North Texas toller in transition move to AET
By Peter Samuel
North Texas Tollway will in future bill all non-transponder reads initially as a video toll under their ZipCash brand for camera-generated tolls sent in the mail. Violation notices will no longer be sent directly for trips through open road toll lanes where there is still cash collection alongside. Such trips will from Feb 8 be treated like trips without a transponder at cashless toll points - billed at the higher video or camera-based toll rate called ZipCash by the Dallas TX toller.
Clayton Howe, assistant operations chief is quoted in a statement issued today: "By eliminating dual collection processes on the NTTA System, things will be much easier to understand for our customers. Cash will still be accepted and expected on the Dallas North Tollway, Addison Airport Toll Tunnel and the Mountain Creek Lake Bridge until they transition to cashless toll collection in late 2010. However, violations will go through the ZipCash process."
NTTA has also added a new step in the dispute resolution process where motorists dispute a charge.
An independent ombudsman will review disputed invoices that aren't resolved by Customer Service.
The ombudsman will notify the customer of his decision and post the result online minus the name.
Redesign of notices
NTTA have also recently:
(1) redesigned invoices to clarify the sequence of collection steps - the amount due at the next step, and the savings with a TollTag transponder in an effort to encourage prompt payment and buy-in to a transponder account
(2) gaining timely address change information by dealing directly with the National Change of Address database
Steps in collection
In the ZipCash camera-based process, customers receive a bill in the mail for their tolls at the higher ZipCash toll rate and they then have 30 days to pay.
Payments are accepted online, over the phone and by mail. A $2.50 late charge is assessed if payment is not received within the 30 days.
If invoices are not paid after another 15 days, an $8.33 administration fee is charged for each transaction.
After continued nonpayment, the administrative fee is increased to $25 per transaction and accounts are forwarded to a collection agency, and the case can wind up in court if the bills are still outstanding.
The new ZipCash camera-based process includes two steps before the $8.33 administrative fee is levied, whereas the old violation process involves administrative fees being issued with the first mailed notification.
Standardization means violators on the Dallas North Tollway will now get an extra 45 days before administrative fees are levied.
Cash and ZipCash toll rates are about 50% higher than the TollTag transponder rate so there is a strong incentive for all but occasional users to get a transponder. There are 1.6m in use on the NTTA system.
BACKGROUND: NTTA has abandoned cash collection and is already all-electronic on the President George Bush Turnpike and the Sam Rayburn Tollway (TX121) and at the southern or Wycliff Av toll plaza of the Dallas North Tollway. Cash is still collected at the other toll plazas on the Dallas North Tollway and Mountain Creek Lake Bridge and Addison Airport Toll Tunnel.
The remaining cash collection toll points are planned for transitioning to cashless (all-electronic) tolling by year's end.