JAMESTOWN, R.I. – The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) has conducted a public information campaign to encourage motorists to properly mount their E-ZPass transponders in their vehicles. The campaign was launched due to safety and cost concerns and traffic delays at the Newport Pell Bridge toll plaza due to improperly, or unmounted, E-ZPass transponders. Starting on August 21st RITBA will begin collecting higher tolls for vehicles that do not have a transponder or when the transponder is not properly mounted. For passenger vehicles, the toll will increase from $0.83 (for RI residents) and $0.91 (for Non-resident E-ZPass users) to $4.00.

RITBA installed and operates state of the art electronic open road tolling equipment (ORT) at the Newport Pell Bridge. This technology provides ease of use for motorists and provides efficiency and lower cost for the Authority. This digital computerized system reads the transponder and automatically generates the toll. If a vehicle does not have a transponder or the transponder is improperly mounted the backup license plate recognition system is employed. This backup system is not fully automated as RITBA staff must review photographs of the license plates. This is a time consuming and labor intensive process which is more costly than the fully automated transponder reads.

An assessment of the higher toll reflects the higher costs and incentivizes motorists to use and properly mount their transponder to receive the discounted toll.  This allows for the tolling software system in the ORT lanes to work as intended; for efficiency, ease of use for motorists and lowering Authority costs. The backup system for license plate identification for unread transponders is time-consuming and costly to the Authority.

Not having a properly mounted transponder also creates safety concerns.  RITBA staff has witnessed distracted drivers who while approaching the open road tolling, hunt through their vehicle for their transponder and wave it close to the windshield to try and have the electronic equipment read of the transponder. This creates a very unsafe situation.

RITBA hopes that the continuation of this information campaign and subsequent higher tolls will encourage all E-ZPass customers to comply with the Authority’s E-ZPass mounting regulations.

If anyone needs assistance with mounting a transponder or additional mounting strips, contact the E-ZPass office at 1-877-743-9727. Instructions to properly mount your transponder can also be found online atwww.ezpassritba.com under the FAQ section

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).