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Author Topic: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure  (Read 15032 times)

vdeane

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2012, 06:01:59 PM »

I agree about the permanent mountings - something like a clip-on to the sun visor would be much better.  As for the "return your dead transponder to us for a new one (so we can charge you the legislatively mandated minimum fee as well)" practice, I have a much simpler and better idea.  Re-design the transponder so the battery can be easily replaced when it goes flat (like most every other battery-powered device not made by Apple known to man).
Fixed.
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2012, 07:55:51 PM »

I agree about the permanent mountings - something like a clip-on to the sun visor would be much better.

You can buy a little plastic case that attaches to the windshield with suction cups, into which the EZPass slides. That's what I have in my Saturn Vue, and it works fine -- even with the Velcro tape attached to it that I use to stick it in my old truck when or if I need to, or if my wife uses it in her vehicle.

I got mine on eBay.

I think he was addressing my comment about Florida's SunPass Mini, which is a very different device similar to a Transcore gate opener. The instructions that come with the SunPass Mini tell you to peel off the backing and mount it permanently and that it won't work unless you do this (not true, mine works fine with scotch tape). It matters because if you mount it as they say, you can't remove it—it becomes inoperative, presumably because scraping it off damages the wiring or something.

I once mounted a Smart Tag (which looked just like an E-ZPass) with masking tape when I was riding with my parents in their car. Worked fine.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2012, 08:10:12 PM »

I once mounted a Smart Tag (which looked just like an E-ZPass) with masking tape when I was riding with my parents in their car. Worked fine.

It looked like an E-ZPass because Virginia's SmarTag (f/k/a FasToll) transponders were E-ZPass transponders.  All were made by Mark IV Industries (now Kapsch TrafficCom). 

Only difference was that Virginia had not seen fit to join the E-ZPass IAG (Inter Agency Group) until then-Gov. Mark Warner instructed the Virginia Department of Transportation to join, which it did. 

The last toll crossing in Virginia to start accepting E-ZPass might have been the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, or maybe the RMA toll roads in and near Richmond, but I believe all are in the E-ZPass fold now. 

Would that the National Park Service would start accepting E-ZPass for payment on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park (though at least in theory, that payment is an entrance fee and not a toll).
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2012, 08:26:27 PM »

Would that the National Park Service would start accepting E-ZPass for payment on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park (though at least in theory, that payment is an entrance fee and not a toll).

Who says that has to stop them? I know of plenty of places you can pay for parking with an E-ZPass, and I believe there was even a McDonald's that tried letting customers pay for their order with their E-ZPass, so why not let people pay an NPS entrance fee with it.

1995hoo

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2012, 10:05:24 PM »

Quote
It looked like an E-ZPass because Virginia's SmarTag (f/k/a FasToll) transponders were E-ZPass transponders.  All were made by Mark IV Industries (now Kapsch TrafficCom). 

Yes, I know. When Warner was elected I sent him a letter complaining about Virginia not joining E-ZPass and his secretary of transportation wrote back that they were going to change it and that Warner "does not understand his predecessor's thought process on this issue."
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #30 on: July 14, 2012, 07:57:18 AM »

Would that the National Park Service would start accepting E-ZPass for payment on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park (though at least in theory, that payment is an entrance fee and not a toll).

Who says that has to stop them? I know of plenty of places you can pay for parking with an E-ZPass, and I believe there was even a McDonald's that tried letting customers pay for their order with their E-ZPass, so why not let people pay an NPS entrance fee with it.

The NPS might not be innovative-thinking enough to take E-ZPass, though they should.

Only places I have heard of that accept E-ZPass for payment of parking are at the Port Authority of N.Y. and N.J. airports.  There may be other places, but I have not heard of them.

Would have been nice if WMATA (Washington Metro) had seen fit to allow payment by E-ZPass at its parking lots and parking decks.

Never heard of any fast food places in the East that accepted payment by E-ZPass, but there were some places in Southern California that accepted FasTrak (the California statewide electronic toll collection transponder). 

