:33:52 AM »

I also noticed new wood utility poles along the westbound side between Malvern and Morgantown every one or two tenths of a mile. Only thought is that is for the fiber optic cable they are installing but I thought they were burying that.

The utility poles are now in place westbound, starting at the Valley Forge interchange and up until the Malvern interchange to join the above.  I also noticed new utility poles southbound on the NE Extension south of the Quakertown interchange.
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jemacedo9

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2703 on: July 21, 2021, 08:39:05 AM »

I was on I-476 northbound last weekend, and nothing had changed in terms of how Exits 31A and 31B are signed.

On the NE Ext, the former EZ-Pass only ramp northbound at Exit 31 has now been signed as Exit 31A - PA 63 East - Kulpsville, and the advance BGS for the original Exit 31 is now Exit 31B - PA 63 West - Harleysville.  At the ramp to Exit 31B, the original BGS is there for just PA 63 - Harleysville / Kulpsville, but is labeled Exit 31B.  I wasn't using that exit, so I don't know if turns are restricted at the end of each ramp.
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ekt8750

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2704 on: July 21, 2021, 10:53:05 PM »

I am not sure why the reversal, but it looks like, after another Sunday morning closure of SB I-476 at Mid-County, the toll booths have been reopened.  The traffic cameras show a few vehicles going through the old booths, but most using the E-ZPass Express lanes.  I assume this was done for traffic relief given the squeeze to two lanes otherwise.

Went through there today and notice the approach signage to the toll plaza has now been updated (all in some hideous looking, poorly kerned Clearview no less) with signage for I-276 East now reading I-276 East to I-95 North with New York as the sole control city.
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PHLBOS

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2705 on: July 21, 2021, 11:38:49 PM »

I was on I-476 northbound last weekend, and nothing had changed in terms of how Exits 31A and 31B are signed.

On the NE Ext, the former EZ-Pass only ramp northbound at Exit 31 has now been signed as Exit 31A - PA 63 East - Kulpsville, and the advance BGS for the original Exit 31 is now Exit 31B - PA 63 West - Harleysville.  At the ramp to Exit 31B, the original BGS is there for just PA 63 - Harleysville / Kulpsville, but is labeled Exit 31B.  I wasn't using that exit, so I don't know if turns are restricted at the end of each ramp.
Unless the PTC revamped that cloverleaf ramp to bypass merging with the southbound exiting traffic, I don't believe such is the movement is restricted to PA 63 westbound.

In theory, the end of the Exit 31A ramp could now eliminate the left-turn movements for PA 63 westbound.
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2706 on: July 23, 2021, 08:29:37 PM »

I am not sure why the reversal, but it looks like, after another Sunday morning closure of SB I-476 at Mid-County, the toll booths have been reopened.  The traffic cameras show a few vehicles going through the old booths, but most using the E-ZPass Express lanes.  I assume this was done for traffic relief given the squeeze to two lanes otherwise.

Drove through last night.  They removed the overhead signage for a lane drop, restored two lanes on the ramp from I-276 WB, and have re-opened three lanes of the toll plaza in addition to the Express lanes (but none of the plaza has been demolished).
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2707 on: July 28, 2021, 11:38:18 PM »

The PTC has made its last $450 million Act 44 payment to PennDOT...

https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-turnpike-makes-last-450m-payment-to-penndot/
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jeffandnicole

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2708 on: July 29, 2021, 06:33:37 AM »

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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2709 on: July 29, 2021, 08:59:44 AM »

The PTC has made its "last" $450 million Act 44 payment to PennDOT...

https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-turnpike-makes-last-450m-payment-to-penndot/

Fixed.

I wasn't aware my original statement needed to be "fixed". According to current state law, this is the last time they'll pay $450 million. Starting next year, it's only $50 million. They (and I) did not say last payment...
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jeffandnicole

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2710 on: July 29, 2021, 10:25:26 AM »

The PTC has made its "last" $450 million Act 44 payment to PennDOT...

https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-turnpike-makes-last-450m-payment-to-penndot/

Fixed.

