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Author Topic: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield  (Read 34392 times)

jeffandnicole

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2014, 04:08:32 PM »

From today's Dr. Gridlock online discussion. I submitted the question. I find the beginning of his answer both amusing and slightly disturbing:

Quote
Q.
WTOP's E-ZPass story

Dr. Gridlock, I'm curious what, if any, reaction you might have to the report WTOP ran this morning (it appeared online a few days ago) about people complaining that the 495 Express Lane toll gantries didn't read their E-ZPasses properly. All of the complainers had one thing in common: They didn't follow the instructions about how to mount the device in the proper place on the windshield. They either had the device lying on the dashboard or they tried to hold it in their hand. Of course WTOP came across as sympathetic to these people, but frankly, I don't see why. The instructions are perfectly clear about how to mount the device. You can even use tape to mount it if you need to do so, but it's supposed to be on the windshield unless you have a car whose windshield interferes (in which case they send you a special device that mounts above the front license plate). Why should the authorities have any sympathy for people who refuse to follow directions? Thousands of other E-ZPass users have no trouble mounting the device properly!

A.
Robert Thomson:

One outraged driver wrote to me complaining that he had an E-ZPass and still got a notice of toll due while using the 495 Express Lanes.

He mailed me the photo of his vehicle included in the notice. It showed him fully extending his arm out the driver's side window. His hand gripped the E-ZPass transponder.

I agree with you that the directions are real clear. But not everyone reads directions, whether it's for E-ZPass or a new microwave oven.

One thread in many comments about the express toll lanes is that all-electronic tolling makes drivers nervous. They can't tell when going under the gantries whether their tolls have been recorded.

I've seen the arm holding the transponder out the window also.  I'm waiting for them to throw it at the reader! :-)

Some people think the display (in the traditional lanes) is what reads the EZ Pass.

Personally, the confirmation display is the worst part of the EZ Pass system, because people slow down and read it.  In NJ, it used to say "EZ Pass Not Paid" or something to that effect. People would stop, get out of their car, jam up the lane, etc.  They switched the message to "Go Toll Unpaid" or something...but at least it got people to keep moving because of the word "Go".

In Maryland at the Kennedy toll plaza, the lights are on constant green.

I wished they never put the confirmation system in, but as the Dr. Gridlock said, people want to see something.
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1995hoo

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2014, 04:22:32 PM »

Yeah, I've never liked the displays that used words. I've seen "Go E-ZPass," "E-ZPass Paid," and "E-ZPass Thx." I don't remember whether any of the SunPass facilities I've used had a word-based display.

Reflecting on the HO/T lanes, I wonder how many of the people in question understand that every toll gantry over the HO/T lanes will read the transponder. It's not like the Jersey Turnpike or the Thruway where it reads your device at entry and exit. On the HO/T lanes, the gantries are located above the lanes rather than on the exit ramps and the toll is determined based on the first and last gantry you pass, but every gantry reads your E-ZPass because (of course) they have no way of knowing when you will exit. I would not be surprised to learn that some of the people complaining have held up their E-ZPass at only the first and last gantries.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2014, 09:33:31 PM »

Yeah, I've never liked the displays that used words. I've seen "Go E-ZPass," "E-ZPass Paid," and "E-ZPass Thx." I don't remember whether any of the SunPass facilities I've used had a word-based display.

Reflecting on the HO/T lanes, I wonder how many of the people in question understand that every toll gantry over the HO/T lanes will read the transponder. It's not like the Jersey Turnpike or the Thruway where it reads your device at entry and exit. On the HO/T lanes, the gantries are located above the lanes rather than on the exit ramps and the toll is determined based on the first and last gantry you pass, but every gantry reads your E-ZPass because (of course) they have no way of knowing when you will exit. I would not be surprised to learn that some of the people complaining have held up their E-ZPass at only the first and last gantries.

This makes excellent sense - and is another reason why people should install them on windshields and not use the "hold up" method.  Md. 200 also has gantries between all interchanges, and the gantries look pretty much like the other overhead structures. 

I suspect members of this forum can tell the sign gantries apart from the gantries with E-ZPass readers installed, but that is likely not the case with many other drivers out there.

