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New York State Thruway Authority: NYSTA, MTA, NY/NJ Port Authority tout creation of toll payer advocate position

Sat, Jan 4th 2020 07:00 am

New offices will work on behalf of toll payers in outreach effort about cashless tolling

The New York State Thruway Authority, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced Dec. 23 the creation of Offices of the Toll Payer Advocate for customers of these tolling agencies.

According to a press release from the New York State Thruway Authority’s Office of Media Relations and Communications, “The initiative is part of a effort by New York’s tolling authorities and bi-state authorities to assist customers who are unable to resolve their toll problems using the Customer Service Center, and to recommend administrative, system and customer service reforms as cashless tolling is implemented across the New York State Thruway by the end of 2020.

“The office will serve as an ombudsman to help ensure that toll payers receive fair and responsive treatment, identify and resolve problems and recommend reforms to improve customer service. It will also ensure that toll payers do not pay more than is owed and help toll payers understand their rights and how to avoid toll violations.

“Since cashless tolling began, New York’s tolling agencies and bi-state agencies have made significant customer service enhancements to make it easier for customers to pay, maintain their E-ZPass account, and streamline the Tolls By Mail program.”

Thruway Authority customers who have been unsuccessful in resolving their toll violations through the E-ZPass New York Customer Service Center should request assistance by completing an electronic form at www.thruway.ny.gov/tpa.

Thruway Authority Executive Director Matthew J. Driscoll said: “The creation of the Office of the Toll Payer Advocate will ensure that customers have a place to turn to get the assistance they need when issues arise. While the vast majority of Thruway customers pay their tolls, there are some who require additional assistance to resolve outstanding violations. Our customers are our top priority and with the creation of this office, we hope to continue to enhance the service and assistance we provide. This office’s number one priority is to help those who need it and it will continuously work with our tolling partners to identify potential improvements to the customer experience.”

“We welcome the introduction of a toll payer advocate as it furthers our commitment and ability to work closely with our customers to satisfy any concerns they may have,” said Daniel DeCrescenzo, acting president, MTA Bridges and Tunnels. “The advocate will be an additional resource for our customers as they continue to enjoy the benefits of a Cashless Tolling environment.”

Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton said, “Paramount to the Port Authority’s mission is a continued focus on advancing measures to improve the customer experience across our facilities. At our bridges and tunnels ensuring tolling issues are resolved as quickly as possible is a key part of this focus. As the Port Authority moves towards full open road tolling at all of our bridges and tunnels, the adoption of the Office of the Toll Payer Advocate, in partnership with New York’s tolling authorities, will assist in ensuring our customers are treated fairly and equitably.”

According to the press release, actions already taken on behalf of toll payers include:

•Reducing call wait times through enhanced technology and increased staffing at call centers

•Improving signage at cashless tolling locations

•Educating motorists about the Tolls By Mail and E-ZPass programs

•Accelerating the first toll bill to 10 days of crossing

•Upgrading the Tolls By Mail website to allow customers to search and pay for their tolls online by license plate

“The Thruway Authority, MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and Port Authority continue to be committed to providing first-time resolution when customers call the Customer Service Center. The creation of the Offices of the Toll Payer Advocate further ensures that customers are provided with the highest level of service and care,” the press release said.

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