WHITE PLAINS, NY — The New York State Thruway Authority today announced an amnesty program for Tolls By Mail cashless tolling customers using the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. The three-week program, set to launch in February, will allow cashless tolling customers with open violations to receive amnesty. Eligible motorists will receive a letter from the Thruway Authority and must pay all outstanding toll balances by February 21. The amnesty will then be applied to violation fees for passenger vehicles of Tolls By Mail customers with open violations that were issued between April 24, 2016 through January 31, 2018.
The Thruway Authority also announced the first steps in a multi-pronged action plan to increase educational outreach related to cashless tolling billing at the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. This plan will improve the customer service experience by educating more motorists about how to pay toll bills on-time and avoid fees, violations and possible registration suspension. These steps include:
· Installing more specific roadway signage that clearly outlines payment options to avoid late fees and penalties. The signage will better highlight for motorists that they have passed a tolling point and if they don’t have E-ZPass, they need to pay via Tolls By Mail. The signs will clearly instruct drivers who don’t use E-ZPass to “AVOID PENALTIES” by calling **826 for toll payment options.
· Improving the wording on tolls bills and envelopes to emphasize ways to avoid fines and penalties. The revised Tolls By Mail bills and envelopes will make it clear how a customer can avoid fines and penalties by paying tolls by the due date. The envelopes will prominently say, “AVOID FEES,” and toll bills will say, “Avoid fees of up to $100 per toll transaction by paying your Toll Bill by the due date.”
· Updating the Thruway App and websites – thruway.ny.gov, e-zpassny.com, and tollsbymailny.com – to direct users to update their address with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This will remind drivers that New York State law requires motorists to keep their address current with the DMV to ensure bills are mailed to the proper owners and that they must update their address with the DMV within 10 days of moving.
· Working with other agencies to increase E-ZPass educational outreach to showcase E-ZPass as the most convenient and cost–effective way to travel on New York’s roadways, bridges and tunnels.
· Developing a public service announcement on how to pay tolls and avoid fees and penalties that will be displayed at Thruway Service Areas, DMV offices, websites, etc.
Acting Executive Director Mathew J. Driscoll stated, “Cashless tolling is a critical part of modernizing our infrastructure. Reduced congestion and air pollution, along with improved safety means better quality of life for all. Open road cashless tolling represents the future for efficient transportation. The Thruway Authority’s commitment is to improve our customers experience by increasing educational outreach to address concerns related to the billing process but it should also be recognized that there must be a balanced and an effective system to enforce the rules for all motorists who use the bridge.”
The additional steps will add to the Thruway Authority’s current outreach which includes informative educational materials in Thruway Service Areas, signage for more than a mile leading up to the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge, and information on thruway.ny.gov, e-zpassny.com, and tollsbymailny.com.
Drivers are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the most convenient and cost- effective way to travel New York’s roadways by signing up for E-ZPass. With a New York E-ZPass tag, drivers save on tolls across the state, including a five percent discount along the entire 570-mile New York State Thruway. E-ZPass tags are available for purchase at many Thruway Service Areas and approximately 840 retailers across the state.
To sign up for an E-ZPass account , go to www.E-ZPassNY.com; at E-ZPass Customer Service Centers; or by calling the E-ZPass Toll Free Customer Service Center at 1-800-333-TOLL (8655). E-ZPass can be paid for with a credit card, check, money order or in person at any E-ZPass Customer Service Center.
Customers who don’t have an E-ZPass and use the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge can pay their toll before a bill arrives by visiting tollsbymailny.com and pay in a few short steps by providing their license plate number, along with a payment method and period of time traveled. Motorists can also access additional information about how to pay by calling the Tolls By Mail customer service center at 1-844-826-8400.
To ensure that all users of Thruway toll facilities pay their fair share, a series of enforcement measures are in place to combat toll payment evasion and chronic toll scofflaws. Customers who do not pay their tolls are subject to violation fees, registration suspensions, and other enforcement actions. For the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo bridge, if the first toll bill is not paid by the customer, a $5 late fee will be imposed on the second notice. If a second notice is also ignored, violation fees of $100 per toll will be imposed.
New York State law requires motorists to keep their address current with the Department of Motor Vehicles to ensure bills are mailed to the proper owner. Drivers must update their address with the DMV within 10 days of moving. The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has enacted regulation that allows suspension of the vehicle registration of motorists with three or more unpaid tolls, violation fees and other charges resulting from violations on different days, as well as registration suspension of commercial vehicle owners with $200 or more in unpaid tolls and violation fees, within a period of five years. Repeated notices are sent before eligibility for suspension.
Motorists who use cashless tolling but claim they have not received a toll bill should contact the Tolls By Mail Customer Service Center at 1-844-826-8400 immediately to address the issue, and avoid any fines. For questions regarding Notices of Toll violation, contact the E-ZPass Customer Service Center at 1-800-333-8655.