At the main Va. 267 (DTR) plaza, I have also observed people hold transponders "upside down" with the labelled side facing the antenna, which does seem to work, at least there, where the average speeds are relatively low.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2014, 09:50:55 PM »

At the main Va. 267 (DTR) plaza, I have also observed people hold transponders "upside down" with the labelled side facing the antenna, which does seem to work, at least there, where the average speeds are relatively low.

Those people think the transponder scans the UPC bars.
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MASTERNC

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2014, 10:16:46 PM »

I used to have suction cup based holders.  However, when I got the MD tag for the Hatem Bridge to go with my NYS Thruway E-ZPass, I switched to the Velcro in order to be able to quickly swap tags.
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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2014, 12:52:10 AM »

How would Pennsylvania know you have a WV EZ Pass? They are interoperable, but each agency has a separate database.

A few years ago, I had two read failures on Pennsylvania Turnpike facilities in one day. They didn't attempt to see if there was an account associated with my E-ZPass based on their license plate reads. They just sent two separate violation notices, in two separate envelopes (a waste of one first-class postage stamp). The offered remedy was to send proof of an E-ZPass account, which I did by mailing a copy of my West Virginia E-ZPass statement with both violation notices (saving me the cost of one first-class postage stamp). I don't remember if my account was ever debited for those two failures or not.

Apparently it was easier for them to contact Frankfort to get my registration information so they could mail me the violation notices than it would have been to tap a database of E-ZPass tagholders from all states who use E-ZPass or compatible systems. Maybe there isn't a common, shareable database.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2014, 01:18:35 AM »

How would Pennsylvania know you have a WV EZ Pass? They are interoperable, but each agency has a separate database.

It is my understanding that there is supposed to be a frequently-updated central database available to all E-ZPass Group members with the license plate number and state of registration for all vehicles (most?) belonging to E-ZPass patrons.
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froggie

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2014, 06:50:17 AM »

Quote
I believe the last Virginia toll facility to start accepting E-ZPass might have been the CBBT.

Wasn't installed until ca. 2006-07.
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jeffandnicole

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2014, 08:32:42 AM »

How would Pennsylvania know you have a WV EZ Pass? They are interoperable, but each agency has a separate database.

It is my understanding that there is supposed to be a frequently-updated central database available to all E-ZPass Group members with the license plate number and state of registration for all vehicles (most?) belonging to E-ZPass patrons.

Correct. The various agencies are all paying members of the EZ Pass InterAgency Group.  http://www.e-zpassiag.com/

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hbelkins

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2014, 10:29:13 AM »

How would Pennsylvania know you have a WV EZ Pass? They are interoperable, but each agency has a separate database.

It is my understanding that there is supposed to be a frequently-updated central database available to all E-ZPass Group members with the license plate number and state of registration for all vehicles (most?) belonging to E-ZPass patrons.

In this case, the E-ZPass did not register at all on two separate occasions. I don't remember exactly where the non-reads occurred, but I think on that day of travel, I entered the turnpike at Breezewood and exited at Bedford. I then re-entered the turnpike system on PA 43 at Gans Road and followed either Turnpike 43 or the alternate routes in use at the time because Brownsville wasn't complete yet all the way to I-70.

At no point do I ever remember getting a red light or a "not paid" notification, or whatever Pennsylvania uses. I had no way of knowing that my tag was not read because the messaging system at the toll barriers didn't tell me.
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Duke87

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Re: Bottom Line: Mount your E-ZPass transponder on the windshield
« Reply #35 on: April 18, 2014, 11:57:41 PM »

Quote
I believe the last Virginia toll facility to start accepting E-ZPass might have been the CBBT.

Wasn't installed until ca. 2006-07.

Indeed, I remember my family went on a trip to Williamsburg in April 2005, and I campaigned (successfully, for once) for us to drive home over the CBBT and up Delmarva rather than going back up 64 to 95. As part of my argument I had promised that the CBBT would accept EZPass... since I had read that Virginia had joined EZPass and, not realizing the intricacies of tolls being handled by various agencies, assumed that meant EZPass would be accepted at any and all tolls in Virginia. We were all surprised to discover, then, that the CBBT only took cash.
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