NEW HOPE, PA – The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC) is reminding motorists that a TOLL BY PLATE payment option is scheduled to be phased in to service early tomorrow — Wednesday, January 24 – at its six remaining toll bridges that handle only E-ZPass and cash transactions.
The six toll bridges where TOLL BY PLATE is to be introduced tomorrow are: Trenton-Morrisville (Route 1); I-78; Easton-Phillipsburg (Route 202); Portland-Columbia (Routes 611, 46, and 94); Delaware Water Gap (I-80); and Milford-Montague (Route 206).
These bridges have “barrier” toll plazas where E-ZPass is accepted in all lanes and where toll collectors in designated booths also accept cash and make change. Two bridges – I-78 and Delaware Water Gap (I-80) – also have adjoining Express E-ZPass gantries where E-ZPass-equipped motorists can pay tolls while moving at highway speeds. Tolls are collected only in the Pennsylvania-bound direction at Commission tolling points.
TOLL BY PLATE involves the capturing of a vehicle’s license plate information so the registered owner can be mailed a bill for payment. The Commission’s toll rates are structured so E-ZPass users pay lower rates while cash and TOLL BY PLATE customers pay higher rates due to the increased costs of those collection methods. The Commission’s TOLL BY PLATE car toll is $3, the same as cash. In comparison, the E-ZPass car toll is half as much — $1.50.
The low-volume New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) Toll Bridge last week became the first Commission tolling point where TOLL BY PLATE billing was offered as a third payment option in addition to cash and E-ZPass. The Commission’s newest river crossing – the Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge — has handled TOLL BY PLATE transactions in addition to E-ZPass since its first span opened to traffic in July 2019, but that bridge never offered a cash option.
TOLL BY PLATE Billing Option Process
The expansion of TOLL BY PLATE service to all of the Commission’s toll bridges will enable non-E-ZPass-equipped motorists to pay tolls if they do not pay cash at a toll booth. Currently, a motorist is issued a violation notice when he or she travels through a tolling point in this manner.
Once TOLL BY PLATE is implemented at these six additional toll bridges, a motorist without E-ZPass and who does not pay cash will have his or her vehicle license plate image captured by an overhead camera. The registered vehicle owner is sent an invoice after 30 days or once the recorded tolled trips on that vehicle exceeds $50, whichever comes first.
Payment can be mailed, or the billed individual can go online to pay with a credit card through the New Jersey E-ZPass website. Individuals wishing to pay their toll bill by cash currently have limited options: they can either travel to the New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center’s walk-in centers in Newark, N.J., Camden, N.J. and New Castle, DE. Those addresses are available at this webpage: https://www.ezpassnj.com/en/about/csc.shtml.
If payment is not received by the bill’s prescribed deadline (usually 30 days of issuance), a second bill gets generated with an additional $5 toll bill late fee.
Failure to pay this second billing on time results in the TOLL BY PLATE bill being escalated to a toll violation. The $5 toll bill late fee gets waived, and a $30 administration fee is assessed for each overdue toll transaction. A violation notice is then mailed to the vehicle owner. If the new escalated amount owed remains unpaid by the violation notice’s payment deadline, the violation is advanced to a collection agency.
Next Steps Toward Cashless All-Electronic Tolling
The introduction of TOLL BY PLATE payments at the Commission’s conventional E-ZPass/cash tolling points is a first step in a larger plan to convert the Commission’s entire network to highway-speed cashless all-electronic toll collections. Currently, only the Commission’s new Scudder Falls (I-295) Toll Bridge has a cashless toll collection system with TOLL BY PLATE service for non-E-ZPass customers.
After a roughly five-month introduction of system-wide TOLL BY PLATE billing, the Commission’s toll-collection conversion process will advance to a second phase called “AET in-place.” This is expected to occur in June 2024, when the agency’s three lowest-volume toll bridges – New Hope-Lambertville, Portland-Columbia, and Milford-Montague – are to cease cash collections and handle solely all-electronic E-ZPass and TOLL BY PLATE transactions. A firm date for this conversion is to be announced in the spring.
Cashless AET collections are projected to be implemented in January 2025 at the Commission’s four remaining higher-volume toll bridges: Trenton-Morrisville, I-78, Easton-Phillipsburg, and Delaware Water Gap. A firm date for this conversion won’t be determined until late 2024.
A third “hard conversion phase” would then follow. This would involve removal of existing barrier toll plazas and the design and construction of highway-speed all-electronic tolling gantries at each of these locations. The design work of this “hard-conversion” process is expected to begin in 2024 and the first bridge to be outfitted with a cashless gantry would be the New Hope-Lambertville (Route 202) Toll Bridge sometime in 2025.
The current plan calls for hard conversions to be carried out at each of the Commission’s older toll bridges one at a time in each subsequent year, a process currently projected to be completed no later than 2032.
E-ZPass is the most convenient, efficient, and cheapest option for paying tolls. The Commission’s 2024 toll rates for E-ZPass transactions are up to 50-percent less than the rates for cash and TOLL BY PLATE transactions.
To establish an E-ZPass account with the Commission’s toll-processing service provider – the regional New Jersey E-ZPass Customer Service Center – go to: www.ezpassnj.com.
About the Commission
The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission was formed statutorily by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey in 1934 and Congress ratified the arrangement under the Compact Clause of U.S. Constitution in August 1935. The agency operates eight toll bridges and 12 toll-supported bridges, two of which are pedestrian-only spans. The Commission is a self-supporting public-service agency that receives neither federal nor state tax dollars to finance its projects or operations. Funding for the operations, maintenance and upkeep of its bridges and related transportation facilities is solely derived from revenues collected at its toll bridges. The Commission’s jurisdiction extends along the Delaware River from the Philadelphia-Bucks County line north to the New Jersey/New York border. Its bridges carried more than 131.5 million cars and trucks in 2023. For more information, please go to: www.drjtbc.org.