Washington DOT contract with ETC for statewide customer service center

December 31, 2009
By Peter Samuel

Washington state Department of Transportation (WsDOT) say they have finalized the contract with Electronic Transaction Consultants (ETC) of Dallas TX to establish a new customer service center for tolling statewide. The contract provides for five years of operations and will cover customer services for all-electronic tolling under the state brandname "Good to Go!" plus billing, payment processing, violation notices and collections, and general business management. (see flow chart at bottom)

The contract is valued at about $23m and has provision for two 2-year optional extensions.

Competed strongly

It was strongly competed, the bidders beaten by ETC being ACS, IBM, Telvent and TransCore.

The only major customer service company not bidding was Faneuil.

IBI Group, PBS&J and Jacobs were precluded from bidding due to their work on behalf of WsDOT.

WsDOT has not disclosed the other prices asked, but the procurement was judged on 'best value' with price only factored in after scoring of the quality of the proposals.

Details publicly available are on the lower half of this page:

http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Business/Contracts/

Take over Tacoma Narrows, SR167 toll service in 2011

The contract begins Jan 11, 2010. ETC will take over WsDOT's customer service for the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and on SR167 HOT lanes in early 2011. (CORRECTION HERE 2009-12-31 12:15)

They will also begin on customer service work for the SR520 floating bridge which is due to begin all-electronic tolls in the spring of 2011 in conjunction with the start of work on a new wider bridge. The new bridge is due to open in 2014. (CORRECTION HERE 2009-12-31 15:30)

see http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/LkWaMgt/

The SR520 bridge tolls will vary by time of day to manage congestion, so ETC will have the challenge of presenting this to motorists and handling all the inquiries and complaints.

WsDOT say in their announcement: "ETC is known in the tolling industry for its leading innovations in large-scale electronic toll collection systems. ETC's systems currently collect about one-third of all toll transactions in the U.S."

ETC developed out of contract work for the big metro toll agencies in Texas, notably NTTA in Dallas and HCTRA in Houston.

Procurement expanded to statewide

The Washington state procurement was originally for the SR520 bridge tolling, but part way through this was cancelled and the project expanded to be statewide customer service.

Craig Stone, WSDOT Toll Division Director is quoted in the announcement: "We are moving forward with a statewide tolling system that is focused on the customer. Drivers will use their Good To Go! accounts at any tolling facility in the state; they will have one account, one transponder and one customer service center contact. We will implement some of the most advanced technology in the industry to provide drivers with improved traffic conditions and a cohesive, streamlined system."

WsDOT toll operations use the TransCore eGo Plus sticker tags and readers which also handle ASTMv6 CVISN trucking operations.

ETC's customer service center has to be expandable to cater for possible expansion of tolling including tolls on lanes of I-90 and I-405, and I-5 at the Columbia River within the five years of the contract. (see map of projects below)

More on WSDOT's toll program at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling

ETC advertise in the column on the left, third from the top.

TOLLROADSnews 2009-12-30

Further Reading


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