Questions blossom about bridge toll technology

The in basket: Curiosity about what to expect from electronic toll collecting at the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge is peaking, with a lot of questions coming to the Road Warrior about it. There are so many, I’ll be addressing them in groups over time.
Denis LaCrosse asks, “Lacking a front plate, are we antique owners getting a free pass? Granted, we don’t use them daily, but how are we going to be caught, if we cheat?”
Scott Minard read that the transponder cards the electronic readers read should be someone horizontal and expects problems with the vertical windshield on his Jeep Wrangler.


The in basket: Curiosity about what to expect from electronic toll collecting at the new Tacoma Narrows Bridge is peaking, with a lot of questions coming to the Road Warrior about it. There are so many, I’ll be addressing them in groups over time.
Denis LaCrosse asks, “Lacking a front plate, are we antique owners getting a free pass? Granted, we don’t use them daily, but how are we going to be caught, if we cheat?”
Scott Minard read that the transponder cards the electronic readers read should be someone horizontal and expects problems with the vertical windshield on his Jeep Wrangler. He asks whether people whose car’s design will frustrate the electronic toll collection will get any warning before receiving a citation in the mail after crossing once tolls begin.
Denise’s question reminded me of an issue I’ve addressed here before, the large number of vehicles with no front plate despite state law requiring one. I’ve been counting as I drive along and estimate that one vehicle in every 30 or so has no front plate.
The out basket: Janet Matkin, spokeswoman for the Good to Go! transponder program, says “Photos are taken of both front and rear license plates. Therefore, those vehicles without a front license plate will still be able to have their Good To Go! account information verified and violators will be identified.”
As for Scott’s question, Janet said, “During testing of the Good To Go! system, we incorporated a variety of vehicles, including those with non-traditional windshield configurations. The only windshields that presented problems were those with metallic shading.
“A list of those vehicles is available at the customer service center. Anyone who thinks they might have metallic shading should call the toll-free number at (866) 936-8246 to verify if they are on the list.
“If they are on the list, they will be issued a license plate-mounted transponder free-of-charge. In addition, the customer service representatives will be watching for vehicles on the list as they fill orders and will automatically issue a license-plate mounted transponder to those customers.”
Soon, before the new bridge is open, the electronic sensors will begin reading transponders on cars passing the toll plaza as they approach the existing bridge . The trip will be recorded in the driver’s Good to Go! account, but no money will be deducted. Transponder holders can find out if their transponder is working properly by checking their account online to see if the trips they’ve made across the bridge have been entered. But wait until you hear that the test reading has begun. That should be in late May.

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