Grace period for Maryland E-ZPass toll penalties extended for two weeks
BALTIMORE -- The Maryland Transportation Authority has extended the E-ZPass grace period by two weeks.
Transportation officials voted on the extension at a special meeting Wednesday, hours before the grace period was originally supposed to end.
The grace period to pay your Maryland toll fees before you start facing hefty fines was set to end at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.
Now, drivers who have not paid outstanding video tolls from the State of Maryland will start facing escalating fines in two weeks.
The new deadline is Dec. 14 at 11:59 p.m.
The Maryland Transportation Authority says it will resume referring unpaid toll bills and late fees to the MVA central collection unit.
People were standing in line early Wednesday morning, in the cold rain, waiting for answers from E-ZPass.
Those waiting to pay their bill told WJZ it was a challenge just getting a response.
"I couldn't get hard answers on the phone," Baltimore resident Wendell Shannon said. "I couldn't get final numbers based on calling."
"They've got to have a better system than this. It's just stupid," truck driver Ed Smith said.
Those who stood in line Wednesday to speak with an E-ZPass representative said, at one point, there were more than 200 people waiting.
"It's over 200 people here and the line goes all the way back around the corner," said Anne Arundel County resident Cynthia Boyd.
Smith told WJZ he stood in line for seven hours on Tuesday before being turned away.
He said he then tried to go online to pay his tolls, but couldn't.
"I had to come back this morning," Smith said. "I was here at seven, around the back corner of the building here, and I'm still standing in line."
Shannon said he has an E-ZPass but recently received a bill for $7,000 in the mail.
"E-ZPass can't even give me an answer as to why this is happening," Shannon said.
Laurine Sanders, who relies on using the tunnel for work, is also looking for answers.
"I go through that tunnel 15, 20 times per day," Sanders said. "We're getting double billed, triple billed. And who wants to get something saying $19,000?"
The agency is urging customers to check their accounts before the end of the day for any unpaid video tolls before the $25 dollar late fee kicks back in.
Since the 9-month grace period was instated back in February due to the pandemic, the MDTA says it has waived $137 million in late fees for about 756,000 drivers and businesses that have paid their outstanding video tolls.
In a statement to WJZ, MDTA said customers with outstanding toll debt can contact them for saving opportunities.
Remember video tolls are separate from E-Zpass accounts so the agency is encouraging customers to check their accounts online.
WJZ has spoken with outraged drivers who tell us they received E-Zpass bills in the mail this month ranging from $900 to almost $3,000. Some even alleged the fines were associated with incorrect license plate numbers.
A spokesperson for the MDTA said video toll balances delayed due to the pandemic were posted online in September.
Customers with outstanding toll debt can contact the MDTA for potential savings opportunities.
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