If you use the Thruway's E-ZPass, you need to check your statements for common card-reading errors

When the E-ZPass system works, it works; but there may be times when it doesn't. The New York State Thruway Authority says you need to carefully check over your online statements due to possible card-reading errors.

If the E-ZPass reader has a glitch, or doesn’t read a toll pass properly, six drivers using I-90 in the area could make the state about $100.

The state Thruway has hundreds of thousands of drivers everyday. One of those drivers is Douglas Yeomans. Yeomans has a long commute between home and work — about 53 miles each way — so he uses the NYS Thruway. In fact, he pays for a special E-ZPass program, so most of his tolls are zero. According to his E-ZPass statement, some trips get up to $3 or $4.

“When I see a $15 charge and I’ve never been south of Albany,” Yeomans said. “I know there’s a problem.”

Fortunately, Yeomans checked his E-ZPass statement, because on June 29, he was charged $14.87. On July 4, he was charged $15.58.

Why did this happen?

Yoemans’ statement showed that E-ZPass did not register where he got on the NYS Thruway.

But it tracked the exit where he got off, and that’s when the system charged him as if he entered the NYS Thruway at the furthest toll away.

Yoemans says it’s possible his receiver slid down his dashboard. The E-ZPass website warns receivers on the dashboard “will not work all the time.”

Messenger Post’s news partner, News 10NBC spoke with the New York State Thruway Authority. The authority said if this problem should happen, drivers should immediately get a warning from E-ZPass as they go through the toll.

News 10NBC checked the thruway’s traffic and financial reports.

From January to April this year, 40,648,511 vehicles traveled the NYS Thruway from Buffalo to just north of New York City. Seventy-five percent of those vehicles had E-ZPass, and the state made more than $91 million.

That $91 million figure is not surprising, considering a trip from the Pennsylvania state line to Rochester costs about $5 alone, just to drive about 120 miles within one state. To get from Buffalo to about an hour west of Albany is around $10.

The question is, how much of that $91 million is from undisputed toll charges that drivers don’t know to look out for?

It was lucky that Yeomans thought to look online, because on just two trips, E-ZPass overcharged Yoemans by $30.

“It takes time out of my day and my everyday routine. And it’s kind of a pain,” he said.

Yoemans said he called E-ZPass and got his money back within 48 hours.

If there’s a problem with an E-ZPass charge, call 1-800-333-TOLL. Check E-ZPass statements monthly and look at all charges going back 90 days.