E-ZPass is one of those miracles of modern technology we take for granted. But U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer says the system is getting the angry attention of drivers when they see an unexpected $50 fine added to their E-ZPass bill for low account balances.
Schumer wants the four NYS agencies that run the electronic toll collection service to send text messages to customers warning them of low account balances. “E-ZPass customers traveling through high-speed toll sites throughout New York have been fined up to $50 due to a failure adequately inform customers as to the status of their account,” says Schumer. Although customers driving through low speed tolls may see a low balance message, that isn’t possible with high speed collection points. “I would urge all of the New York E-ZPass members to work together to deploy a text message notification system to inform customers of low balances or impending charges.” Schumer sent a written request to the heads of the Port Authority, NY State Thruway,
NYS Bridge Authority and the MTA.
‘€œWith gas prices adding to commuting costs, the last thing New Yorkers need are unwarranted and avoidable fees every time they pay a toll,’€ says Schumer. ‘€œE-ZPass is supposed to save New Yorkers money, but by failing to notify drivers about impending charges when they drive through high-speed tolls, it’s leaving many of them in the red.’€ There are over 2.1 million New York City area residents that use E-ZPass.
Convenience comes at a price: the E-ZPass owners most are likely to receive a low balance penalty are also consumers who haven’t provided a valid credit card number to automatically replenish their accounts.
Schumer’s plan did not address how the agencies should communicate with drivers who don’t own cell phones.