I wasn't aware my original statement needed to be "fixed". According to current state law, this is the last time they'll pay $450 million. Starting next year, it's only $50 million. They (and I) did not say last payment...

It was a tongue-in-cheek comment, since I doubt PA's transit authorities will suddenly give up $400 million in revenue. I fully expect a new law to be approved to provide more than $50 million next year.
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Crown Victoria

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2711 on: July 29, 2021, 10:35:02 AM »

The PTC has made its "last" $450 million Act 44 payment to PennDOT...

https://triblive.com/news/pennsylvania/pa-turnpike-makes-last-450m-payment-to-penndot/

Fixed.

I wasn't aware my original statement needed to be "fixed". According to current state law, this is the last time they'll pay $450 million. Starting next year, it's only $50 million. They (and I) did not say last payment...

It was a tongue-in-cheek comment, since I doubt PA's transit authorities will suddenly give up $400 million in revenue. I fully expect a new law to be approved to provide more than $50 million next year.

Gotcha. There is a provision in law for the lost $400 million to be made up from motor vehicle sales tax revenue, which goes to PA's General Fund. So, while transit funding will be ok, this will leave a hole in the budget which the legislature will need to account for...
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2712 on: September 14, 2021, 08:39:20 AM »

Bad news in an article today: The Turnpike has about $100 million in uncollected Toll-by-Plate revenue.  That number is huge.

Good news: they are in the design/engineering stage of converting to gantries.  I assume this is the old 2022/2024 schedule they had before the accelerated conversion to cashless tolling.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-turnpike-losses-free-rides-tolls-20210914.html
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storm2k

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2713 on: September 14, 2021, 11:19:35 AM »

Bad news in an article today: The Turnpike has about $100 million in uncollected Toll-by-Plate revenue.  That number is huge.

Good news: they are in the design/engineering stage of converting to gantries.  I assume this is the old 2022/2024 schedule they had before the accelerated conversion to cashless tolling.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-turnpike-losses-free-rides-tolls-20210914.html

Some amount of churn is always going to be expected with a setup like this, especially if it's an out of state driver whose license or registration you can't threaten if they don't pay. 100 million seems like an awful lot tho.
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ARMOURERERIC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2714 on: September 14, 2021, 11:38:16 AM »

What percentage of the total collected?
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jeffandnicole

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2715 on: September 14, 2021, 03:11:48 PM »

Bad news in an article today: The Turnpike has about $100 million in uncollected Toll-by-Plate revenue.  That number is huge.

Good news: they are in the design/engineering stage of converting to gantries.  I assume this is the old 2022/2024 schedule they had before the accelerated conversion to cashless tolling.

https://www.inquirer.com/news/pennsylvania/pennsylvania-turnpike-losses-free-rides-tolls-20210914.html

I would love to see a breakdown of the largest uncollected revenue locations. I would think one area would be the Delaware River ORT after you come in from the NJ Turnpike. I could see that many people would believe they've already paid the toll and think that's just a billing mistake, not realizing the PA Turnpike has their own tolling location there.  It was also a location where open road tolling has been in effect longer than most of the rest of the turnpike.

As for it being noted in the story that the camera didn't pick up the license plate because it was out of frame, that could be a huge issue with that roadway's system.  The camera's storage should be digital, and should be able to be rolled back and forth to locate the license plate. Things like bike racks and other obstructions, while a valid excuse, should really be a minimal excuse. And while PA doesn't have front license plate, nearly every other state in the region does. If the PA Turnpike is using the lack of a front license plate as an excuse, then maybe a lot of the problem is due to their own population.  It's hard to tell from the article though since they flung a lot of excuses out there.  But at $100 million...I don't know how they can say they're not even the worst state in trying to collect pay-by-plate tolls.
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J N Winkler

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2716 on: September 14, 2021, 03:29:08 PM »

What percentage of the total collected?

