30 drivers penalized for unmounted E-Z Pass transponders

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pell bridge toll plaza rainy_281061

JAMESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Getting an E-ZPass is supposed to give you a discount on paying a toll, but improper mounting of the E-ZPass transponders has led to 30 motorists paying the full rate at the Newport Pell Bridge since officials started enforcing the rules.

Going through the E-ZPass lane with a transponder not attached properly to the right spot in the vehicle will cost the driver the full toll of $4 per trip, instead of the discounted 83-cent toll (larger vehicles cost more). Repeat offenders risk having to pay administration fees or losing their passes altogether.

The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA)’s Kathy O’Connor said Tuesday 30 people have had to pay the undiscounted toll rate because of mounting issues since the penalty started being enforced in July.

Every month, about a thousand E-ZPass drivers need assistance by a human because their transponder — the box with a radio communicator indicating the car is going through the tollbooth — is not properly affixed to their windshields. It’s a safety issue, and holds up traffic, frustrating other drivers, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) said in June, which is why it launched a campaign to tell drivers to get their passes mounted properly — or pay the price.

The transponder is supposed to be behind the rear view mirror, favoring the right or passenger’s side of the windshield, with secure mounting strips. Some drivers, for whatever reason, hold it in their hands and think the necessary radio “tag” can be communicated between the box and the overhead receiver by simply waving it in the area.

Linda Maclean, who’s worked at the Pell Bridge for almost a decade, said in June, “I’ve actually seen [drivers] back up into other cars because they’re more focused on getting the gate to go up than they are looking in the rear view mirror.”

RITBA encourages you to call their customer service center at (877) 743-9727 if you need new mounting strips.

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