Tolling terms, conditions and fees – oh my

It has been an interesting week with tolling. We thought we’d take a minute to provide a little more insight and background on a few of the issues that made the rounds.

Unintentional fees
We unintentionally charged some customers additional 25-cent fees for crossing the SR 520 bridge.  A system glitch caused the toll sensors to read a Good To Go! pass and a license plate on the same vehicle as two separate transactions, which lead to an unwarranted $0.25 Pay By Plate fee, duplicate or over-axle charges. We are sincerely sorry about those charges and will be issuing credits to affected customers’ accounts.

What is an inactive fee?
There also were a few stories about the $5 inactive-account fee that we have in place. It’s exactly what it sounds like. If a Good To Go! account hasn’t had any activity on it for two years, we’ll make two attempts to reach a customer. If we can’t reach them we charge $5, close the account and issue a check for the remaining balance. Customers can close their account at any time and be issued a full refund of the remaining balance without a $5 fee. Charging the inactive account holder is the fairest way to cover the costs for this. The $5 charge includes the cost for locating the account holder, generating and mailing two statements, issuing a check for the remaining balance on the account and maintaining the inactive account for two years.

Where is my $10 for signing up early?
We’ve also heard from customers who want to know what happened to their $10 incentive. Before tolling started on SR 520, we offered customers who signed up early a $10 incentive if signed up before April 15, 2011. Now that tolling has started, they’re wondering why they haven’t seen the credit yet. It should be on your monthly statement for January, which should be arriving soon. Something else noteworthy about the incentive is that it’s only good for three months after tolling started. The credits will expire at the end of March if they’re not used up before then.

What is Pay By Plate?
We offer Pay By Plate accounts to customers who want to pay the lowest toll rate without having to buy and install passes on every vehicle listed on their account. It’s great for rarely driven cars, cars with metallic windshields, classic cars and your out-of-town visitor’s cars. You simply register the license plate and a photo is taken of the plate when crossing the SR 520 or Tacoma Narrows bridges. We charge a 25-cent fee because while the license plate recognition software is good, it’s not perfect, and some photos require us to review it and match the plate to an account. This takes time and money.

Unfortunately, with a tolling system that generates tens of thousands of transactions every single day, we will probably have a few more issues that pop up as we move forward. We’ll continue to be diligent about responding them as quickly and courteously as possible. And, if you notice something that’s not right, please don’t hesitate to contact our customer service center right away. We want to work with you to get it resolved. Thank you for your patience thus far.