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E-ZPass Sucks
moi | ML/NJ

Posted on 12/16/2001 7:30:57 AM PST by ml/nj

E-ZPass Sucks!

This is a tale of bad faith, or possibly fraud, on the part of the government which collects highway tolls here in the northeast. But for those outside the northeast, I should probably explain first what E-ZPass is. And before I do that I should also explain that we are routinely stopped while driving on our highways here by highwaymen demanding tribute. The highwaymen here call the tribute "tolls," but a rose by any other name ... you know. If I want to drive from my home in New Jersey to Belmont Park on Long Island, about an hour away, I must pay $11 to $13 tribute during the course of my round trip.

It's not just the money that is stolen from me. They steal my time too. It is not uncommon to have to wait a half hour to pay a fifty cent toll to leave the New Jersey Turnpike. Even a person who makes minimum wage loses $3 every time this happens, but to the people who whine about the minimum wagers that time is worthless.

Under the guise of making things better, the highwaymen have come up with a new system they call E-ZPass. Drivers request and receive transponders linked to their credit cards, and optionally to their license plates too. Cars equiped with these transponders can drive through special lanes which can detect the transponders without stopping. (Usually there is a speed limit of five to 15 mph to drive through.) Of course "special lanes" don't just materialize by themselves, especially on roadways leading to bridges and tunnels where real-estate is scarce. "Special lanes" are created from lanes where cash had formerly been accepted. It is so bad that on one recent trip through the Queens Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan on a Saturday evening, it appeared to me that there was only one lane accepting cash.

Fortunately (?) for me, I had already acquired an E-ZPass transponder so I did not have to find out how long the poor people on that line had to wait to use the tunnel and, in fact, the growing waits to pay with cash is what drove me to get my transponder.

I had resisted E-ZPass for as long as I could. I don't like the idea of an electronic record being made of my comings and goings. I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be doing. I just don't like it. I think most Freepers will understand. I also believe the entire system to be illegal. One of the legal principles of our monetary system is a concept known as legal tender. Legal tender is that which must be accepted by law for goods, services, or debts. In the United States, one must accept Federal Reserve Notes, just as if they were the equivalent gold or silver coin they pretend to be. Refusal to accept legal tender voids the debt. Paper money is so ingrained in our psyches that one has to reach for a history book to read of times where merchants would accept only gold or silver, and they would refuse to accept paper claimed to be equivalent. When the government would force the merchants to accept the paper, it would hardly have tolerated a scheme where the merchant said he would accept the legal tender if the purchaser would just cool his heels for half an hour while some low level clerk figured out how to account for the payment, but gold and silver was accepted immediately. The E-ZPass scheme is no different.

Now, on to the bad faith ...

Back in October, shortly after I received my E-ZPass transponder, I drove down to Virginia from New Jersey. The tolls begin as soon as one gets on the Garden State Parkway and they don't stop until he gets through one of the Baltimore tunnels. All of the highwaymen, about ten in each direction, now accept E-ZPass. One of the places that accepts E-ZPass is the Delaware Memorial Bridge. I don't cross it very often. I don't recall what the toll is. I don't even recall if it is collected in both directions.

Last week I received a "Notice of Toll Violation" on a piece of paper bearing logos of both "E-ZPass" and the "Delaware River and Bay Authority." They tell me, "Your licence plate was recorded by the system for violation(s) listed below. Our records indicate that your vehicle used the 'E-ZPass Only' land without a valid E-ZPass account or failed to pay the required toll in a staffed lane. In addition to the toll, a $25 administrative fee has been imposed for each violation listed below."

Now I guess their equipment failed to register my transponder on my return trip. It is completley within their ability to have matched my license plate to my E-ZPass account and have sent me a note that they were charging my account an extra $3 because they detected this mistake on the part of their equipment.

Instead they pretend that they tracked me down through the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles database which matches my license plate, my address and me. Of couse they have all of this information in their own, presumably smaller database which is probably where they got the information from anyway. They even have a record of my having passed through the toll barriers just before and after the one in question, duly recorded by their equipment and entered into their database. I guess they just forgot to look. In their notice to me they never consider the possibility that I might have one of their transponders even though I would guess that the ratio of "violators" who have an E-ZPass transponder and weren't detected to those who are actually trying to beat the toll is quite high. But some government fool thinks this is a fun new way to exact tribute from the little people.

