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Posted at 2:15 PM ET, 02/22/2011

Getting E-ZPass for ICC

By Robert Thomson

Travelers who read my driver's manual for the Intercounty Connector on Sunday noted that I recommended using an E-ZPass if they planned to regularly use the toll highway, and they asked how to get one.

There are no toll booths on the connector. The E-ZPass electronic transponder allows drivers with an E-ZPass account to pay the toll immediately. If a car doesn't have a transponder, the vehicle owner is going to get a bill for the toll plus a $3 service charge. (The connector is now set to open at 6 a.m. Wednesday, but tolling won't start till March 7, and the service charges won't be added till midnight April 5.)

An E-ZPass issued by any of the two dozen agencies in 14 states that offer them will work on the ICC.

Some travelers prefer to shop around online for the best deal on an account. The prices vary a bit from state to state, and according to whether you're setting up to pay by check, or credit card, or a direct withdrawal from a bank account. Some jurisdictions require a deposit, or charge a transponder fee. Many have a monthly service charge.


Virginians can create an account online with the Virginia Department of Transportation. See the Virginia FAQs page.

Many drivers who had their accounts with Maryland got angry when the Maryland Transportation Authority imposed a $1.50 monthly maintenance fee in 2009. Some decided to look elsewhere for accounts. (Pennsylvania, for example, charges a $6 annual fee. New Jersey has a monthly fee of $1.) But if Marylanders plan to use toll roads with any frequency, they may skip the shopping and just sign up with the local program, so here are the details on that.

Maryland's E-ZPass
Use this link to enroll online. There's a $21 fee for the transponder, plus the monthly account maintenance fee of $1.50. See more account details.

Maryland also is part of a program called E-ZPass "On the Go," which allows drivers to pick up an E-ZPass locally and start using it right away, then go online to set up an account within seven days. See a list of the retail locations, which include Motor Vehicle Administration offices in Gaithersburg and Beltsville.

If you choose this "On the Go" system, you'll be picking up a packaged transponder at the retail location for $46. (That charge covers pre-paid toll balance is $25 plus the remaining $21 transponder fee. You then mount the transponder on your car. But then you must visit the E-ZPass Maryland Web site and register your transponder within seven days of its first use.

By Robert Thomson  | February 22, 2011; 2:15 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Driving, Highways, Maryland  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, E-ZPass  
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Comments

When NJ started charging a monthly fee, I just switched to a VA EZ-Pass (I live in VA).

If VA starts charging, I'll just send them their transponder back and pay manually. Why the heck should I pay to save them money? That makes no sense.

Posted by: afsljafweljkjlfe | February 22, 2011 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Fcku that stih. Big Brother is not going to know how to track me. No transponder for my car!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

Yeagh!

Posted by: bs2004 | February 22, 2011 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock,

Would you please write an article about why the ICC was built without a pedestrian/bike path despite failed promises by the Maryland State Highway Administration to do so?

I am really disappointed that the ICC was built without any provisions for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus-riders, etc. It violates the principles of Secretary Ray LaHood's livable and walkable community initiative, which he announced on March 18, 2009 before the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Thanks,
Jesse

Posted by: jbest05@yahoo.com | February 22, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock,

Would you please write an article about why the ICC was built without a pedestrian/bike path despite failed promises by the Maryland State Highway Administration to do so?

I am really disappointed that the ICC was built without any provisions for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus-riders, etc. It violates the principles of Secretary Ray LaHood's livable and walkable community initiative, which he announced on March 18, 2009 before the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Thanks,
Jesse

Posted by: jbest05@yahoo.com | February 22, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock,

Would you please write an article about why the ICC was built without a pedestrian/bike path despite failed promises by the Maryland State Highway Administration to do so?

I am really disappointed that the ICC was built without any provisions for pedestrians, bicyclists, bus-riders, etc. It violates the principles of Secretary Ray LaHood's livable and walkable community initiative, which he announced on March 18, 2009 before the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Thanks,
Jesse

Posted by: jbest05@yahoo.com | February 22, 2011 6:46 PM | Report abuse

I have 2 EZ-passes, one for my own car from the NY State Thruway Authority, one for when I travel and need a rental car, that is from the Peace Bridge Authority. I have two, so that if one or the other starts to charge a fee, I can just return it and not worry about getting another. Neither charges a fee, neither charges a deposit, so long as you choose automatic replenishment from your credit card (and in the case of the Peace Bridge Authority, choosing to receive electronic statements)

Posted by: Nemo24601 | February 22, 2011 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Va guy, that's great if you're a Virginia resident, but non residents can't buy ezpass in VA. However, they can buy PA EZPass, which is cheaper than EZPASSMD. Google EZPASSPA, it's $6 a year vs MD's $18 year. FYI.

