Existing E-ZPass holders escape fee increase, until the battery dies

July 10, 2012 — One has to wonder if the E-ZPass “transponder” many of us use to navigate toll collections on the Dulles toll road / Rte. 267 in Northern Virginia and I-95 in Maryland on up to New York City isn’t becoming a means to increase tax revenue even though no such increase is justified by relevant costs.

The Virginia Department of Transportation July 9 announced its new policy on charging for E-ZPass accounts effective Sept. 1, 2012: Customers who have accounts as of Monday, July 9, 2012 won’t be charged a monthly fee until they replace transponders or add a new one.

Commuters who share rides on Virginia’s toll roads will need a “Flex” transponder starting Sept., 1, 2012. This is different from the standard transponder, pictured. CREDIT: Gothamist.com

Here are the highlights:

  • The current account holders are okay till they get a new transponder or add one to their accounts. At that point, they will be charged 50 cents a month per new standard transponder.
  • A driver who opens a new account with Virginia after today will be subject to the 50-cent monthly fee for each standard transponder.
  • The existing $25 deposit will no longer be required for new transponders. Account holders who already paid that deposit will have have it converted to prepaid tolls when they replace transponders. Or they can get a refund if they return a transponder and close their accounts.
  • New customers still be be required to make a pre-payment covering $35 in tolls when opening an E-ZPass account.
  • There is a new type of transponder: “Flex transponders”. You don’t need one of these specialized units if you don’t plan to carpool in the express lanes. People who plan to travel three to a car and get the free ride need to get one of the Flex transponders with a carpool setting.

You can read more at this report by The Washington Post. And here is a Q&A that some of my clients have inquired about; it should answer just about any question you have.

See my blog post here May 31, 2012 about making your views count.

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