If there's some lawyer here on Free Republic who wants to take these people on with the intent of dismantling the whole system, I might be willing to make myself a test case.

ML/NJ


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1 posted on 12/16/2001 7:30:57 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
More reasons that I am glad I live in Texas.
2 posted on 12/16/2001 7:35:59 AM PST by Pete53
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To: ml/nj
Interesting...the toll on the DWMB is $3.00.

Are you fighting this??

3 posted on 12/16/2001 7:37:22 AM PST by Neets
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To: ml/nj
So typical. SOmebody forgot to "close the loop" by providing some indication to the driver that the transponder had been detected. Typical government efficiency. :-(
4 posted on 12/16/2001 7:40:04 AM PST by Eala
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To: ml/nj
Good luck......
5 posted on 12/16/2001 7:42:15 AM PST by The Real Deal
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To: ml/nj
So far I've received four notices of violation complete with a photo of my car going through the toll booths on the GSP. I have filled out the form and returned the required information and each time they have been "kind" enough to rescind the violation. Each time it's cost me the postage and time to clear their mistakes up becuase they have a faulty system.

Yes, E-ZPass does suck. If you get a response here from an attorney, keep me posted.

6 posted on 12/16/2001 7:42:28 AM PST by Cagey
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To: ml/nj
Consider shortening this (250 words or less) and sending letters to the editors of as many papers as you can. Summary: E-Z Pass is a risk to anyone who uses it.
It does not tell you if it detected the transponder.
If it fails to detect you (the transponder failed, or any other reason), you get socked automatically with big penalties that can take hiring a lawyer to resolve.

(But if you hire an attorney, best confer with him first.)

7 posted on 12/16/2001 7:44:20 AM PST by Eala
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To: ml/nj
At least we don't live in France. The EZ Pass monthly statements can also serve as a handy record of when and where your spouse has traveled throughout the day.... :-)
I'd pay anything not to have to wait in that "cash only" line anyway and I'm not paranoid about being singled out for surveillance as one of millions who use EZ Pass.
8 posted on 12/16/2001 7:45:55 AM PST by LurkedLongEnough
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To: KLT
bump
9 posted on 12/16/2001 7:46:30 AM PST by lowbridge
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To: ml/nj
Once I cried when I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.

If this is all you have to bitch about, stop bitching and be glad you have what you have.

PS: Going to the racetrack at Belmont Park seems to remove any sympathy vote......

10 posted on 12/16/2001 7:48:01 AM PST by MindBender26
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To: ml/nj
But some government fool thinks this is a fun new way to exact tribute from the little people

What really p!$$e$ me off is that it killed my campaign for Maine (highest tax burden state in the US) to "Tax the Tourists"! "Yes Sir, that'll be $10 cash to enter/leave the state."

11 posted on 12/16/2001 7:48:44 AM PST by ROCKLOBSTER
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To: Cagey
So far I've received four notices of violation complete with a photo of my car going through the toll booths on the GSP. I have filled out the form and returned the required information

I'm curious. How many times would you say you have sucessfully gone through GSP barriers with E-ZPass? I'm interested in their failure rate. (I don't drive on the toll roads that often to have a sense of this myself.)

I am aware of others who seldom use the Parkway but have received notices similar to the ones you have received. At least the GSP seems to consider the possibility that you may not be a "violator," but they don't bother to match your license plate (or name and address, if you didn't specify a license plate) with the information in their own database either. As far as I am concerned that's bad faith too.

ML/NJ

12 posted on 12/16/2001 7:52:09 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
Yesterday I asked the toll collector whether she had a gun. She said, "No. Why?"

I replied, "Robbers usually use a gun."

Shame on Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey for these tolls!

13 posted on 12/16/2001 7:55:37 AM PST by NetValue
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To: ml/nj
I can't help with the EZ pass situation, but when we go to Virginia we try to avoid I-95. You can't get around the Delaware Bridge, but we save in tolls and time by going I-295 to the bridge and then cutting through Delaware (I think it is 13, with exit soon past the bridge) catching 50 and going over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Then go over to Washington and around the beltway. I don't have a map in front of me, so check it out. You pay the Delaware Memorial Bridge getting out of NJ but not the other way.

