highway officials quietly suspended their E-ZPass enforcement
operation for seven weeks this summer to fix the system that was
spewing out about 270,000 erroneous notifications to valid customers
each month, the Newark Star-Ledger reported. During the shutdown,
the state saved $1.5 million by not paying its contractor to send
out the notices.
officials said the July 15 to Sept. 1 shutdown was kept quiet
to keep toll runners from taking advantage of the idle system.
Since the system was installed three years ago, the state reportedly
has spent $33 million issuing penalty letters for the electronic
tolls, but collected only $15.7 million in fines and tolls.
was reinstated after the state and its new contractor, ACS Local
Solutions, launched a campaign designed to restore the public's
confidence in the toll program.
have instituted a manual review process requiring workers to check
all photographs of alleged electronic toll cheats against computer
listings of E-ZPass users before penalties are mailed; a systematic
review of equipment, including lane by lane testing and repairing
of equipment; and a massive customer outreach program in which
E-ZPass users will receive questionnaires to verify data for such
things as the drivers' license plate numbers and their credit
card expiration dates.
shutdown, the tollbooth cameras continued snapping shots of apparent
violators, but the penalties were not issued in most cases. Transportation
Commissioner Jamie Fox told the newspaper the state decided not
to let "habitual offenders" get away with it. The E-ZPass
system sent fines to people who were caught beating the E-ZPass
tolls at least 10 times during August, he said.
though fines were not being levied during the shutdown period,
tolls were still being collected.