In the June 1 “Did You Know” article, I offered readers a chance to send me questions they wanted answers to. Last week’s article dealt with several of those questions. Today, I will address another inquiry that I received about E-ZPass and how it works.
I have been a user of E-ZPass on both of my vehicles for decades. Although I don’t use it very often, when I do, I love it.
E-ZPass is an electronic toll collection (ETC) system that allows you to prepay your tolls, eliminating the need to stop at the toll plaza. The system has three components: a toll tag, which is placed inside your vehicle; an overhead antenna, which reads the toll tag and collects the toll; and video cameras to identify toll evaders.
E-ZPass can be used extensively throughout the northeastern U.S., including the New York State Thruway and the Tappan Zee Bridge, the New York State Bridge Authority, the Thousand Island and Peace bridges into Canada, and Metropolitan Transit Authority bridges and tunnels in the New York City area. With E-ZPass Plus, you can also use it to pay for airport parking at all three New York City airports (JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark), the Albany airport and more. For E-ZPass Plus, you need to place your account on a credit card, and if the parking toll exceeds $20, your credit card will be charged rather than your E-ZPass account.
Depending on how much you will be using E-ZPass to pay tolls, you must put down a deposit in advance (I originally placed a deposit of $25). Each time I use my pass, the toll amount is taken from my deposit, and when the deposit amount falls below a pre-determined amount (for me $10), an additional (in my case $25) is taken from my credit card and added to my E-ZPass account. An account analysis is performed on all new accounts 35 days from the first use of tolls and every 90 days thereafter. If your monthly use is consistently above or below your beginning amounts, they will be adjusted to approximate a month’s level of actual use.
E-ZPass lanes are available at all toll plazas and you can just pass right through them at the posted speed limit, normally 15 mph. Some of the toll plazas have upgraded the E-ZPass lanes for passage at 65 mph.
Since this payment method doesn’t cost anything more than you would otherwise pay without the pass, it is a great convenience for travel. You can always access your account on-line or by phone. Even though I don’t use it very often, as there are not many toll highways and bridges in our area, I wouldn’t be without it.
For more information, contact E-ZPass at www.e-zpassny.com or call 1-800-333-8655.