I don't know where in VA you go, or where exactly you live, but when we go to Richmond, we also sometimes take I-78 to I-81 and cut over on 17 at Winchester back to I-95. It cuts out all tolls except for the one across the Delaware River at Easton. That toll is 50 cents one way for now. They are going to raise it to $1.00 and do away with tokens. That is a pleasant ride compared to going through all the major cities.

Why is it that on one way tolls they are always out of NJ? It costs us to leave, but is free to come in!!

14 posted on 12/16/2001 8:03:41 AM PST by AUsome Joy
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To: Cagey
Yes, E-ZPass does suck. If you get a response here from an attorney, keep me posted.

If you think this is bad, just wait until a National ID is imposed on all of us.

15 posted on 12/16/2001 8:04:52 AM PST by pray4liberty
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To: ml/nj
Thank you for posting this. Back in 1995, I lived in Nanuet, NY, and picked up EZPass when in first came out. What a mistake. After multiple screw-ups and $25 dollar "administrative fines", I went to one of the field offices in Spring Valley, NY, to complian about this nonsense. The government "worker" dididn't care at all that there was something wrong with my account that kept registering that I had no balance even though the credit card had a $10K limit, and plenty of room on it.

After 5 minutes, the slob behind the window kept saying "sir, you'ds best be payin da fine". Being that I'm a hotheaded ex-boxer, I did the most logical thing I could think of; I punched the wire reinforced safety window that the government slob was behind. Hard enough that it "spiderwebbed" the glass. Then I turned, went home and waited for the cops to arrest me. A week went by, an nothing happened. Oh, well.

Now that I'm back in Jersey, the "pressure's on" to get EZPass again. No way, no how, no sir. I've already read of millions of dollars in overcharges to the dupes that use EZPass. Besides, why should I expedite the process of being "robbed" by the government? There's no reason in this day and age to even have tolls, except to fund the workers and administration that collects tolls in the first palce. And it still amazes me that many of the people who have to re-arrange their weekend arrival and departures at the Jersey Shore due the the traffic-creating tolls, did NOT vote for Schundler, who would have ripped the abominations down. It just goes to show how easily conditioned humans can be. "The roads will fall apart if we don't have tolls" was the popular sentiment expressed by the idiotic over the issue. Oh well, we have to suffer because our neighbors are stupid.

I've also read on more than one occasion that EZPass was used to determined "whereabouts" in criminal cases, and I know of one divorce case in which a husband was proven to be cheating on his wife, because the husband's EZPass records were pulled and showed he was making "extracurricular" trips.

As long as I can help it, I will not get EZPass. I'd rather sit in traffic.
16 posted on 12/16/2001 8:05:38 AM PST by motzman
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To: LurkedLongEnough
At least we don't live in France.

Got that right. The tolls there are even more outrageous, but their intention is to force you onto the train. I think the tolls from Paris to Nice add up to about 50 bucks (plus you're paying 4 dollars a gallon for gas.) Once you add up the costs, it makes more sense to take the train unless you really need your car.

That said, we don't have tolls here in Wisconsin, but I have an "I-Pass" for the tolls in Illinois, and it works without a hitch. I've never had it miss a payment, and when I signed up, they asked me for all of the license plates I'd be using it with so that if I had it in another car, and it missed a payment, I wouldn't get charged.

The time saved is worth the negatives that come along with it. Doesn't mean I like tolls though...granted, I've never been through one that's more than a dollar...
17 posted on 12/16/2001 8:06:18 AM PST by July 4th
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To: NetValue
Shame on Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey for these tolls!

No...shame on the people who live there and allow the politicians to do this.

18 posted on 12/16/2001 8:08:17 AM PST by AlaskaErik
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: MindBender26
PS: Going to the racetrack at Belmont Park seems to remove any sympathy vote

What's this supposed to mean?

