Massachusetts E-ZPass System Shows 99 Percent Accuracy Six Months In

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, there are 1.9 million E-ZPassMA accounts and 2.4 million "pay-by-plate" accounts, totaling 4.3 million accounts.

by Gintautas Dumcius, MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass. / May 9, 2017

(TNS) -- Six months in, the new cashless tolling system along the Massachusetts Turnpike has seen transactions come to a total of nearly a quarter billion, with an accuracy rate of greater than 99 percent, state transportation officials said Monday.

Known as all-electronic tolling, the system depends on drivers using a transponder known as the E-ZPass. Drivers without an E-ZPass are sent a bill through a "pay-by-plate" system, since cameras mounted on metal gantries take a picture of a vehicle's license plate, which is then matched with an address for the owner.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, there are 1.9 million E-ZPassMA accounts and 2.4 million "pay-by-plate" accounts, totaling 4.3 million accounts.

"We are pleased to report that operations have been efficient in servicing our more than 4.3 million All Electronic Tolling accounts and ensuring we meet our goals of toll operability, excellent customer service, and an efficient toll demolition and road reconstruction process," Stephanie Pollack, Gov. Charlie Baker's transportation chief, said in a statement.

There are 3.2 million E-ZPassMA transponders in use. Some use multiple transponders for multiple users. About 86 percent of transactions are paid through an E-ZPass transponder, which drivers can load up with cash value.

"Thanks to the hard work of MassDOT tolling and construction personnel and everyone involved in this transition, our AET system is performing as it was designed to perform," Pollack added. "In addition, toll demolition and road reconstruction operations are on or ahead of schedule at all locations and data shows that drivers are already experiencing reduced travel time."

A "grace period" amid the transition to all-electronic tolling for existing "pay-by-plate" customers is ending Monday. MassDOT said 16,000 people took advantage of the "grace period" and switched from a "pay-by-plate" account to an E-ZPassMA account.

"[A]fter today, any customers being invoiced the first time for Pay By Plate will have a grace period during which they can sign up for a free E-ZPassMA transponder and pay the lower rate," MassDOT said in a release. "The end of the grace period does not mean drivers will be charged any additional fees, only that the period to receive a credit for converting accounts is ending for existing customers."

Drivers in February who went into Boston on I-90 eastbound, from the intersection of I-90 and I-95, saved up to 7 minutes, more than in February 2016, the department said.

Toll demolition and road reconstruction remains on track to be finished by the end of 2017, transportation officials said. Revenue from the switch to all-electronic tolling also aligns with projections, they said.

The last toll plaza, at the Sumner Tunnel in Boston, was demolished over the weekend.

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