We've used the New York Thruway countless times, and have always been charged the car rate ($3.15 from south of Buffalo to the PA border).
Going down, a funny thing happened. The attendant at the toll both where the card is given hesitated with the first card he was going to give me, and then gave me another card. When paying the toll at the border, the attendant asked for $6.25 which I had no option but to pay it. She said that our Roadtrek was over the height restriction, so I guess it must have grown since the last trip.
On the return trip, the old car rate was charged, so the RT must have shrunk!
Here's my question: If we were to purchase an EZ-Pass, and we specify that the vehicle is a van (which it is), would this solve the problem of inconsistent toll charges? Or are there sensors that "measure" the height of the vehicle going through? I can only assume that the RT is on the upper limit of the height restriction, and some toll both attendants see it differently than others, or are there sensors in need of re-calibration?
Jerry & Susie
1996 Roadtrek 190 Versatile (Dodge 5.2 L)
FMCA F390585 Trees are being destroyed through the transportation of invasive insects and diseases in firewood. For more information, please visit www.dontmovefirewood.org
I used to fight a similar battle while traveling the same stretch of I-90. I hauled a Lance truck camper on a F-350 dually. While the truck is within the height limits of passenger vehicles, the attached camper obviously is much higher. However, the camper was considered "cargo" by definition, similar to an upright refrigerator strapped in the bed of the truck, in as much as both can be off-loaded. 95% of the time, the toll booth operators were well educated in their job. However, about 5% of the toll operators, by mistake or through lack of training, would hand me the wrong ticket.
What made me aware was the first time it occurred. The operator at the on ramp gave me a ticket reflecting a much higher rate. The operator at the off ramp noticed my configuration and adjusted the fee down to that of a passenger vehicle. From then on, I looked at the ticket to make sure it was correct before pulling away from the booth. In six years of traveling that section, I only had one operator at the on ramp who refused to give me the right ticket after having brought it to his attention. Apparently, he was just having a bad day. It was adjusted at the end of the turnpike and all was good.
It's been a couple of years since traveling that area. But, at the time, operators made a visual determination based on a physical marker at their station. Could be wrong, but I believe E-Z pass cameras are primarily focused on the rear area of the vehicle. As far as limiting the uncertainties, call the NY toll authority and get clarification. It's their employees you have to deal with on the toll roads. Travel safe.
It seems to be a whim or interpretive decision by the toll booth attendant. We've noticed similar inconsistencies over the years traveling the tollways through Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Now that we have a dually we seem to get charged more at the next tier rate but it was still inconsistent last May on our trip to Washington DC. Going across the Mackinac Bridge to the UP earlier this month we were charged at the car rate of just two axels. The attendant did pause and look our B over a little. EZ-Pass would probably solve your issue. I doubt once you sign up they would contest it.
2011 Great West Van Legend Sprinter B Camper Van
Visited states in an RV
When I added my B to my EZ pass I had to enter the weight range. I don't think there is a difference in charges between my two different vehicles (same EZ Pass) but I can look at the account and check. The other is a small SUV. I do have a second EZ pass for when I'm pulling a trailer with either one. Not sure how they would know the difference unless they check the weight or get a photo of the plate number as I go through.
I encountered a problem of inconsistent charges in my RT Sprinter using EZPass in Maine. I called the EZPass customer service center and they looked up the charges and said that because I had dual wheels, I was charged more. My RT is a 2007 and is on the 2500 chassis. I went to the customer service center in Hooksett, NH and they reprogrammed the transponder I use in the RT and I haven't had the problem since.
2007 Roadtrek RS Adventurous
HERE is a link to the NY Thruway toll and distance calculator. If you entered at Exit 54, then it would seem that the $6.25 rate was correct based on a height of 8 feet 9 inches, and that EZPass would save you 31 cents.
And HERE is a link to EZPass' classification system. (On edit, this is from Va. - I wonder if your state is different?) They don't seem to care about height, but use number of axles and weight. (I think the RT is over 7000 pounds, so it's not the cheapest class.)
And HERE is an RV.NET Class A discussion of EZPass, which says that NYThruway has a program for RVs that classifies them as passenger vehicles, regardless - but apparently only if you get your EZPass from NY.
* This post was
edited 06/15/12 10:24am by dmomberg *
The EZPass system is expanding, and happily so. However, it almost takes a magician to figure out the differences between the various state toll systems.
Some use the number of axles, some the number of wheels on the ground, some use weight, some use height, some length, and many use some combination of the above.
Our solution is to have three accounts. A SunPass for Florida, a NY State EZPass (more on this in a moment), and our "home state" EZPass.
The Florida system does not participate in EZPass, but, you can get an equivalent device if you call them. Sure makes their toll roads easier, and faster, to use.
NY uses number of axles and height as their qualifiers. To the best of my knowledge, all RVs (other than popups) are too tall, thus considered commercial. Ouch! But, they do have an exception. If you have an RV, and complete the correct paperwork, you can get a "special" NY EZPass device whereby your "rig" (whatever it is - B, B towing, TV and trailer, TV and 5er, A, popup, whatever) will be "tolled" as a passenger vehicle. To obtain the passenger vehicle rate, you simply put your "special" EZPass on your windshield, and drive through a "manned" toll booth so the toll attendant can confirm that your "rig" matches your filing. The "stop" at the toll booth is usually less than five seconds. And, it saves a LOT of NY toll money.
As with most governments, they don't make it easy. You first must establish a NY EZPass account. When that's done, the second step is to file the RV "special" transponder paperwork. Ya' gotta wonder if they intentionally made it tedious hoping folks wouldn't bother.
FWIW, NY has a sorta similar arrangement for motorcycles and hybrid cars.
Our "home state" EZPass is used everywhere else other than NY in the EZPass system.
My DW keeps the right transponder on the windshield and the others in their isolation bags.
The answer is no. We live in NY. The tolls we pay from trip to trip vary with Easy-Pass. Most of the time they are at car rate. But there have been unexplained times when they are at the rate for a higher weight class. In most places it is weight (plus axles but that does not apply here) and not height that make the difference in tolls and with Easy-Pass they are checking the weight as you go through with a scale in the pavement. It still does not explain the difference from trip to trip but I am happier when I see the Easy-Pass invoice showing car rate. With Easy-Pass in NY you are paying a reduced rate for any toll - but you don't know what you paid until you get the invoice weeks later.