Is your life so shallow that you think that all who attend the races are degenerates of some sort? I was there for the Breeders' Cup races, which were held in New York for the first time since 1995. These are now broadcast around the world, and people travel here from all over the world to attend. I met and spoke with several from a huge group of Englishmen who made a 48 hour trip to the USA for no other purpose than to watch these races in person. If they merely wanted to, oooh, gamble they could have visited any turf accountant on their own shore and watched on their own TV's. They recognize some beauty in life which you deny. Too bad for you. Go get a copy of Jay Privman's beautiful Breeders' Cup book and open your eyes.

ML/NJ

20 posted on 12/16/2001 8:09:34 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
"I don't like the idea of an electronic record being made of my comings and goings. I'm not doing anything I shouldn't be doing. I just don't like it"

I live on Long Island and this is the reason I refuse to get EZPass. BTW, recently I have experienced very little or no wait time at the cash only toll booths.

21 posted on 12/16/2001 8:10:16 AM PST by deadhead
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To: ml/nj; technochick99
I had a 'light flash' on a I-Pass lane (similar to your EZPASS). It lit up the back of my car, indicating that my I-Pass did not get deducted. No fault of mine -- my I-Pass was properly mounted and fully charged with money. If they try and play some silly game, I will pitch the biggest fit they have ever seen.
22 posted on 12/16/2001 8:11:04 AM PST by Lazamataz
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To: motzman
Oh yeah, I'm sure many here have EZPass and never have had a problem. Don't worry, eventually you will. And then you won't be dealing with a company that you're dissatisfied with. You'll be at the mercy of the government....and they'll be NOTHING you can do about it.
23 posted on 12/16/2001 8:12:56 AM PST by motzman
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To: LurkedLongEnough
The EZ Pass monthly statements can also serve as a handy record of when and where your spouse has traveled throughout the day.... :-)

If a person has to keep track of a spouse like that, they have much bigger problems than tolls.

24 posted on 12/16/2001 8:14:19 AM PST by Lazamataz
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To: MindBender26
If this is all you have to bitch about, stop bitching and be glad you have what you have.

Although it may seem trivial, this is a much bigger problem than most people realize, and has the potential to expand throughout other aspects of life if we're not careful.
25 posted on 12/16/2001 8:15:28 AM PST by motzman
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To: ml/nj
What makes you think they only have these systems in the Northeast ???? They're everywhere, dude.... Thanks for the explanation nonetheless.
26 posted on 12/16/2001 8:17:13 AM PST by falconi
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To: Lazamataz
Al Capone originated this form of government years ago...its called PROTECTION!
27 posted on 12/16/2001 8:19:51 AM PST by 1 FELLOW FREEPER
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To: pray4liberty
If you think this is bad, just wait until a National ID is imposed on all of us.

Well, this is sort of a regional ID, and in some ways more invidious than a national ID card. No one says their detectors only have to be placed only at toll barriers. But some here think it's silly to worry about the government knowing whatever it wishes to know about us. They want to make it easy for future Clintons to blackmail whomever they want to blackmail whenever they feel the need to blackmail them.

ML/NJ

28 posted on 12/16/2001 8:20:07 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: Eala
Summary: E-Z Pass is a risk to anyone who uses it.It does not tell you if it detected the transponder.

Yes, it does. You have to wait until the stoplight turns green, which indicates that the transponder has been detected.

29 posted on 12/16/2001 8:21:07 AM PST by kuk77
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To: ml/nj
Hire a Lawyer!

That's exactly what the lawmakers intended. The lawmakers are all lawyers.

If out dear lawmakers had our best interests at heart, they would see that the most economically efficient thing to do would be to make the roads free, which would result in higher productivity and a larger tax base. But they are scheming lawyers, a.k.a. middlemen, a.k.a. moneychangers, a.k.a. f@#$ers.

30 posted on 12/16/2001 8:22:24 AM PST by Born to Conserve
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To: JoeEveryman
Republik of Connecticut

At least Connecticut had the sense to remove the tolls on the turnpike and the Hartford area bridges.

