Today I got a letter from NC Quick Pass that pointed out some of the problems and pitfalls of toll roads and privatization of government services.
And while i do make it to the Triangle area once or twice a month on business, I wasn't there on May 15. The closest toll road to Haywood County is in Greenville, SC.
Today (June 22) I received a bill and statement from NC Quick Pass for a toll incurred on May 15 on the Triangle Expressway. Of course, this appears to be a "practice run" to encourage frequent users of that route to purchase a "quick pass" rather than receiving a bill for every trip, since the tolls don't go into effect until August. But this letter pointed out a couple of problems.
First, the vehicle in the picture wasn't mine. I do indeed drive a Honda with an Appalachian Trail specialty license plate, and the car in the picture was a Honda with an Appalachian Trail specialty license plate. But my Honda Civic Hybrid is white, and the Honda in the picture was a dark color, and didn't have the tell-tale "US NAVAL ACADEMY" decal on the rear bumper. The license number in the picture taken by the toll camera was illegible, although it appeared to contain some of the four digits that match mine. And while i do make it to the Triangle area once or twice a month on business, I wasn't there on May 15. The closest toll road to Haywood County is in Greenville, SC.
More troubling is that the administration of billing is really a problem. The vehicle in question was pictured on May 15, the transaction was posted to the billing system on May 18, the bill was prepared and dated June 2, postmarked on June 19, received by me on June 22, with a due date of July 2 -- 30 days from the bill date, but 10 days from the date I received the bill.
How many North Carolina vehicle owners, who never set foot in the Triangle, will be receiving bills from the contractor who provides toll collection services? And before the toll goes into effect, will this private contractor's billing cycle and process improve so that those who receive VALID bills have more than a few days to pay?
There are those who will say "typical government bureaucracy." But this is the work of a private contractor.
NC QUICK PASS. Late notice, but never received original bill.
I just received a bill which includes a civil penalty of $25 because quick pass says I did not pay a $6.00 bill in May. I don't dispute being on the expressway. The problem is that I never received the original bill--and we were expecting it, so it's not a case of it getting overlooked.
I'm going down there tomorrow, but I doubt there is anything that can be done. It will be their word against mine. I looked at the request for a review, and this is not one of the options. I suspect I will have to pay the late penalty, or they will hold my auto registration hostage.
A word to the wise: Don't take a North Carolina toll road--ever. My short trip will end up costing $15.00 per mile because of the Agency's screw up. Even if they were to give me a waiver, it's still time and gas out of my pocket to go down there.
Why not just call on the phone? BECAUSE I WANT A RECEIPT FROM THESE INCOMPETENT FOLKS.