MTA Bridges and Tunnels to Introduce New E-ZPass Cash Reload Card
Under a pilot program to be launched next summer, MTA Bridges and Tunnels plans to introduce an E-ZPass cash reload card, which for the first time, will give customers the ability to refill their E-ZPass tags by using cash at more than 2,000 retail stores and kiosks throughout the tri-state region.
"E-ZPass is the fastest, easiest, and most environmentally-friendly way to pay for tolls, and we hope to get people who may have been reluctant to try it a reason to give it a second look by giving them another way to manage their account using cash," said Donald Spero, Chief Financial Officer for MTA Bridges and Tunnels. "Customers with E-ZPass tags issued from the NY Customer Service Center also receive a discount from the cash toll."
Affiliated Computer Services, Inc., the contractor that oversees E-ZPass at the NY Customer Service Center, has teamed with Visa, Inc., to provide this cash reload card for MTA Bridges and Tunnels. Of the nearly 800,000 average daily vehicles that use the MTA's seven bridges and two tunnels, 75 percent of vehicles use E-ZPass.
What this means for MTA E-ZPass customers is that in addition to linking accounts by checking, credit/debit cards, or by paying at E-ZPass walk-in centers, customers can now choose a convenient local retail store or kiosk in their area to replenish their E-ZPass accounts with cash. Once the transaction has been approved, customers will receive an e-mail confirmation and their current account balance. Funds will be available for use within 48 hours or less. The E-ZPass tags can then be used at any toll facility where E-ZPass is accepted. A small but as yet undetermined fee may be charged by retailers for this service.
The E-ZPass cash reload pilot is being done in conjunction with the all-electronic (cashless) tolling pilot project at the Henry Hudson Bridge. The first phase of this project, in which gates will be lifted from E-ZPass lanes at the Henry Hudson Bridge, is scheduled to begin in January 2011. Cash lanes will continue to operate as they do now during this phase of the pilot. The cashless phase, in which toll booths will be phased out, is expected to begin in January 2012.