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Motorists test pilot program to refill E-ZPasses at retailers

Motorists wishing to reload their E-ZPasses will be able to do so at thousands of retail outlets as part of a pilot program.
TimesLedger Newspapers

The MTA has begun a pilot program to allow motorists for the first time to reload their E-ZPasses at thousands of retail outlets in the New York metropolitan area.

Up to now, E-ZPass users with cash-based accounts were required to go to walk-in offices in Queens, Yonkers or Staten Island to add cash to their accounts.

But now E-ZPass users can go to any of 2,500 retail locations citywide, where they present their Reload Card to add cash, which is then transferred into an E-ZPass account.

“We surveyed customers who still wait on lines to pay a cash toll and many of them told us that we needed to make cash payment on E-ZPass accounts more convenient,” said Jim Ferrara, president of the MTA Bridges and Tunnels, a division of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “We listened and hope the MTA Reload Card will meet their needs.”

Bridges and Tunnels says 88.4 percent of the almost 2.2 million E-ZPass accounts are replenished via credit or debit cards and 11.6 percent, or about 250,000 patrons, pay with cash or checks.

The pilot program to simplify the E-ZPass system costs little, according to the MTA.

“One of the key benefits of this program is that we did not have to build anything,” said Bridges and Tunnels Chief Financial Officer Donald Spero. “Instead, we are taking an existing private sector system [Visa Inc.’s network] and adapting it to serve a public purpose.”

Brochures about the MTA Reload Card are available at E-ZPass walk-in centers.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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