In Central Florida, traffic can be horrendous, especially near the tourist areas. The key to avoiding this is to use one of the many toll charging expressways. The money that you spend in tolls is usually made up by less fuel consumption, and fewer frazzled nerves.
Florida has installed a statewide toll system, where you purchase a transponder to put in your car, and the toll is paid as you drive by the toll booth. This is a convenience for the driver, and a money saver for the state, as the system requires fewer toll booth operators. The system is called SunPass.
With the SunPass system, you set up an account, tell it which transponders are yours, and you prepay your tools by purchasing credits in $10 increments. You can do it with cash, or program it to place a predetermined amount of money in there, and charge it to a credit card. I have one, and it is convenient to not have to stop and wait at the toll booth every few miles.
Good idea, right? Until politics get involved. You see, Orange County figured out that they can get more cash if they cut the state out of the action, so they established the Orange County Expressway Authority. This authority has their own automated toll system, called EPass. An Epass transponder is supposed to allow you access to the SunPass system roads, and vice-versa.
Note that I said “supposed to.” Yesterday, I got a letter from the EPass with a picture of my car, and a letter telling me that they have recorded 8 instances in the last two months where I passed through, and the system failed to recognize the transponder. The letter went on to say that the authority “may” issue me a citation for EACH time I failed to pay the toll. I immediately called the number on the letter.
This is what I was told, and what makes this so incredible:
The two systems are not always good at compatibility, and if the systems fails to communicate, it fails to pay the toll correctly. However, it is still the driver’s fault that the system didn’t pay the toll, hence the ticket.
1 On what planet does a known flaw with a provider’s equipment remain the problem of the customer?
2 There is no way for the driver to know that the toll wasn’t paid at the time of the failure. My first indication was the letter.
Nice racket, government. All of the money, none of the legal responsibility.