Topic: Good to Go
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
July 13, 2012 at 4:53 PM
If you are selling a car in Washington state, or might someday, this warning is for you.
Maureen O’Hagan, a reporter here at The Seattle Times, sold her used sedan to someone who later drove it a couple times on the Highway 520 floating bridge. She never owned a Good to Go toll pass, but the 520 cameras clicked the license plate — and a bill for $7.40 was mailed to her.
She filed a state Report of Sale for the VW Golf in February. But it turns out the buyer hadn’t yet filed an application for the car title. In that situation, the state data used by the toll contractor, Electronic Transaction Consultants, still shows the old owner, said Brad Benfield, spokesman for the state Department of Licensing.
O’Hagan says she made four phone calls totaling one hour, and made three inquiries online, and located her vehicle records. She initially wondered aloud if ETCC and Good to Go were conspiring to soak travelers.
“I should have just paid the $7,” she now says. The state has added a $5 processing fee, which will escalate if the dispute drags much longer. After 80 days, vehicle owners are charged a $40 civil penalty per unpaid trip. “It’s still up in the air,” she says.
She’s not alone. In six months since tolls began on 520, there were 89 cases in which a toll bill was dismissed by an administrative law judge because someone no longer owned the vehicle, according to state Department of Transportation figures. Undoubtedly there are more cases that haven’t reached the 80-day window to trigger a formal penalty and hearing process – or where people simply paid the bill rather than wade through red tape.
So what’s the solution?
Basically, the seller can drag the buyer by the scruff on the neck, figuratively speaking, to a neighborhood licensing agency and watch him sign the new title application. And keep a copy of each paper or online form.
Benfield said one of his own coworkers at DOL sold a used car to a dealership, got a toll bill after it was taken for a test drive, and contacted the dealer to solve the problem.
“It can happen to anybody,” he says.
Here’s how another Times reader paid for someone else’s trip: She forgot to scrape the toll pass off her windshield when she sold the car, so the buyer used her prepaid Good to Go account.
In all, about 92,400 people have reached the civil penalty phase, of which 1,600 bills were dismissed for various reasons, including the 89 challenges by ex-owners, says DOT spokeswoman Patty Michaud. Here is the official tolling information page, including a hotline number and a link to toll rates.
January 12, 2012 at 10:33 PM
The Washington State Department of Transportation expects to mail out its first batch of toll-related bills within the coming week to drivers who crossed the Highway 520 bridge without an automated pass.
WSDOT said it will mail about 19,000 toll bills to drivers who crossed the bridge between Dec. 29, 2011 and Jan. 4, 2012.
Drivers who opted for the mailed bills are charged $1.50 more per trip than drivers who use the automated ”Good to Go” pass. The agency said the higher rate covers the cost of generating the bills.
For more information about the tolls or how to open an automated “Good to Go” account, go here.
December 30, 2011 at 8:46 AM
Traffic on the Highway 520 bridge was even lighter today than yesterday, according to the state Department of Transportation.
At 8 a.m., only a few cars could be seen crossing the floating bridge. Traffic across the region was light on most roadways as the New Year’s holiday approaches.
State tolling director Craig Stone said this morning that Highway 520 is “carrying about half the traffic” seen on the bridge on Tuesday or Wednesday, but he attributes most of that to it being a Friday before a holiday weekend.
Stone said that from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. this morning, about 75 percent of all motorists crossing the floating bridge had a Good To Go! Pass.
December 22, 2011 at 11:42 AM
Ready for tolling next week on the Highway 520 bridge?
The state Department of Transportation reports today that while there are typically 100,000 vehicle trips a day on the bridge, by the end of last week only about 20 percent of those trips were by vehicles with Good to Go passes installed.
Tolling on the bridge begins Dec. 29. Commutes will be costly but may take less time, staff reporter Susan Gilmore reports from the news conference.
The tolls are expected to cut traffic roughly in half as drivers head for the I-90 bridge and other routes to avoid the cost. About 1 in 5 drivers are likely to shift to the I-90 bridge, Craig Stone, the state’s tolling division director, said at a morning news conference.
The result, he predicted, will be traffic moving 5 to 10 mph slower on the I-90 bridge and 20 mph faster on the Highway 520 bridge.
The Dec. 29 start is long anticipated and, of course, dreaded by drivers whose commutes will get a lot more expensive.
Money will be electronically debited from motorists’ accounts as vehicles pass through and the windshield sticker is read. There will be no toll booths on 520.
Tolls will vary by time of day, with the busiest times being the costliest. For drivers with a “Good to Go” sticker, it will cost $3.50 to cross the bridge during peak commuting hours. Weekend afternoons, $2.20; overnight there will be no charge.
The cost for a commuter driving at peak hours could exceed $1,600 a year.
Cars without the sticker will be billed by mail and charged an extra $1.50, about equal to the extra cost of processing.
Drivers also can use a “pay by plate” system, allowing them to sign up online to make a trip using a prepaid account, at the standard rate plus 25 cents.
Tolls will be higher for trucks and trailers. A three-axle vehicle with a state toll sticker will pay $5.25 each way during peak times, for instance.
Public-transit agencies, registered van pools and registered private buses, will be exempt from tolls. Carpools and motorcycles will pay the normal toll rate.
The startup follows months of delays. The state blames technical problems in tracking and billing drivers. The late start meant the Department of Transportation missed out on an estimated $1 million a week in tolls.
If the system works as planned, tolls will help raise money for a new floating bridge, while reducing traffic at peak times.
The state’s toll website is goodtogo.org (phone hotline is 866-936-8246) to set up an account and order a toll sticker. Drivers prepay into an account, using a debit or credit card, or they can arrange for an automatic draw from their bank account into the Good to Go account. It will take four or five business days for a sticker to arrive by mail.
Passes can also be purchased at customer-service centers in Seattle’s University District, Bellevue or Gig Harbor. The basic $5 windshield stickers are also sold at QFC, Costco, Fred Meyer and Safeway stores — but make sure to activate them online using the state website or phone line.
Other pass types include a Velcro-mounted version that costs $8 and can be switched among cars. Motorcycle passes, which are small, clear and can be stuck to the headlamp, are $8. A license-plate mounted pass is $12.
People who cross without a pass and fail to respond to a mailed bill will be rebilled in 30 days for an extra $5. If that goes unpaid another 50 days, a notice of civil penalty will be issued, similar to a parking ticket, for $40 plus accumulated tolls and fees. A private, state-contracted collection agency then contacts the motorist, who will not be able to renew Washington state license tabs without paying up.
Here are the locations for local service centers, where you can buy a pass:
University District, Seattle: 4554 Ninth Ave. N.E., Suite 100.
Bellevue: 13107 N.E. 20th St., Suite 4.
Gig Harbor: 3212 50th Street Court N.W., Suite 200, off Olympic Drive.
Correction: This item, originally published at 11:43 a.m., was corrected at 9:15 p.m. This item originally said that 20,000 Highway 520 commuters had purchased Good to Go passes.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
Trending with readers