Ask not for whom the Tobin tolls ...

The state begins its new toll-plaza-less tolling system on the Tobin tomorrow. Drivers with EZ-Pass transponders will have $2.50 added to their bill for every inbound trip. Drivers without the transponders will have their license plates photographed and scanned and a bill for $3 will go to the registered owner of the vehicle for each trip.



    Free tagging: 


    Don't forget, EZ-Pass also

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    Don't forget, EZ-Pass also sells gift certificates. They make great gifts for the holidays, birthdays or even graduations. Again,be sure to buy your loved ones an EZ-Pass gift certificate.

    Lost Tolls

    I'd be curious to see how many people with out-of-state plates just ignore the toll letters and if the lost revenue from these people equals the amount saved by not having toll booths. Does the Commonwealth even have an automated way of getting a mailing address for plates from the other 49 states?

    I'm in favor of the plan but it seems like this will be even more encouragement for people to not register their cars in the state.


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    If states enter into compacts with Massachusetts by which vehicles cannot have their registrations renewed unless the bills are paid. New Hampshire has open tolling, and Maine and I believe Rhode Island have EZ Pass, so are we going to see an uptick of Connecticut and Vermont registered vehicles?

    I'm sure there are a number

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    I'm sure there are a number of states that share information with one another. I have a friend that had a terrible girlfriend that he moved up here from Florida. The girl was unable to renew or apply for her license in Massachusetts because of unpaid tolls from Florida.

    Back in Florida she had to get around but couldn't afford to tolls, so she blew through the tolls repeatedly and amassed a few thousand dollars in tolls and fees.

    Most states already share

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    Most states already share access to plate databases. This is how out of state cops can run your plates. If this weren't the case it would be virtually impossible to do things like track stolen cars.

    Even some Canadian provinces share their plate databases with US states. If you go to Ontario and drive their 407 toll road with MA plates you'll still get a bill.

    However, they may not issue bills until after multiple uses to reduce costs.

    I'm sure any lost revenue

    I'm sure any lost revenue that does occur will be more than made up for by savings from not paying salaries and benefits to toll takers.


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    -1 for being able to travel anonymously...

    I think it's BS to have to get your license plates scanned... an on top of that, having to pay a toll!

    for now...

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    Until they stick up these transoms over every major artery coming into or out of Boston. The idea is that we have to come up with some way for paying for our roads, other than the gas tax - a real user fee. Tolls can work that way and this trial on the Tobin Bridge is meant to be emulated on as many roads as possible around here. And it looks like the Feds may relent and allow tolls on some of the major highways.

    Aside from raising revenue the additional benefit (from the pols' perspective) is making the commute into Boston a little more fair and stopping the incessant whining from Metrowest commuters about having to pay tolls when people from the north and south don't have to (they somehow conveniently forget that coming in to Boston down Route 1 or 1A results in tolls - and god knows people using the southeast expressway don't feel like they're getting away with anything driving that hot mess every day).

    So this fiscal issue will also bring about further Big Brother monitoring of the citizenry as an unintended consequence....more reason to bike in.

    Sorry, Mr. Tin Hat

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    You should have NO expectation of privacy when you're using a PUBLIC road.

    tin hat?

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    You really don't need to be a looney conspiracy theorist to think that the govt (and the contractors they hire) are pushing towards "big data" applications to track everyone -- for security purposes but mostly for marketing purposes. To not care about it at all or to just assume that there is no privacy anywhere means you're either a pollyanna or you're admitting that you're so inconsequential in this world that no one would want to keep track of you in the first place.

    The one thing I'm waiting for

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    The one thing I'm waiting for is the day they decide to start ticketing people for speeding based on travel estimations on the pike.

    Well you traveled at an average of 77mph on the pike toll to toll, here is your speeding ticket.

    Automated traffic enforcement

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    Automated traffic enforcement is against MA law and I don't see that changing soon.

    Additionally, MA law requires police to measure your speed over at least a quarter mile using radar in order to legally issue you a ticket. The law does not currently provide for issuing tickets based on average speed between points without a cop measuring your speed at each point, and I don't see that changing anytime soon either.

    Until the lawmakers determine

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    Until the lawmakers determine that it's in the better interests of the public to change the law. Police can't be everywhere at once in order to ensure that our drivers are safely traveling the roads of our fine state.

    It's all about the public'$ $afety!

    This theoretically could

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    This theoretically could happen, but hopefully there would be enough public outcry to make it a non-starter.

    Not quite....

    If you wanted to clock the speed of a vehicle, you should pace them for about a quarter mile. For radar and lidar you don't need to measure any distance and there is no law regarding those devices.

    The only potential loss of

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    The only potential loss of privacy that could result from using E-ZPass is that someone in state government theoretically could, if so inclined, look up that a transponder registered to vehicle ###-AAA crossed the Tobin Bridge on X date. That's it. No information about who was in the vehicle, or where else it went.

    I can't think of any reason that would be useful information to anyone.

    Additionally, it is much easier for law enforcement to track your location by subpoenaing your cell phone data, or even obtaining a warrant to install a discreet tracking device on your car.

    tl;dr E-ZPass is not an invasion of your privacy.


    That information has been subpoenaed for divorce cases in NJ, where the courts had to sort out whether it should be available for civil matters.

    That ship has sailed

    "-1 for being able to travel anonymously..."

    Many - by now, possibly most - police departments have license-plate scanners in all their patrol cars. The things scan every license plate they can see, and store the data in a central computer - permanently. Every time a cop car goes by your car, they record its having been there at that time. The worst part is that the database is maintained by a private company. How long before they decide to sell the information?

    It looks like Boston suspended the use of the scanners, but there's no guarantee they won't go back to using them.

    They have been taking photos of your license plates....

    for a long time now. In theory, they can figure out who comes and goes from those photos (or the technology which just uploads them to a spreadsheet, much like a scanner would do).

    On a side note, most Police departments would only have a few vehicles equipped with the scanners. They are about 10K a piece.

    Is this a joke?

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    They've had pictures of you driving, your license plate, and the make/model of the car for years now whenever you go through any toll booth.

    Cameras at tollbooths aren't exactly new technology. The only difference is they're going to actually do something with the information in order to keep us all moving much faster and basically uncork any kind of tollbooth bottleneck that used to exist on the Tobin.

    How is it trolling to suggest

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    How is it trolling to suggest a method for people without a credit card or checking account to still be able to benefit from E-ZPass?

    Recentl (7/18/14)y, the

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    Recentl (7/18/14)y, the Channel 5 investigative team looked into the problem of people not paying tolls.....
    ....... Team 5 Investigates has discovered the toll scofflaws owe $23,074,842 in unpaid tolls and fines dating back to 2002

    Read more:

    Plus most states do not share data at re-registration time, so as pointed out in the report Conn, drivers will not be penalized for money owed to Mass.

    Would it make sense now to return to two-way tolling?

    The state (and others, such as NY/NJ) adopted one-way tolling to reduce traffic backups. Now that tolls can be collected without stopping or slowing down traffic, why not charge $1.25/$1.50 each way instead of $2.50/$3.00 just one way?

    They were supposed to

    This was the original plan, so I'm not sure what changed that they decided against it. It does cut the capital cost of gantries, equipment, data storage, etc *almost* in half, but the result is MA-99 inbound being jammed up really bad in the morning.

    two-way tolling

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    My understanding is that they are doing that with the Tobin. There will be a transom set up going out to hit people as they leave and the toll will be cut in half. At least that was what MassDOT said about a year ago.

    Then again I think they also said that the panels in the Callahan Tunnel would be back up by now...