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Cashless Tolling Hurts Motorists Who Use Thruway The Least

New York state’s decision to move to cashless tolling is a good one.

It will make people’s Thruway trips faster and safer, though we do feel for the toll workers who told quickly and impersonally that their jobs were vanishing nearly overnight.

The move makes the most sense for frequent Thruway users who have an E-ZPass account. Most daily commuters with an E-ZPass won’t notice a difference in Thruway tolls. That makes sense, of course. Why would the state want to anger its most frequent Thruway users?

Someone will pay, though, and it’s the infrequent Thruway users who never needed an E-ZPass because they only traveled the Thruway for special trips to Buffalo or Rochester. Those drivers will be billed a higher tolls by mail rate after cashless tolling cameras take a picture of their license plate. How badly are those without an E-ZPass being hit?

In a recent op-ed sent to the Buffalo News and other outlets, Matthew Driscoll, state Thruway Authority executive director, said the mail rate will be 30% higher than the base E-ZPass rate and a $2 administrative surcharge per billing statement. Drivers with an out-of-state E-ZPass will pay 15% more than the New York E-ZPass rate.

Ouch.

Those who have been accustomed to finding change to pay their tolls had better become accustomed to finding paper money — you’re going to need it.

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