The state says it has opened more than 26,000 new E-ZPass accounts… (PHOTO BY MATT BUTTON | AEGIS…)
The Maryland Transportation Authority says more than 26,000 E-ZPass Hatem Bridge plans have been opened since February, and this is the final week to sign up and save money on next year's renewal.
MDTA is urging Hatem Bridge users to sign up for one of the Hatem Bridge E-ZPass plans now and avoid the rush as the Sept. 30 deadline to use AVI decals approaches.
"Customers who open an E-ZPass Hatem Bridge Plan before July 1, 2012, will save $10 on renewals next year because their plans will renew before the price changes to $20 on July 1, 2013," MDTA Executive Secretary Harold M. Bartlett said in a news release Wednesday. "And those who sign up for the Choice B Hatem Bridge Plan, which can be used to pay tolls anywhere E-ZPass is accepted, can start receiving the 10 percent discount off the cash rate at all other Maryland toll plazas as they travel this summer."
"I thank our elected officials and community partners who have helped make the transition to E-ZPass more accessible and convenient for our customers," Bartlett added.
Since extensive public outreach efforts began earlier this year, MDTA has visited more than 20 businesses and events in Harford and Cecil counties and addressed the questions and concerns of more than 750 citizens.
The more than 26,000 E-ZPass Hatem Bridge opened plans since February include both the Choice A plan which covers just the Hatem Bridge and the Choice B universal plan, an MDTA spokesperson said.
The number of who signed up for the Hatem plans is far less than the 150,000 AVI decals that the MDTA said last year are in circulation at any one time; however, it is possible some of the AVI decal holders also had E-ZPasses for other toll facilities.
The AVI, which provided unlimited trips across the bridge for $10 annually, is being phased out as part of a general increase on tolls on state bridges and tunnels that began last October. MDTA originally proposed raising the annual commuter toll over the Hatem to $36 and then to $72; however, a public outcry from frequent bridge users and elected officials in Harford and Cecil counties resulted in a rollback on the increase and the creation of the Hatem A and B E-ZPass plans.
Throughout the summer months, MDTA said will continue to participate in community events and offer assistance at local employers. Check http://www.mdta.maryland.gov for upcoming events and consider opening an E-ZPass account at one of several locations. Bring vehicle license plate numbers(s) and cash, check or a credit card.
As the September AVI conversion to E-ZPass deadline approaches, MDTA says it expects area E-ZPass Stop-in Centers will become extremely busy. To avoid long lines, sign up on-line at http://www.ezpassmd.com. Existing Maryland E-ZPass account holders may call the Customer Service Center at 1-888-321-6824 to add the Hatem Bridge Choice B Plan to their accounts.
The JFK I-95 E-ZPass Stop-in Center, off Route 222 at One Turnpike Drive in Perryville, operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through September. Customers may also sign up for the Hatem Bridge plans at MDTA's other E-ZPass Stop-in Centers near Maryland toll facilities.