In my inbox this afternoon, I found a note about the proposed $1/month service fee that VDOT is considering charging for the privilege of using EZPass (full text below the fold).
I resent being charged extra for a “convenience” when the “convenience” actually allows VDOT (or banks in the case of ATMs) to hire fewer workers, thereby saving VDOT money. Money that amounts to millions a year.
I further resent being charged extra when the Greenway, already exhorbitant, and privately owned, doesn’t have any toll collectors at all, and takes no cash. Because I have a height deficiency, I have to actually get out of my car to use the credit card machines on the Greenway, which feels unsafe. I generally try to avoid the Greenway on principle, but when I use it, I have no choice but to use EZPass. To be charged extra to use something that enables a FOR PROFIT company to avoid hiring workers really frosts my cookies.
I will be discussing this at home and, if the charge is implemented, will probably be turning in my EZPass in protest.
Go to the VDOT webpage and register your disgust with proposed charge. I did.
Thank you for expressing your concerns on the potential maintenance fee for E-ZPass operations in Virginia.
With Virginia’s E-ZPass program doubling over the next several years as new toll roads open, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing a monthly fee of about $1 per transponder to pay for administrative and operations costs.
We have the utmost understanding that E-ZPass operations brings convenience and efficiency to toll operations. E-ZPass allows for electronic toll collection at Virginia toll facilities and lessens the need for manual collection. However, there is a cost to providing the service to the participating toll facilities, most of which are not operated by VDOT. The Virginia E-ZPass program is being expanded to support several new toll facilities scheduled or expected to be opened over the next few years. The cost associated with the enhanced distribution and specialized services for the new facilities and additional transponders requires a new business model.
The proposed monthly fee would cover costs for:
* Buying nearly one-half million transponders
* Implementing a retail program where transponders can be obtained at various stores in Northern Virginia and eventually Hampton Roads and the Richmond area
* Providing service at select DMV locations
* Upgrading information technology to accommodate the expanded program
* Account management and processing of toll transactions (managing billing of all transactions)
* Customer service and the operations of three customer service centers
The fee would also help control costs and manage the selection and demand for E-ZPass transponders. The fee would be regularly evaluated to ensure that the charge is generating just enough revenue to maintain and operate the program without generating excess revenues above expenses.
You can go to www.virginiadot.org/e-zpass for more information on the proposed monthly fee increase.
We appreciate your concerns and thank you for sharing them with us. We are collecting comments through June 12. All comments are reviewed and responded to. VDOT expects to make a final decision on the proposed monthly fee in June and we will keep you informed of the latest developments.
VDOT E-ZPass Team