$100 million is under 10% of total fare revenue (net of discounts)--7.5% for 2019 ($1.327 billion) and 7.8% for 2020 ($1.279 billion), per the 2020 annual report.
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kalvado

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2717 on: September 14, 2021, 04:20:23 PM »

What percentage of the total collected?

$100 million is under 10% of total fare revenue (net of discounts)--7.5% for 2019 ($1.327 billion) and 7.8% for 2020 ($1.279 billion), per the 2020 annual report.
A more interesting number is motorists who don’t use E-ZPass having a nearly 1 in 2 chance of riding without paying under the “toll-by-plate” license plate camera system.
For me, that puts a huge question mark on entire toll-by-plate approach.
And an elephant in the room is, of course, $450M payment for transit which Turnpike struggles with.

UPD: given that toll-by-plate rates are about 2x of EZpass ones, I would say they pretty much break even here with 50% collection efficiency.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2021, 04:24:29 PM by kalvado »
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Alps

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2718 on: September 14, 2021, 07:40:17 PM »

What percentage of the total collected?

$100 million is under 10% of total fare revenue (net of discounts)--7.5% for 2019 ($1.327 billion) and 7.8% for 2020 ($1.279 billion), per the 2020 annual report.
A more interesting number is motorists who don’t use E-ZPass having a nearly 1 in 2 chance of riding without paying under the “toll-by-plate” license plate camera system.
For me, that puts a huge question mark on entire toll-by-plate approach.
And an elephant in the room is, of course, $450M payment for transit which Turnpike struggles with.

UPD: given that toll-by-plate rates are about 2x of EZpass ones, I would say they pretty much break even here with 50% collection efficiency.
Lack of front plates and obscured back plates (Thule bike racks) are both cited. The latter case should alert police and result in a certain other source of revenue when passing under a gantry.

rickmastfan67

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2719 on: September 15, 2021, 12:18:44 AM »

What percentage of the total collected?

$100 million is under 10% of total fare revenue (net of discounts)--7.5% for 2019 ($1.327 billion) and 7.8% for 2020 ($1.279 billion), per the 2020 annual report.
A more interesting number is motorists who don’t use E-ZPass having a nearly 1 in 2 chance of riding without paying under the “toll-by-plate” license plate camera system.
For me, that puts a huge question mark on entire toll-by-plate approach.
And an elephant in the room is, of course, $450M payment for transit which Turnpike struggles with.

UPD: given that toll-by-plate rates are about 2x of EZpass ones, I would say they pretty much break even here with 50% collection efficiency.
Lack of front plates and obscured back plates (Thule bike racks) are both cited. The latter case should alert police and result in a certain other source of revenue when passing under a gantry.

It also doesn't help that several people around here have 'altered' plates.  I've seen plates where have the reflective coating is gone on just the numbers, all gone, sanded numbers, plates pealing to the bare medal, you name it!  Honestly, they should add checking license plates condition to the inspection process.  Make those people fail inspection till they get a replacement plate from the state, as some of it is obvious intentional damage to it.

kalvado

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2720 on: September 15, 2021, 07:25:24 AM »

What percentage of the total collected?

$100 million is under 10% of total fare revenue (net of discounts)--7.5% for 2019 ($1.327 billion) and 7.8% for 2020 ($1.279 billion), per the 2020 annual report.
A more interesting number is motorists who don’t use E-ZPass having a nearly 1 in 2 chance of riding without paying under the “toll-by-plate” license plate camera system.
For me, that puts a huge question mark on entire toll-by-plate approach.
And an elephant in the room is, of course, $450M payment for transit which Turnpike struggles with.

UPD: given that toll-by-plate rates are about 2x of EZpass ones, I would say they pretty much break even here with 50% collection efficiency.
Lack of front plates and obscured back plates (Thule bike racks) are both cited. The latter case should alert police and result in a certain other source of revenue when passing under a gantry.
Punitive attitude towards well-meaning citizens with no easy alternative solutions offered to them - what can go wrong with that?
Trailers, bike racks, larger loads carried with semi-open trunk  are all well established parts of daily life. Death penalty for jaywalking is a more logical idea, compared to excersizing such revenue options.