ML/NJ

31 posted on 12/16/2001 8:24:08 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: JoeEveryman
My big rig is charged $26.00 to cross the Delaware Memorial Bridge, $30.00 to enter NYC from the G.W., and about the same to use the Triborough. EZ Pass is convenient for me as it eliminates the need to carry SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS in cash when I am dispatched into the northeast. EZ Pass is coming to the Illinois Tollway system shortly and it is currently being used on the PA Turnpike as well. Eventually it will become the universal toll collection device and for those of you worried about being tracked I guess it means more worry. So qwitcherbitchin and go back to paying with greenery or stay off the toll roads and pump a few extra gallons of petrol to compensate for the extra miles driving out of your way.
32 posted on 12/16/2001 8:26:02 AM PST by CARTOUCHE
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Comment #33 Removed by Moderator

To: ml/nj
Last spring I inadvertently drove into the EZpass lane coming off the Tappanzee bridge. No place to put money. No one came to my aid. So I took off, half expecting to see a flashing red light in the rear view mirror. No hot pursuit. Never got a notice either.
34 posted on 12/16/2001 8:32:42 AM PST by yikes
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Comment #35 Removed by Moderator

To: motzman; Racebannon.
Being that I'm a hotheaded ex-boxer, I did the most logical thing I could think of; I punched the wire reinforced safety window that the government slob was behind. Hard enough that it "spiderwebbed" the glass

You are spidering plexiglass with a single punch?

I wanna set you up in a bout with RaceBannon. RaceBannon is a big tough Marine, 6 foot infinity and 250+ of muscle, so this should be interesting. I wanna organize it and promote it: "The BigKill in FreepVille."

I wanna wear my hair like Don King and say "Only in America" all the time.

36 posted on 12/16/2001 8:33:11 AM PST by Lazamataz
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To: falconi
What makes you think they only have these systems in the Northeast ???? They're everywhere, dude.... Thanks for the explanation nonetheless.

With the exception of Florida, you would be hard-pressed to find a toll road or toll bridge in the southern United States.



37 posted on 12/16/2001 8:36:36 AM PST by who knows what evil?
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To: ml/nj
I wonder how many accidents have been caused by the craziness at the toll booths caused by E-ZPass as vehicles jockey from lane to lane trying to figure out which lanes are cash and which are not. All it takes is one semi in front of you, and you have no clue. I recently had to make an expedition into Jersey, and opted to avoid the Parkway, which would have been much simpler and faster, and negotiated a spiderweb of 2 lane back road. It was a much more pleasant journey, though, as long as one overlooked the poorly marked roads and roads that changed names seemingly at random. I saw sights that I would never see otherwise, like the World's Largest Rock Museum and some very picturesque junk yards.
38 posted on 12/16/2001 8:37:01 AM PST by Fresh Wind
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To: falconi
What makes you think they only have these systems in the Northeast ????

In 1991 I made a USA road tour with my family. We hit 30 states plus Ontario, and drove just over 8000 miles. We got as far west as Las Vegas (omitting California because we had made a separate family trip there earlier that year). I thought it might be interesting to collect various items as trip souveniers and so I started a toll receipt collection. It wasn't much of a collection. After I left New York State, I think I paid one toll to reneter the US north of Detroit, and then single tolls entering and leaving Chicago. That was it. I never paid another toll.

That's why I explained things the way I did. There's a reason why folks in LA call them "freeways," you know.

ML/NJ

39 posted on 12/16/2001 8:37:23 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: kuk77
You have to wait until the stoplight turns green, which indicates that the transponder has been detected.

Not quite accurate. This is how some E-ZPass booths work. Here in NJ, I understand that if you are detected it says "EZPASS PAID" or some such, and if you are not detected it just says "GO." They don't want people slamming on their brakes with another victim following closely behind. When one drives on roads outside his own normal driving area there is no way to know how the system will react, if it reacts at all.

ML/NJ

40 posted on 12/16/2001 8:43:16 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: yikes
inadvertently drove into the EZpass lane ... Never got a notice

Believe me. The thought has occurred to me that the only people who do get notices are the ones in their own database.

ML/NJ

41 posted on 12/16/2001 8:47:04 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: scan59
*
42 posted on 12/16/2001 8:53:34 AM PST by babyfreep
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To: ml/nj
I use EZpass on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (and Philadelphia area bridges, sometimes). I have yet to have a problem with it, and it's pretty nice sailing past a huge line of cars.

