Issue 386 October 7, 2002
New Jersey transportation officials released statistics last Tuesday that showed more customers than usual signed up for E-ZPass in the month after it fired WorldCom as its contractor and announced a plan to reform the financially floundering system.
Despite the implementation of a $1 monthly fee, which was announced July 15 along with other planned changes, about 35,000 new customers opened New Jersey E-ZPass accounts in the month that followed. Officials said that was about 7,000 more than the average month. Although 1,000 more customers than average also dropped out of the program between July 15 and August 15, these losses were clearly outstripped by gains in new customers. Officials from the Port Authority told the Star-Ledger that it had not seen unusual gains in customers to New York’s system, which does not charge a monthly fee.
The enrollment hike is likely the result of restored confidence in the system, which is projected to have a $469 million debt by 2008.As New Jersey’s system expands the use of high-speed toll collection technology, E-ZPass will likely attract even more new customers. Putting in more high-speed gantries, which read E-ZPass transponders at regular highway speeds, was one of the stated goals of the report released by DOT in July (MTR #374).
Another perk that would likely attract large numbers of new customers is more congestion pricing schemes that reward E-ZPass users over cash payers and give big discounts to off-peak E-ZPass holders. Unfortunately, the Garden State Parkway recently abolished the small incentive it provided
In the future, a larger discount for E-ZPass users, such as the 50-cent one given by MTA Bridges and Tunnels, should be used along with congestion pricing as a greater incentive.
MTR #386 portable document format (PDF) file version
(requires Adobe Acrobat).
Related Articles and Links
E-ZPass: the Next Generation (July 8, 2002)
Pass Should Be EZ-er
MTR search facility and back issues:
Search our database of all past issues of Mobilizing the Region since Fall, 1994.
Go to index of all Mobilizing the Region back issues