Castorina, Borelli: E-ZPass, Where Did the Notifications Go?
Staten Island, New York Assemblyman Ron Castorina and City Councilman Joe Borelli call on E-ZPass to provide customers with a low balance notification should they pass through a cashless tolling gantry. As the introduction of cashless tolling has brought with it quicker moving traffic, it has also brought the opportunity for E-ZPass to exploit their customers.
With traditional toll booths, E-ZPass notified customers of a low balance as they passed through. However, without these traditional toll booths customers increasingly find themselves unsure if their accounts have sufficient funds to pass through the gantries. With the expansion of cashless tolling, customers are being deprived transparency and notification altogether. This situation benefits E-ZPass as customers who run a negative balance receive fines in the following bill.
Should a customer pass through with a low balance, no fines occur. However, should a customer go through and the account becomes negative - fines begin to accrue. Said customer would get charged the non-discounted cash rate for going through the toll. They will then receive a fine on top of this rate. When calling to inquire about rates of fines, E-ZPass proved unable to detail the specifics.
On the matter Assemblyman Ron Castorina said, “Increasing technology to facilitate the flow of traffic for the many commuters of Staten Island remains of paramount importance; however it must happen responsibly and with a high level of accountability. E-ZPass should send text or email notifications by the end of day should a customer’s account balance become low. As Staten Islanders are barraged with tolls far surpassing that of other boroughs, this lack of transparency is unacceptable.”
“Staten Islanders are all too familiar with deception when it comes to the tolls at our bridges and tunnels here in New York,” said Borelli. “By allowing consumers to opt-in for email and text message notifications regarding a low or negative balance, E-ZPass can empower pass-users with the information they need to plan prudently and avoid unnecessary penalties.”