Top officials with the New York State Thruway Authority held a question and answer session on the topic of cashless tolling, Wednesday, at the Western New York Welcome Center on Grand Island.
It was called a Cashless Tolling Customer Outreach Event, and Thruway officials said it was the first of many these public Q&A gatherings they plan to hold across the state in preparation for the entire 750-mile toll highway to go cashless by late next year.
NYSTA officials also wanted to use the occasion to help commuters understand that the convenience of cashless tolls also brings a new set of responsibilities for commuters, such as paying the tolls, even if they don’t receive a bill.
Matthew Driscoll, Executive Director of the Thruway Authority said, since the Grand Island tolls went cashless more than a year ago, only a small portion of the commuters passing through have had a problem.
“We’ve had nearly 24 million successful transactions, and less than 4% have not,” but doing the math, four percent of 24 million amounts to about 900,000 dissatsified drivers.
In many cases, Thruway officials said drivers’ toll problems are self-inflicted, such as those who fail to keep their home addresses up-to-date with the State Department of Motor Vehicles, which is required by law.
Thruway Authority’s Deputy Director of Operations, Eric Christensen said Tolls By Mail uses a DMV mailing list to get the toll notices to the appropriate driver.
“Make sure your address is up-to-date, pay your toll bill. All we are asking for is a toll at the cash rate,” but if the toll is not paid within 30 days after the bill sent, a $5 late fee is tacked on.
Driscoll encouraged drivers to pay their tolls as soon as possible, rather than waiting to receive their bills in the mail, but he added, the surest way of minimizing mistakes is to sign up for E-ZPass.