Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Double TaxTag double bills 50,000 Austin drivers

Equipment glitch causes double-billing on Austin toll roads


Associated Press
Copyright 2007

About 50,000 vehicles have been double-billed on Austin-area tollways because of faulty equipment, Texas Department of Transportation officials said.

The agency said Monday that the problem has occurred about one out of every 600 times a car passed one of the tolling points since charging began in January.

The agency has adjusted its equipment and software in the past few weeks to stop the problem, although it could still occur at a less-frequent rate, like once every 2,000 toll transactions.

Officials said the charges will be reversed for any customers who have been double-billed.

"We will reverse all of them," said David Powell, the department's director of turnpike information technology and toll operations.

Powell said the problem occurred at tolling plazas where the overhead flat-panel antennae were out of adjustment, causing faulty communication with electronic toll tags on car windshields.

If the antenna is not aimed correctly, it can read the tag on one car while believing that it is communicating with a car in a different spot. Then, those cars that have already seen debits to their tag accounts might be photographed by the equipment at a different spot and charged again.

Powell said a number of antennae were out of adjustment, but the one causing the most problems was on the westbound center lane at the Lake Creek toll plaza on Texas 45 North.

He said the antennae could have been installed incorrectly or knocked out of adjustment during construction.


Information from: Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com

© 2007 The Associated Press: www.ap.org

To search TTC News Archives click HERE

To view the Trans-Texas Corridor Blog click HERE