GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WBEN) - Some Grand Island residents have discrepancies in their E-Z Pass statements and were charged more than 20 times the nine cents it should cost residents to cross the bridge.
"Nobody really looks at their E-Z Pass statement and I didn't start looking at my statements until I received a violation notice in the mail, which subsequently brought my attention to my E-Z pass statement and I found it," Marinello said.
"Just a pain all the way around," she wrote to WBEN. "...I am a 20 year resident, have had 5 vehicles on my plan- down to 2, never had issues like this before."
The New York State Thruway Authority spoke to WBEN but the public information officer was not authorized to conduct a broadcast interview by phone. They could not publicly comment on individual instances.
However, they provided us with several links with details about cashless tolling and E-Z Pass. The Thruway Authority told us that money that is collected from the tolls go directly back into the toll system. The representative also told us that if a person does not pay a bill by the due date, they will receive second bill in the mail with a 30-day due date and a $5 fee. After that, it becomes a violation and may be referred to the collection agency. They did not provide us with information regarding the vehicle classification issue but you can learn more about that by clicking HERE.
Among the information sent to us from the Thruway Authority includes proper mounting information as people who flash the E-Z Pass using their hand may run into issues. They also sent us basic information about E-Z Pass including what happens if you have a low balance threshold or a problem with an account balance, plus information about toll payments.
McMurray said he was told there is a glitch in the system where certain people are being charged incorrectly.
"It is unfortunate but I am hopeful that it is resolved," McMurray said.
McMurray said he thinks a lot of the issues are with the cashless tolling system and, like Marinello, is urging people to look at their E-Z Pass statements.
"You need to make sure that you're following up if you've been charged and not paid your bill," McMurray said. "I think that's where some people are running into serious problems. If you ignore that bill, you're going to get a penalty and it's going to go up. If you ignore it long enough, they're going to refer it to a collection agency."
He also said reporting incidents of discrepancies will help the thruway authority improve their systems.
New York State Senator Chris Jacobs re-introduced legislation this year which would discontinue the collection of tolls entirely at the Grand Island Bridges. The same bill was also introduced in the Assembly by fellow Republican Angelo Morinello. However, the bills are unlikely to pass. Jacobs said the tolls are unfair for Western New Yorkers and that he will continue to introduce legislation in future years.