By Liam Martin

NATICK (CBS) — Paying cash at toll booths on the Mass Pike becomes part of history Friday night, so there’s a last minute scramble underway to get EZ Pass transponders.

But, some people are having trouble on the phone, online and in person. It’s the frustration of waiting.

“I waited about two hours,” says one commuter as she came out of the Natick EZ Pass service center.

The line there is out the door as people try to score the all-important transponder. They’re all a bit nervous because, starting tomorrow night, there’s no more paying tolls with cash.

Instead, as you drive under gantries positioned at different points across the Pike, your EZ Pass will be charged. If you don’t have one, the gantries take a picture of your license plate and send you a bill.

So people wait in line.

One of the new gantries over the Massachusetts Turnpike. (WBZ-TV)

One of the new gantries over the Massachusetts Turnpike. (WBZ-TV)

 

Others hope technology will save them.

“I tried phoning and I couldn’t get through,” Paula Davis told WBZ-TV as she waited in Natick.

We also tried the EZ Pass customer service phone line, but mostly we heard a busy signal. In fact, we called 50 times and only connected on eight of them. When we did get through, the automated system instructed us to go to the EZ Pass website, but when we tried that, we sometimes got error messages.

When we did get on, we often had trouble getting to the application page.

“I’ve been trying to get online for a week now and it keeps bouncing me out,” says Lynn Valcourt.

Which brings us back to Natick, and the lines.

Customers in Natick wait in line to get an EZ Pass transponder. (WBZ-TV)

Customers in Natick wait in line to get an EZ Pass transponder. (WBZ-TV)

“Hey, I waited until the last minute, so you’ve got to pay the price,” admits Ann Grimm, as she came out with several transponders.

“I can’t believe the tolls are going to be gone. It’s kind of sad. I never thought I’d say that,” adds another man waiting, and waiting in line.

Even if you do get a transponder before tomorrow night’s changeover, it probably won’t be activated until next week.

Electronic tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike. (WBZ-TV)

Electronic tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike. (WBZ-TV)

The Department of Transportation acknowledges that their website is getting hammered and suggests people try it before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. But, there’s not much time because the EZ Pass phone center and website will be down starting Friday evening until Tuesday. However, walk in service centers are open this weekend.

And good news, the DOT has announced a “grace period” if you haven’t gotten a transponder yet. If you get it within 6 months, any toll charges you incur during that time can be charged to your EZ Pass account.

Comments (3)
  1. Chris Christie's Belt says:

    Trump revealed he wants to privatize roads today, make them corporate owned. So get ready to pay a dozen tolls when you drive anywhere if he wins.
    He would also sell off public parks and bridges to corporations to be run for profit.

  2. Sy Clops says:

    “Even if you do get a transponder before tomorrow night’s changeover, it probably won’t be activated until next week.”

    How come? Why not immediately? And what is with the word “probably”? Why don’t they know *exactly* when?

    This whole open road tolling changeover is just another opportunity for the state to show how incompetent they are.

    Thanks, Charlie…

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