BY CAROL MCILMURRAY
Cashless tolls on the New TZ Bridge may sound convenient, but toll payer be forewarned not paying your $5 fare within 30 days may result in a $100 fine per trip according to bridge users who gathered at Sen. David Carlucci’s discussion on Cashless Tolls on at the Nanuet library on Wedensday.
Members of the group questioned unfair business practices of the multiple quasi-governmental NY Bridge and port authorities that seek thousands of dollars in fines for a few dollars of owed tolls. Many in the group complained, that there was no person, or group to dispute the fines once they go into effect, rendering the NY toll payers as the ones getting taken for a ride.
“There’s a real problem, a real disconnect and it’s a real shame the Thruway Authority is not stepping up and taking responsibility for the problem going on right now,” NY Sen. David Carlucci, chair of Consumer Protection told the forum of friends and neighbors on Wednesday.
Sen. Carlucci confirmed he, too, sat on the phone for hours trying to resolves issues for constituents realizing there was nobody able to resolve the toll payers’ issues on cashless tolls billing disputes.
Tedd Cuttitta, New City, said he drives a van for work and cashless tolls incorrectly billed him at the Spring Valley Thruway toll, where only tractor-trailers are indebted to pay toll.
Cutitta stated further that the five trips he took using cashless tolls on Mario Cuomo (TZB) he racked up a $100 violation fee each time, totaling $700.
Cuttitta quipped, “The kind of extortion that they’re pulling here is just insane. There is no area of accountability.”
A group of 25 concerned citizens called on Sen. Carlucci’s help to combat excessive fees, unclear billing practices, and deemed the multiple bridge authorities as unresponsive and redundant with no government oversight.
Cashless tolling entered the toll market April 23, 2016, prior to that EZ-Pass and tollbooths were the only options for motorist. Tolls are now paid either by E-ZPass electronic tags with a credit card pre-payment in place or Cashless Tolls, by mail or online. Cashless tolls rely on overhead cameras mounted to metal overhead system that takes pictures of drivers’ license plates and sends them a bill by mail or online at tollsbymailny.com.
Cashless toll users at the forum reported issues receiving mailed bills and issues finding the correct total due online, leaving residents confused where to pay their bills and how much they actually owe.
Late fees can mount quickly and drivers can suffer the ultimate penalty of having their car registration suspended for failure to pay toll. Online option only allows Cashless toll users to pay in full amount due now or face the consequences.
Senator Carlucci has proposed legislation to consolidate and protect toll payers and said the assigned Senate taskforce needs to wake up on this issue. Sen. Carlucci plans to hold more open forums in Westchester and Rockland about the cashless toll system.