[Editor: This is the text of a June 20, 2016, news release from the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA).]
RITBA LAUNCHES “MOUNT YOUR E-ZPASS TRANSPONDER” CAMPAIGN
Improperly and Unmounted E-ZPass Transponders are Causing Safety Concerns and Traffic Delays
JAMESTOWN, R.I. — The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) announced today it has launched a campaign to urge motorists using the Newport Pell Bridge to properly mount their E-ZPass transponders. The campaign will have two components. The first component will be a public information campaign advising bridge users of the importance of having their transponders properly mounted. The second and following component will be the enforcement of additional costs for those vehicles that do not have their transponders properly mounted.
Approximately 1,000 motorists per month need assistance at the toll plaza because of improperly mounted transponders. This causes safety concerns and results in unnecessary traffic delays. Due to improperly mounted transponders the following types of activities have been observed; vehicles backing up at the toll plaza, drivers reaching out the window holding and waving the transponder, and in some cases, the toll taker leaving the booth to assist the driver. All of these reactions to a failed read by an improperly mounted transponder create safety concerns. In addition to safety concerns, improperly mounted transponders cause unnecessary traffic delays. The electronic toll system is designed to allow quick and easy passage through the toll plaza. Refusal to properly install the transponder defeats the purpose of the system, creates unsafe conditions, and frustrates drivers who have to wait in line.
The public information campaign will begin today, Monday, June 20, 2016, and last for four weeks. It will include: outreach to news media outlets, email messages to all E-ZPass owners, messaging on the RITBA and E-ZPass web site, use of RITBA social media (Twitter & Facebook), messaging on printed E-ZPass statements, signage, distribution of mounting strips and flyers handed out at the toll plaza.
On Monday July 18, 2016, phase two of the program will be implemented. RITBA will begin assessing a higher toll for improperly mounted transponders when a toll booth employee has to raise the gate. The toll will be $4.00 for a passenger vehicle. The toll is based on the unmounted transponder transaction fee which is $2 per axle so trucks with more than two axles will pay higher amounts.
The toll for a two axle passenger vehicle with a functioning RITBA E-ZPass transponder enrolled in the residency discount plan is only $0.83 (83 cents). Additionally, for repeat offenders RITBA may charge a $25 administration fee (in addition to the toll) and serious repeat offenders are subject to forfeiture of their transponder (done via deactivating the account from the E-ZPass system). The higher tolls, administrative fees, and forfeiture of transponders are all allowed under the E-ZPass Customer Agreement and RITBA rules and procedures.
Buddy Croft, Executive Director of RITBA stated, “Improperly mounted transponders cause significant safety and traffic delay problems particularly during rush hours and periods when maintenance is taking place on the bridge.” He added, “RITBA hopes everyone will comply and there will be no need for the higher tolls, penalties or deactivation of transponders.” Croft also said, “Other tolling agencies take actions similar to what RITBA is implementing.”
If anyone needs assistance with mounting a transponder or additional mounting strips, contact the E-ZPass office at:
E-ZPass Customer Service
Monday – Friday: 8am to 6pm
Saturday: 8am to 2pm
Call Center Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9am to 6pm
Saturday: 8am to 1pm
Closed Sundays and holidays
For more information, check RITBA’s website at www.ritba.org, on Twitter or on Facebook.