I think more places may start to accept E-ZPass in the coming years.
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vdeane

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2012, 10:31:38 AM »

I would love it if the toll bridges between NY and ON would accept E-ZPass (currently only the Peace Bridge does), but at least one (Thousand Islands Bridge Authority) has complained that it would be "too expensive" so it might not happen.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2012, 12:19:01 PM »

Richmond Times-Dispatch: For E-ZPass users, VDOT fee changes are not adding up

Quote
E-ZPass transponders cost the Virginia Department of Transportation $9 or $18 each, but users will pay from $48 to $120 to use the transponders over the devices' lifetime under the state's fee plan.

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"We're not making a profit off this," state VDOT Commissioner Gregory A. Whirley Sr. said.

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But the department says it needs the money to support the expected sharp expansion in E-ZPass use with new electronically tolled roads coming into operation by the end of 2012. It anticipates the new transponder fee will bring in an average of $5.9 million a year over five years.
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Jim

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #33 on: July 14, 2012, 12:44:47 PM »

I would love it if the toll bridges between NY and ON would accept E-ZPass (currently only the Peace Bridge does), but at least one (Thousand Islands Bridge Authority) has complained that it would be "too expensive" so it might not happen.

I'm all in favor of having these accept E-ZPass, just to eliminate the need to use cash when using those crossings.  However, the increased throughput gained from accepting E-ZPass seems much less important when the real bottleneck is likely clearing customs.  You really only need to collect tolls as quickly as you can process cars through customs.

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Duke87

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2012, 03:46:24 PM »

With regards to New York, in about 2006 or so they created a blanket "New York EZPass Service Center" which all customers go through, regardless of which agency issues their tag. Anyone who signed up with a specific agency prior to that is still with that agency, but post 2006, NYC and Long Island residents get sent to the MTA, the rest of the state gets sent to NYSTA, and anyone from out of state gets sent to PANYNJ.

This is all the fallout of the MTA wanting to start charging a fee and Albany refusing to let them. Albany likes starving the MTA of cash.

This, annoyingly, means that residents of Connecticut (which has no tolls and thus no EZPass issuing agency) cannot get a fee-free tag unless they go to Massachusetts. My parents signed up with the MTA in 2004 and are grandfathered in feeless. But my uncle never signed up and now refuses to since he doesn't want to pay the fee for a service he uses maybe a few times a year.

It should be noted that EZPass toll discounts on the Thruway and on MTA crossings are only given to EZPass customers with an EZPass registered in New York. In the MTA's case, it's a substantial discount: $4.80 instead of $6.50 - that's 26%. The Port Authority's discounts are even greater ($7.50 off-peak, $9.50 peak instead of $12.00), but they go to everyone, as far as I'm aware.
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2012, 04:46:58 PM »

What happens if the person with, say, an MTA account moves out-of-state? Does the account get transferred to the Port Authority when the customer changes his address? I really ask mainly out of curiosity; while I COULD try registering one using my aunt's address at Breezy Point and then changing it, I no longer drive to New York often enough to make it worth the bother.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

vdeane

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2012, 05:21:34 PM »

I would love it if the toll bridges between NY and ON would accept E-ZPass (currently only the Peace Bridge does), but at least one (Thousand Islands Bridge Authority) has complained that it would be "too expensive" so it might not happen.

I'm all in favor of having these accept E-ZPass, just to eliminate the need to use cash when using those crossings.  However, the increased throughput gained from accepting E-ZPass seems much less important when the real bottleneck is likely clearing customs.  You really only need to collect tolls as quickly as you can process cars through customs.


Not true of the Thousand Islands Bridge (TIB) thanks to the islands in the middle, nor the Whirlpool Bridge since it's Nexus-only, but my motivation is to not have to fumble with my wallet anyways.  I believe the TIB accepts credit cards, but I haven't verified this myself.

Not that the Seaway Bridge can do anything anyways, given the current situation.  Apparently the customs dispute caused the toll plaza to have to move as well.
What happens if the person with, say, an MTA account moves out-of-state? Does the account get transferred to the Port Authority when the customer changes his address? I really ask mainly out of curiosity; while I COULD try registering one using my aunt's address at Breezy Point and then changing it, I no longer drive to New York often enough to make it worth the bother.
You get grandfathered in.
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MASTERNC

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Re: Virginia announces E-ZPass fee structure
« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2012, 09:23:44 PM »

On this note, the PA Turnpike will become one of the cheapest E-ZPass providers that charges a fee.  They are actually decreasing the annual fee on January 1, 2013 from $6 per tag to $3 (essentially 25 cents per month).
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