2011-04-15 / Top Stories

Motorists Must Swap E-ZPass Tags

It’s that time again! Just as batteries in fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors need to be changed, batteries inside E-ZPass tags can also run down so in 2011 MTA Bridges and Tunnels is sending many of its E-ZPass account holders new tags and postage-paid envelopes to return the old tags.

“The average lifespan for an EZPass tag battery is nine or 10 years so it’s time to start swapping those old tags for new ones to make sure that a customer’s E-ZPass travel experience remains uninterrupted,” said MTA Bridges and Tunnels Acting Deputy Chief Financial Officer Kevin O’Keefe.

This tag replacement program only affects MTA issued E-ZPass accounts. The last tag swap occurred from 2002-2006. Since the batteries inside E-ZPass tags are sealed, the entire tag must be replaced. The agency expects to replace a total of 1.2 million tags this year. Returned tags will be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way.

Account holders will first receive a letter from Bridges and Tunnels with the number of the tag that needs to be replaced. Not every tag on an account may need to be changed since they may have been added at different times. Up to four tags are allowed on each private account.

Approximately two weeks after receiving the letter, account holders will receive a tag replacement kit, including a new tag and a pre-paid return envelope. “All they have to do is put the old tag in the pre-paid envelope and drop it in a mailbox,” O’Keefe said. “It’s that easy.”

The most important instruction is this: return the old tag. “Do not hold onto or throw the old tag away,” O’Keefe said. It must be returned or the account will be charged a $23 lost tag fee.

E-ZPass tag holders are advised to make sure that their account information is up-to-date. Name, address, vehicle make and license plate information can be verified by logging onto your account at www.ezpassny.com or by calling the New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center (NY CSC) at 1-800-333-TOLL.

An MTA tag is easily identified because it will have the MTA Bridges and Tunnels logo on it and the first three numbers of the tag are always 008. The bulk of the MTA E-ZPass tags that need replacing are in New York City and Long Island, but there are also some MTA accounts in other areas. E-ZPass accounted for 76 percent of all transactions at MTA crossings in 2010, the highest year-end market share in its history at B&T.

Cars using an E-ZPass tag issued through the New York E-ZPass Customer Service Center (NY CSC) pay $4.80 per trip at most MTA crossings as opposed to the cash toll of $6.50. The discount at MTA crossings applies only to accounts opened through the New York Customer Service Center. Anyone, regardless of where they live, can open an account by calling the NY CSC toll free number.

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