Sales of MTA Bridges and Tunnels On-the-Go tags reached a milestone Thursday with more than 200,000 sold in cash lanes at MTA crossings, as even occasional drivers and vacationers are discovering the convenience of buying the tags at toll booths.
“It’s clear that drivers, including occasional travelers and vacationers, are embracing the ease and convenience of buying a pre-packaged E-ZPass On-the-Go tag, which allows them to save both time and money at MTA crossings,” said Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara.
A pilot program to sell On-the-Go tags in cash lanes began at the Henry Hudson Bridge in June 2011 and was expanded to the other eight crossings in March and April of 2012. Nearly 82,000 E-ZPass accounts were opened through May of this year, with the majority (38,058), coming from sales of On-the-Go tags. The rest were through the Internet (30,045), walk-in center (9,198) and mail/phone (4,672).
Sales of the pre-packaged tags, which are sold in cash lanes at all MTA crossings except Henry Hudson Bridge where a pilot all-electronic cashless tolling pilot is underway, helped push MTA’s E-ZPass market share to an overall weekday average high in May of 85.1 percent.
Data also suggests that sales are remaining strong during the summer months when E-ZPass usage historically tends to drop because there are more occasional drivers, vacation-goers and out-of-towners using MTA crossings. Yet, June was the strongest month for sales of On-the-Go tags in cash lanes this year, with a total 13,640 tags purchased. Sales were strongest on the weekends, particularly Saturday.
“Customers traveling on summer weekends are buying E-ZPass On-the-Go tags in cash lanes and getting a discount while reducing toll plaza delays for all motorists,” Ferrara said.
Sales in cash lanes edged over the 200,000 mark Thursday morning. The tags can be purchased in cash lanes for $30, plus the price of the current trip. If linked to a credit or debit card, it can be used to pay up to $30 in tolls. There is a $10 tag deposit if it is not linked.
The most tags have been sold at the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which has tolls plazas in the Bronx and Manhattan, with more than 45,000, followed by the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge with more than 40,000, the Throgs Neck Bridge with more than 35,000 and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge with more than 30,000.
On-the-Go tags must be registered within 48 hours of its first use, or the tag is deactivated. This can be done on line at www.ezpassny.com or by calling a toll free number at 1-800-333-TOLL (8655).
Accounts can be replenished automatically through a credit/debit card, Pay Per Trip using the ACH system where the amount is deducted from a bank account once the trip is taken, at one of three area walk-in centers or using the MTA Reload Card, which allows drivers to refill accounts with cash at any of the 2,500 Visa ReadyLink locations throughout the region. The MTA Reload Card is not a credit card; it simply identifies the account for the cash reload.