Posted by: nittany2 | February 23, 2011 7:08 AM | Report abuse

Non-residents of Virginia can indeed get a Virginia E-ZPass, although VDOT discourages it.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 23, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

To follow up on my last comment, I just looked at the Virginia E-ZPass site and confirmed that, while it says that the account application provided there is only for Virginia residents, anyone can apply. The application form lets you select the two-letter code for any US state or territory or Canadian province or territory.

Posted by: 1995hoo | February 23, 2011 8:56 AM | Report abuse

After half of New Jersey abandoned the NJ EZ Pass for Delaware (at that time no fee, they've changed that now), the state authorities agreed to discourage nonresidents from applying. However, they do not actually turn them down. So Marylanders, faced with a $21 deposit for the tag itself, I suggest you apply in Virginia, or else New York state. I also suggest the Peace Bridge Authority, which runs one bridge from Buffalo to Canada. They are not bound to any state or country and happily accept applications from all. If you take the credit card auto replenishment option, with electronic statements, there is no fee or deposit, you pay an initial sum, I believe $15 and then when that sum is depleted by tolls, they charge your credit card for another $15 (they can adjust this amount if you pay dollars in tolls every day). If you lost your tag, you'd have to pay $25 for a replacement, but that's true anywhere.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | February 23, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Beware applying in New York State. The New York Service Center will assign your account to an agency which will either charge a $1 fee or will not charge any fee. The "bi-state agency" in the New York Service Center is the Port Authority of NY and NJ, which does charge the fee, and they get almost all of the non-NY State resident accounts. If you are a NY resident, your account will typically be assigned to MTA (Long Island and NYC), NYS Bridge Authority (Hudson Valley) or NY Thruway Authority (everyhwere else in NY) which does not have a fee.

So if applying for E-ZPass from NY with an out of state address, you'll likely get the $1 fee. But, if you travel to NYC frequently, the discounts more than make up for the fees. A round trip on an MTA crossing costs $13 with out of state E-ZPass or cash, and $9.60 with a NY E-ZPass. The Port Authority crossings are $8 cash, but only $6 with a NY E-ZPass during off peak hours (outside rush hours on weekdays, outside the noon to 8PM hours on weekends).

Posted by: thetan | February 23, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I got the Peace Bridge Authority (PBA) tag 2 years ago just before the DRJTBC (Water Gap) imposed the $1/mo fee.

At the time, there was no warning about non-PBA users should go elsewhere and subject to cancellation. When signing on now, simply state that you are from NYS, and choose the YES radio button that you will use that facility. Then proceed with the application.

I suspect if you simply choose the auto-replenishment, keep your credit card info up-to-date, use it someplace during the course of each year, and otherwise do nothing to attract attention, you will miss the account analysis of getting kicked out. The actual terms and conditions do not say anything about usage of that facility being a requirement.

If all else fails, and you live west off the Hudson River, like in NJ, go to an On-the-Go location under the MTA or NYS Thruway Authority in person. That eliminates the possibility of being assigned a PANYNJ account. That would include the Staten Island Service Center to demand a NY account from either of those agencies or the NY Bridge Authority. MTA tags are also available at the Transit Museum Store in Grand Central Terminal.

Posted by: slahey1 | February 28, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I got the Peace Bridge Authority (PBA) tag 2 years ago just before the DRJTBC (Water Gap) imposed the $1/mo fee.

At the time, there was no warning about non-PBA users should go elsewhere and subject to cancellation. When signing on now, simply state that you are from NYS, and choose the YES radio button that you will use that facility. Then proceed with the application.

I suspect if you simply choose the auto-replenishment, keep your credit card info up-to-date, use it someplace during the course of each year, and otherwise do nothing to attract attention, you will miss the account analysis of getting kicked out. The actual terms and conditions do not say anything about usage of that facility being a requirement.

If all else fails, and you live west off the Hudson River, like in NJ, go to an On-the-Go location under the MTA or NYS Thruway Authority in person. That eliminates the possibility of being assigned a PANYNJ account. That would include the Staten Island Service Center to demand a NY account from either of those agencies or the NY Bridge Authority. MTA tags are also available at the Transit Museum Store in Grand Central Terminal.

Posted by: slahey1 | February 28, 2011 5:27 PM | Report abuse

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