My money is apparently no good for the GSP
June 27, 2011 10:24 AM   Subscribe

I traveled on the Garden State Parkway in New Jersey recently. The exit toll booth had only "EZ Pass Only" and "Exact Change" lanes open when I exited. The "Cash/Receipt" lane was closed off with traffic cones. I did not have EZ Pass and only had paper bills, not coins, in the car. All of the booths were unattended. I saw no choice but to run through the "Exact Change" booth without paying the toll. Now what?

I assume I'll be getting a ticket in the mail shortly for failure to pay the toll.

How do I handle it?

Is the fact that it was impossible for me to pay the toll with paper moeny any defense for the imposition of a fine?

Is there some place I can call or go to head off the issuing of a ticket? I'm want to pay the toll, but I don't think I deserve a fine.
posted by de void to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total)
You will be getting a letter in the mail. You will likely just be asked to pay only the toll, with no fines. My EZpass occasionally doesn't register, and that is what I received when I was driving a different car that wasn't on the EZPass account.
posted by procrastination at 10:27 AM on June 27, 2011

In Illinois if you miss a toll you can go online to pay it. Can you do that in this instance?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:28 AM on June 27, 2011

Ahh, some googling yields this:

If a toll is missed on the Garden State Parkway, the number to call for assistance is 1-732-442-8600.
posted by de void at 10:31 AM on June 27, 2011

I accidentally ran a toll in Richmond, VA in the ez-pass lane and I called and gave them my license plate number and they allowed me to pay the $.75 or whatever over the phone on my credit card.
posted by ghharr at 10:48 AM on June 27, 2011

I ran a toll in Florida and also got a bill for .75, payable by credit card online, by phone, etc.
posted by toodleydoodley at 11:17 AM on June 27, 2011

As an aside, In NY and NJ, the toll camera will take a picture of your plate. If your EZPass didn't register, they'll manually match the plate to your account. They wouldn't even send a letter in that case.
posted by Citrus at 12:00 PM on June 27, 2011

From what some friends of mine, who routinely blow through the exact change lane on the GSP, occasionally throwing a few token pennies into the basket when they're in the mood, tell me, the exact change lanes are totally unenforced. This may be because the mechanical coin counters are so unreliable that it would be impossible for them go after all the people that may or may not get flagged by it. If you're nervous, go ahead and call the number.

Note: this does NOT apply to the EZ Pass lanes which are heavily enforced. The transponders are extremely reliable and every missed toll is visually reviewed. I know this because I had my EZ Pass upside down for a week, causing me to constantly get toll unpaid messages which I didn't see cuz I don't even look at the message. But I was still charged each toll - it just took a week or two for someone to look at the pictures, run my plates, and charge my account. No extra fines either, so it must be common.
posted by exhilaration at 12:15 PM on June 27, 2011

I accidentally used an EZ Pass lane in NY last October and haven't gotten a bill yet. Thanks to this thread, maybe I'll look for a number to call.
posted by vitabellosi at 12:20 PM on June 27, 2011

Call the number, give them your license plate, and you will most likely just have to mail them the seventy five cents without any trouble. Cash lanes are closed all the time, especially at exits, so the Authority must deal with this all the time. Years ago, booths had an envelope dispenser just after the bucket. If you missed the toll or didn't have change, you could take an envelope and mail in your quarter.

As as aside, the likelyhood of getting a ticket is relatively low- in New Jersey, state police will actually staff toll booths to verify and record toll violations. A ticket will be issued if the driver blatantly disregarded the toll and the officer can verify that there wasn't a malfunction or the driver didn't just miss the bucket. Because of this, tickets (for exact change lane violations) are issued rarely but only like 5% of them are successfully appealed by the driver.
posted by tommccabe at 6:31 PM on June 27, 2011

I did this in Massachusetts so it's probably not relevant but it might help- I got a picture of my license plate in the mail along with a $1.00 fine. However, they clearly stated that if I did it again, I'd receive a $50.00 fine.

I got a transponder.
posted by JohntheContrarian at 6:40 PM on June 27, 2011

As a follow up, 3 months later I have heard exactly zilch from the Parkway authority, so I think exhilaration has it.
posted by de void at 11:08 AM on September 29, 2011

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