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Due to a contractor error, about 79,000 New Jersey toll road and bridge customers were incorrectly charged administrative fees under the emergency toll-by-mail procedures put in place this spring to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The fees are being removed from the accounts of affected drivers. Any affected driver who has already paid the fees will have the money refunded.
Most toll agencies in the New Jersey E-ZPass Group suspended cash collections in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Customers without E-ZPass accounts were to be sent notices requesting payment of the toll only. If a customer failed to pay the toll amount within 30 days, a second notice was to be sent out for the toll amount plus an administrative fee.
Conduent Inc. — the contractor that handles billing and other back-office operations for the New Jersey E-ZPass Group — discovered that due to a processing error approximately 79,000 customers across the New Jersey toll agencies were never sent a first notice. The initial contact those customers had from New Jersey E-ZPass was a second notice, which included the administrative fee.
The 79,000 customers represent about 2.5 percent of the 3.1 million toll-by-mail notices processed by Conduent during the approximately seven weeks when the emergency procedure was in place at New Jersey toll facilities.
“We have directed Conduent to remove the fees from the accounts of the 79,000 drivers affected by this mistake and to return the money to anyone who has already paid the fee,” said New Jersey Turnpike Authority Executive Director John Keller. “The toll-by-mail program was a temporary alternative to cash collections, and it was put in place under difficult circumstances. We regret any anxiety this mistake might have caused our customers.”
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority is the lead agency in the New Jersey E-ZPass Group. Other members include the South Jersey Transportation Authority, Delaware River Port Authority, Delaware River & Bay Authority, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, Cape May County Bridge Commission, and Burlington County Bridge Commission.
Customers who have attempted to call the E-ZPass Customer Service Center to discuss the charges have encountered longer-than-usual hold times. Because of issues related to the COVID emergency, Conduent has not be able to fully staff the Customer Service Center. The Turnpike Authority is closely monitoring the company’s efforts to return to full staffing.
Conduent is in the process of removing the administrative fees from the 79,000 accounts affected by the processing error. Once that work is complete, customers will be able to log onto www.ezpassnj.com with their violation and license plate numbers to pay the tolls they owe; the administrative fees will no longer appear on their bills.
Any customer who has a question or concern can contact the Customer Service Center online by visiting www.ezpassnj.com and submitting a service request. From the home page, click “Contact Us” at the top of the page and select “Contact by phone/email” from the drop-down menu.