And even then.. Data from the paper:
of 11 M  uncollected tolls:
"not paid" - 6.7 M transactions
"state agencies fail to provide address" - 1.5 M transactions
"bills undeliverable" - 1 M transactions
"plate unidentified" - 1.8 M transactions

of unidentified plates
1.1%, or whooping 20k transactions, are intentional defacing of the plate
41%, or 740 k, are unintentional blocked plates
that leaves 58 %, or over 1M cases, to non-functioning equipment.

Looks to me that bicycle racks are the minorest problem here. Biggest one is those who just show middle finger to the too-smart-ass agency.
 Legal framework for cashless tolls, probably on a federal level, may do a lot.  Lobbying legislature for mandatory front plate may be a low-hanging fruit for Turnpike. And of course some better engineering always helps - looks like plate readers are just shy of 90% success rate. Well, that number is not terrible...
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Flyer78

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2721 on: September 15, 2021, 09:19:12 AM »

I wonder if there is a noticeable difference in image quality at ORT gantry installs vs. the "in-place" toll-booth cameras. Seems there is far more cameras at the ORT gantry as well (more than one per lane).
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kalvado

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2722 on: September 15, 2021, 10:00:39 AM »

I wonder if there is a noticeable difference in image quality at ORT gantry installs vs. the "in-place" toll-booth cameras. Seems there is far more cameras at the ORT gantry as well (more than one per lane).
I looked up at what is on the gantries. There are quite a few things there, including pretty fancy camera optimization and vehicle fingerprinting for identification beyond reading the license plate. So if plate reader works on one station but fails on the other, fingerprint can still be used.
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thenetwork

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2723 on: September 15, 2021, 11:27:50 AM »

Just a scenario question on the topic of toll by plate scanning in general -- perhaps it has happened to you:

You are driving your own passenger vehicle (license plate ABC-123) but towing a trailer U-Haul or otherwise with a different license plate number (ZYX-987).  Who's license plate gets billed, or is it double billed -- once for each plate?
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MASTERNC

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Re: PA Turnpike News
« Reply #2724 on: September 15, 2021, 02:52:22 PM »


It also doesn't help that several people around here have 'altered' plates.  I've seen plates where have the reflective coating is gone on just the numbers, all gone, sanded numbers, plates pealing to the bare medal, you name it!  Honestly, they should add checking license plates condition to the inspection process.  Make those people fail inspection till they get a replacement plate from the state, as some of it is obvious intentional damage to it.

It's clear some are defacing their plates or placing dark covers over them (the latter is definitely illegal - they must find inspection mechanics that turn a blind eye or they remove them once a year).  However, the PA plates have been peeling themselves without doing anything (seems it is a bigger issue with plates within the last 10 years).  I had one where the film was delaminating, which created dark spots.  I agree about the inspection, as a mechanic can complete a form for a free replacement standard plate.  Unfortunately, those with vanity or specialty plates have to pay the full fee for a new one, which is absurd.

Just a scenario question on the topic of toll by plate scanning in general -- perhaps it has happened to you:

You are driving your own passenger vehicle (license plate ABC-123) but towing a trailer U-Haul or otherwise with a different license plate number (ZYX-987).  Who's license plate gets billed, or is it double billed -- once for each plate?

The administrator is supposed to note the difference when looking up the owner, but there have been instances in other states where this does not happen and it has made news.  I can tell you the system is not smart enough to notice a simultaneous E-ZPass read and a video toll (I have had a read-proof bag fail where I stored a Maryland Hatem Bridge transponder - even though I had a valid E-ZPass on my windshield, it read both tags and then did a license plate lookup on the invalid Maryland tag read, which resulted in some double billings).
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