A new state audit has found that Maryland has overcharged nearly 15,000 drivers at multiple toll booths. The overcharges amount to over $150K.
“We received allegations on our fraud, waste, and abuse hotline alleging that MDTA was not taking sufficient action to detect and address the over-billing of customers for electronic tolling due to issues with its new toll equipment,” the state says in the audit report.
The audit continues by suggesting that MDTA, “review and evaluate significant tolling issues (such as, an increase in similar customer complaints or a pattern of tolling abnormalities). For example, MDTA may want to consider developing a formal policy to review and evaluate tolling issues and determine the extent of customer overbillings for appropriate corrective actions (such as making restitution); review previously identified electronic toll issues to determine the extent of customer overbillings and in consultation with legal counsel, assess the practicality of related customer restitution.”
Per MDTA secretary Gregory Slater, the state acknowledges the findings but, “respectfully disagrees with the suggestion from the Office of Legislative Audits (OLA) that these identified issues are part of a larger unknown problem.” Slater continues, “although hardware or software
problems may occur on occasion, MDTA’s tolling system has a robust real-time monitoring system that alerts to anomalies so that issues can be quickly identified and corrected to minimize any potential errors. “
Slater maintains that the errors in tolling were part of the department’s transition to All Electronic Tolling (AET) during the pandemic. A move to ensure the utmost safety for drivers. Tolling equipment was replaced at 131 locations around the state. He also assures that the MDTA seeks to provide excellent customer service to drivers who were affected by this issues, offering refunds to rectify the overbilling.
Drivers voice their concerns.
In some occurrences, drivers were charged 3-axle rates for their 2-axle vehicles. “One particular day, they charged me $8. I questioned that, and she said they charged me for a triple-axle (vehicle). I have a sedan. Why am I paying for a triple-axle? It’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Fran Groves, of Dundalk during an interview with Channel 11.
Other drivers were told that their (the motorist) equipment was the issue. “Everybody I talk to has a different story. One person told me that I needed a new transponder. I got a new transponder. The people over here tell me that it’s the system,” Evelyn Parks told Channel 11. “(It’s adding up to) a whole lot of money. I spend $50 to $100 a month on tolls, and yeah, I don’t have the money to do that.”
Wishing you safe and fair travels across our Maryland roads. If more details emerge, we’ll let you know.