VDOT has announced the new fee structure for EZ pass. There will be no monthly fee for current users, no monthly fee for HOV-3 carpools, and no $25 deposit for new transponders. The new fee structure will cover the increasing cost to administer Virginia’s E-ZPass program, an electronic toll collection system allowing motorists to pay tolls without having to stop at toll booths. The new fee structure takes effect Sept. 1.
Details of the New EZ Pass
Current E-ZPass customers with open accounts as of July 9, 2012 will not be charged a monthly fee until they replace their existing transponder or add a new one to their account. They will then be charged a 50-cent monthly fee per new standard transponder or a $1 monthly fee per new Flex transponder. The fee is applicable to new transponders obtained after July 9, 2012.
New E-ZPass customers opening accounts after July 9, 2012 will be charged a 50-cent monthly fee per standard transponder or a $1 monthly fee per Flex transponder.
Flex transponders will be charged the lower standard transponder fee (50-cents) until January 1, 2013 after the 495 Express Lanes open. Then the monthly fee will be $1 per Flex transponder. The fee will be waived when the Flex transponder is used exclusively for carpooling on the 495 Express Lanes and the future 95 Express Lanes.
E-ZPass Flex customers - Motorists planning to carpool in the 495 Express Lanes and the future 95 Express Lanes will need to obtain an "E-ZPass Flex" transponder, which will allow them to ride the Express Lanes for free. The Flex transponder is switched to the "HOV" position when three or more persons are carpooling. The monthly fee will be waived when the Flex transponder is used exclusively in the "HOV" mode on the Express Lanes. However, a $1 monthly fee will apply if the Flex transponder is used in the non-HOV mode on the Express Lanes or on other toll facilities. The fee will also apply if the Flex is not used at all.
The current $25 deposit will no longer be required for new transponders. Customers who have previously paid a deposit will have it converted to prepaid tolls on their accounts when they replace a transponder or will receive a refund if they return a transponder and close their account. New customers will still be required to pay $35 in pre-paid tolls when opening an E-ZPass account.
"The fee structure was established after careful consideration of public input balanced with the need to cover VDOT’s rising costs to provide Virginia’s E-ZPass program," said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. "I directed VDOT to consider several options and chose the one that was the most reasonable, splitting the costs between the customers and the toll facilities. It will help manage the demand for both standard and Flex transponders without imposing the monthly fee on existing E-ZPass customers until they need a new or replacement transponder."
For more information on E-ZPass, go to www. EZPassVA.com <http://www.virginiaEZPass.com>.
VDOT manages the administration and customer service of E-ZPass in Virginia, which supports all toll roads in the state. As the E-ZPass program grows, so are VDOT’s costs for maintaining and operating the program. All revenues from the fee will pay for the expanded program.
The Jordan Bridge in Hampton Roads will begin collecting tolls this summer. In addition to the 495 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia opening later this year, toll collection is scheduled to begin in January 2014 for the Downtown Tunnel/Midtown Tunnel/MLK Extension in Hampton Roads and other tolls roads are planned for the future. Tolls will be collected electronically by charging E-ZPass accounts on all of the new facilities. The fee would cover costs for:
· Buying transponders
· Implementing a retail program where transponders can be obtained at various stores in Northern Virginia and eventually Hampton Roads
· Providing service at select DMV locations
· Upgrading information technology to accommodate the expanded program
· Account management and processing of toll transactions (managing billing of all E-ZPass transactions)
· Customer service and the operations of three customer service centers
E-ZPass is accepted at all Virginia toll roads.
· Dulles Toll Road (owned and operated by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)
· Dulles Greenway (privately owned and operated by TRIP II)
· 495 Express Lanes - open by end of year (to be operated by Transurban)
· 95 Express Lanes - scheduled to begin construction this year (to be operated by Transurban)
Richmond Metropolitan Area
· RMA - Downtown Expressway, Powhite Parkway and Boulevard Bridge (operated by Richmond Metropolitan Authority - RMA)
· Powhite Parkway Extension (operated by VDOT)
· Pocahontas Parkway (operated by Transurban)
Hampton Roads Region
· Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel (operated by Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Authority - CBBT)
· George P. Coleman Bridge (operated by VDOT)
· Chesapeake Expressway (operated by the City of Chesapeake)
· Jordan Bridge - open in summer 2012 (to be operated by South Norfolk Jordan Bridge LLC )
· Downtown/Midtown/MLK Extension - toll collection scheduled to begin in January 2014 (to be operated by Elizabeth River Crossings)
· Route 460 - construction scheduled to begin next year (to be determined)