E-ZPass credits due for 86,000 cars overcharged at NJ Route 1 toll bridge
TRENTON — Tens of thousands of drivers with E-ZPass who were overcharged while crossing the Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) toll bridge this year should watch their accounts closely for credits in the coming weeks.
From February through the first week of July, thousands of passenger vehicles were overcharged a $9 toll instead of the correct $1.25 — more than seven times the correct amount — the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission confirmed on Wednesday.
A damaged piece of electronic tolling equipment in one of the bridge’s two E-ZPass-only lanes was what caused the sporadic misclassification as a truck, the commission also said.
The Trenton-Morrisville toll bridge spans the Delaware River between Trenton and Morrisville, Pennsylvania.
The mistake was found in 86,000 toll transactions recorded in the malfunctioning toll lane over that timespan.
An overhead reader was damaged after being hit multiple times by flatbed trucks loaded up with wrecked vehicles, according to an inspection of the equipment.
Those E-ZPass customers hit by the overcharges would see the retroactive adjustments reflected in their accounts, as the changes were expected to be fully entered by Sept. 9.
The timing of the credits showing up depends on the respective customer service center that issued their E-ZPass transponder and oversees their account, the commission confirmed.
In the meantime, the commission has asked drivers not to make individual requests.
How many drivers were overcharged?
The mistake was found in 86,000 of the roughly 1.4 million toll transactions (about 6.1%) recorded in the “problematic” Trenton-Morrisville toll lane over that timespan, according to a probe by the Commission along with its E-ZPass service providers, TransCore and Conduent.
That’s $666,500 wrongly collected from motorists, over a five-month period.
What cars were affected by the toll overcharge?
The commission said virtually any type of passenger vehicle could have been misclassified by the broken equipment at the Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1) Toll Bridge. (They initially thought the mistake had been limited to SUVs, vans, pickup trucks and cars with higher profiles.)
How will I know if I was overcharged?
Drivers of passenger vehicles with E-ZPass, who crossed the Trenton-Morrisville bridge between February and early July, have been urged to check their past account statements for possible overcharges ($9 toll instead of $1.25).
There’s no need to request individual refunds, according to the commission, as the automatic account adjustment process is expected to fix it.
Is the problem fixed?
The damaged equipment was replaced July 7. “Customers have not reported any equipment-induced misclassifications or overcharges occurring in that lane since that date,” according to the commission. Follow-up testing also has not turned up any overcharges.
How are they hoping to avoid such toll overcharges in the future?
The damaged toll equipment – an overhead LED/infrared vehicle profiler unit that classifies vehicles for toll charges – had been hit by multiple “flat-bed trailers stacked with poorly anchored loads of crushed motor vehicles,” according to the commission.
State Police have been asked to increase patrols in the area of the toll bridge, to try and cut down on such trailers knocking into E-ZPass equipment and doing the same kind of damage.
Who are TransCore and Conduent?
TransCore is the Commission’s in-lane toll service provider, largely handling the hardware and software that records and relays transactions at Commission tolling points.
Conduent is the company that operates the regional New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center, which processes the toll transactions and violations recorded at Commission toll bridges.