Drivers who crossed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge during the last two months without paying a toll will receive notices of infraction starting this week. Before the notices are issued, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is taking extra steps to manually review them and prevent them from being issued to Good To Go! customers in good standing.
“We want true violators to be cited for not paying the toll. But, we certainly don’t want to send infractions to any more of our customers,” said Washington Transportation Deputy Secretary Dave Dye. “We’ve given customers extra time to update their account information so we can retroactively post their pending tolls and they don’t receive infractions. This final manual review is the last step to winnow out any remaining customers before the infractions are mailed.”
A backlog of approximately 50,000 potential infractions has accumulated since the state converted to a new statewide tolling customer service center in February. Problems with the new system, as well as outdated customer account information, contributed to a delay in processing infractions while defects were fixed and public outreach occurred.
Thousands of Good To Go! customers updated their account information over the last several months in response to letters, emails, phone calls, Web site alerts and statement notices. The majority had outdated license plate numbers, expired credit card numbers, or negative account balances, which led to tolls that could not properly post to their accounts. Once information was updated, pending tolls were then charged to the appropriate accounts.
Recognizing that some customers failed to heed the many alerts and that their account information is still not up-to-date, WSDOT decided to take one further step. As a final measure, WSDOT directed its toll operations vendor to manually review all of the infractions set to go out on a given day to attempt to match them to an existing Good To Go! account holder.
“It’s a detailed process that involves trying to match vehicle owner information from the Department of Licensing with Good To Go! account information,” said Dye. “Often the names aren’t exactly the same or an address has changed or the car has a new license plate. It takes some detective work to try to determine if it’s the same person.”
If an infraction appears to be associated with a Good To Go! customer in good standing, it is pulled from the queue so the customer can be contacted and his or her account updated. If no account can be identified, or if the account has had a negative balance for a significant period, the infraction is issued. WSDOT expects to send about 500 infractions each day to the Washington State Patrol for issuance.
Despite all of these efforts, WSDOT knows there still may be a few customers in good standing who will be issued infractions. Those customers should call the customer service center at 1-866-936-8246 to have the issue resolved.
More information about Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolling is available at http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/tolling/tnbtolling . To learn more about the Good To Go! program, visit http://www.GoodToGo.org .
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WSDOT: More toll glitches discovered on Tacoma Narrows Bridge (07/19/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=2009201&more=0
WSDOT, vendor address technical errors in Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolling system (06/21/11) — http://www.tacomadailyindex.com/portals-code/list.cgi?paper=88&cat=23&id=1995536&more=0