My opinion would change on a dime on my first receipt of a nasty-gram, however. They're fools if they allow this to remain a problem for users; their focus right now should be on making the system more popular. A substantial toll discount would be one way to go about it; they're saving money on toll collectors, so why not pass along the savings?

As for the congestion problem, it will ultimately shorten the wait time for the remaining cash lanes as the system gains popularity. Right now it's a pinch because so few people use EZpass, but that will change.

As for the "tracking" problem, it does concern me, but it's easily defeated in a pinch. The day I suspect that the government is seriously interested in my whereabouts is the day I loan my transponder to a trusted friend.

43 posted on 12/16/2001 8:55:05 AM PST by Physicist
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To: JoeEveryman
Driving in the northeast is every trucker's bane. There is no joy, there is only a lot of cursing and finger waving, it's nuts. Fortunately, EZ Pass has solved much of the toll booth delays. And for most of us the companies hold the EZ Pass accounts. Certainly, I don't hate you four wheelers but I surely don't hold your driving techniques in high esteem. In New Jersey for instance, sidewalks are used to allow four-wheelers to go around big trucks stopped at lights and other intersections. But I digress. Remember it is a "privilege" to drive on the nations's roadways. At least that's what I remember from the driving handbook when I was first licensed back in 1969. What a crock.
44 posted on 12/16/2001 9:02:57 AM PST by CARTOUCHE
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To: MindBender26
PS: Going to the racetrack at Belmont Park seems to remove any sympathy vote......

I will tell you that the track is a true republic, you either have a winning ticket or you don't, there is no getting by on one's looks or who one knows like you must be used to.

45 posted on 12/16/2001 9:04:00 AM PST by TightSqueeze
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To: Physicist
I use EZpass on the Pennsylvania Turnpike (and Philadelphia area bridges, sometimes). I have yet to have a problem with it, and it's pretty nice sailing past a huge line of cars.

It might be nice, but I a mindful that I am passing by fellow citizens made miserable by our government. It makes it not so nice for me. If the government cannot employ enough people, and construct enough toll booths, so that those who have to pay don't have to wait, then they should find some other way to pay for the roads. The government routinely thinks that the citizen's time is worthless. I'm sure I spend a couple of hundred hours collecting information for the taxman (and then I have to pay someone $1000+ to put it all together because it's way too complicated for this Freeper with a couple of Math Degrees to do himself). It's involuntary servitude or, in the case of the tolls, false imprisonment.

ML/NJ

46 posted on 12/16/2001 9:22:03 AM PST by ml/nj
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To: ml/nj
Citizens against tolls

Join Today.

47 posted on 12/16/2001 9:22:17 AM PST by Cagey
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Comment #48 Removed by Moderator

To: JoeEveryman
the generous people of the Republik of Connecticut still hold this honor. However, Maine holds a very respectful fourth position

No, no, no! We have to be #1 in something.

According to the taxfoundation we have the highest TAX BURDEN per capita in the US.

We are 37th in income and patently HOSTILE to business.

In education we don't do to badly, but those lucky recipients of that "blue chip" learning experience wind up being smart enough to move the hell away.

49 posted on 12/16/2001 9:55:06 AM PST by ROCKLOBSTER
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To: ml/nj
California has this scam also. They call it Fast Track or something like that. My dad has a sensor thing that look like a small plastic clam on his dashboard that's susposed to register automaticly each time he drives through a toll booth. He told me once he got photo ticket in the mail for driving through a fast track lane without paying the toll, even though the toll appeared on his fast track bill. He complained and said the car in front of him slowed down real quick right before the toll booth, forcing him to slam on brakes to keep from hitting the other car. Apparently this is a scam in the LA area. People without the fast track sensor can dodge the fast track toll by slowing down quickly right before going through the booth, forcing the car behind them to close up and block their license plate, and the car behind is the one that gets photographed and ticketed. My dad got the ticket repealed but it took a long time and he had to prove his innocence.
50 posted on 12/16/2001 10:13:25 AM PST by aomagrat
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