Toll cameras are watching on Highway 167

 

The in basket:  Richard Hurley passed along an e-mail exchange he’d had with the Good to Go! toll office for the Tacoma Narrows Bridges and the Highway 167 HOT lanes near Kent after he was surprised to find an unexpected 50-cent change on his toll account.

“Most folks around here purchased transponders for the Narrows Bridge, (and) they could be picking up additional charges without being aware of it,” he said.

To Good to Go!, he wrote about his 50-cent toll for use of the HOV lanes, saying “On the 17th, my  wife, son and I attended a funeral in Kent and used Highway 167 to travel to Seattle. Does this (mean) a vehicle with three passengers can no longer use the carpool lanes without a charge being posted to our Good To Go account?”

A Good to Go! employee replied, “You need a transponder shield if you are carpooling in the HOT lane on SR167.  It fits over the transponder on the inside of the window and prevents the radio signal from being transmitted.  We have them here for $3.50 if you want one.  

“I will remove the $.50 charge from your account as a one-time-only toll reversal,” the reply said.

I asked Janet Matkin of Good to Go! if this is the usual resolution of such an incident and how high an inadvertent  HOT lane tolls might be.

The out basket: Yes, Janet told me, they do “typically reverse the first inadvertent toll on the 167 HOT lanes. So, customers who do not realize they must have a shield to temporarily block their transponder if they are carpooling in the HOT lanes can call the Good To Go! customer service for a one-time-only reversal.

The range of tolls on the HOT lanes is 50 cents to $9, based on how much quicker an HOT lane user gets through than those who stay in the general use lanes. “The toll has reached $9 just a few times — in June and July 2008,” she said. “The typical toll rate is about $1, saving an average of about nine minutes northbound during peak commute time and five minutes during the southbound peak commute. But, on several occasions, the time savings has been 20 minutes or more.”

The Good to Go! service center is at 1-866-936-8246 and goodtogo@goodtogo.wsdot.wa.gov

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