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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

EZ Pass Error

It was pretty much one of the worst driving experiences I have ever had - and I've driven across the country.
The Record had picked me to do a "video boot camp" down at our corporate offices in Pennsylvania near the border with New Jersey. The camp was slated for a Tuesday and Wednesday, so I decided to drive the 3.5 hours on Monday after work.
It had been a very busy few weeks with weddings each weekend in three different states and this trip.
It was drizzling out when I left but it was still light out too and I only really hate driving in the rain when it's dark. I thought....
The rain picked up, then stopped, then became heavy again, and then stopped again - all in about two hours of driving. It was around the time I was near the end of the toll section of the NY Thruway that it just started down-pouring. Traffic was going maybe 20 mph and I could barely see five feet in front of me.
I turned my windshield wipers at full blast and it was soon after that one of them fell off - luckily, it was the passenger side one. I then got to the intersection where you could take Exit 16 or continue to Exit 15 and the end of the thruway. I became confused with the signage (and from the rain) and accidentally went through the EZ Pass lanes for the end of the thruway when I was supposed to take the ramp for Exit 16 and the Exit 15 cash toll plaza.
I made it down to the bootcamp where a few people told me they had heard of similar experiences over the years and they all had varying results - one person's aunt ended up just having to pay a toll, someone else somehow evaded the toll plaza cameras and didn't get notified, and someone else ended up having to pay the toll and a fine.
A week or so later, I got a letter from EZ Pass saying I owed $25 in administrative fees and more than $18 in tolls, since that is what the toll would have been from Buffalo to NYC.
On the back of the letter, however, there was an area to appeal and you would almost miss it if you weren't looking for it since it's not really marked on the front. The options include appealing because your car was stolen or saying you weren't even there.
I appealed and gave my story of the ridiculous rain, windshield wiper issues, and realizing too late that I should have taken the ramp to pay cash.
After returning home from my European trip, I was greeted by a letter from EZ Pass. I knew that it would be either good news or bad news (I really didn't want to pay more than $40 for a $5.25 toll).
As it turns out, the state can be kind and I just have to pay the toll. I sent in the payment today. I just hope this helps people to know 1) You do have to take that ramp if you're paying cash and 2) There is an appeals process if you make a mistake.


Blogger Mrs. Ribby said...

You are lucky they were so nice, E-Z Pass one time charged me for going across the George Washington Bridge and I had NOT done so!! They said they had a picture of my car with license plate and when I asked for a copy of the picture before I paid it, then mysteriously dropped the charge. It only took 2 months to take care of!!!

September 21, 2011 at 1:15 PM 

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