Now that most commuters are familiar with the cashless tolls on Grand Island, State Thruway officials are cautioning drivers–if you don’t get your toll notice in 30 days, you need to ask for it.
Mike Kotak is a tow truck driver, but he occasionally drives over the Grand Island Bridges from his home in the Town of Royalton using his personal car.
A couple of months after the New York State Thruway Authority installed the cashless tolls, Kotak drove through the tolls, but he said he was not getting the notices that are supposed to be mailed within 30 days.
“Never got any receipt to my house at all. Next thing you know I get a collections notice for $306 for delinquent tolls.”
Kotak called the New York City law firm that does the collections for the Thruway Authority, but they only collect, so he talked with Thruway representatives, and concluded the toll notices were mailed to his previous address.
“The lady told me they had the wrong address for my billing.”
Then Mike said the Thruway Authority sent him an offer to pay a reduced amount, minus some of the late fees and penalties, $120.00, and he has to pay it in 10 days.
“A couple of days ago, I get a letter in the mail,” which Kotak showed News 4 with the reduced demand, “then we will call it even. You have 10 days to do this, and if not, it goes back to the collection agency for $300.”
Mike also documented that when he changed his address, the Department of Motor Vehicles issued a new driver’s license with his new address in Royalton the year before cashless tolls were installed.
That would mean, the DMV had his new address, which the Thruway Authority uses to send drivers their toll bills. So why the hard sell to pay the reduced charges in 10 days?
“They admitted that they had my wrong address–they are sending the mail to the wrong place. So why do I got to pay $150? And if I don’t pay in 10 days here I go again.”
A Thruway spokesperson told News 4 their records indicate Kotak’s very first toll bill did go to his new address in Royalton, but it seems there were enough questions, they settled the dispute for the $6.00 Mike has already paid.
The spokesperson also urges drivers, if you go through the cashless tolls, and you don’t get a bill in about 30 days, you need to contact the Thruway, or take your chances.
Click the indicated link to find the regulations for cashless tolling on the New York State Thruway system, and how to pay “Tolls By Mail”.