AC Expressway Cracks Down On Toll Cheats [AUDIO]
The pilot program, enacted in 2012, sought to go after the most egregious toll cheats with fines and the possibility of a loss of their registration. The South Jersey Transportation Authority is taking a more proactive approach.
While both the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike go after violators who owe at least $1,000, the expressway started going after those with at least $200 in unpaid tolls.
"Once they reach a level of $200 in violations, we refer them to the Motor Vehicle Commission, who sends a letter saying they will suspend their registration privileges," said Kevin Rehmann, spokesman for the South Jersey Transportation Authority.
Those outstanding fines could add up quickly, as the Expressway is increasing toll violation penalties (formerly known as administration fees) from $25 to $50. Additionally, Expressway employees can be seen on occasion sitting in E-ZPass booths monitoring for toll cheats, and reporting their license plate numbers to nearby state troopers.
"(Troopers are) waiting around the bend, if you will," Rehmann said. "They'll be stopped and given summonses for toll evasion."
Rehmann says the Expressway has collected between $65,000 and $70,000 in unpaid tolls since the program started in 2012. It's not as much as the much more heavily-trafficked Turnpike and Parkway, which collected over $21 million in 2012 alone, but enough for Rehmann to consider it a successful program.
"The goal is not to collect fees, the goal is to get people to pay the toll," he said.