“EASY AS 1, 2, 3” E-Z PASS FLEX TRANSPONDERS AVAILABLE NOW AT AAA MID-ATLANTIC RETAIL LOCATIONS IN VIRGINIA
Motorists Planning To Carpool On The 495 Express Lanes Will Need Device To Ride For Free
WASHINGTON, D. C. (Wednesday, July 25, 2012) – It’s a new twist on that old saying: “It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.” That’s true, if you’re counting on using an E-Z Pass to cruise the Interstate 495 Express Lanes for free. The new toll road is slated to open in late 2012, and, as a result, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is announcing car-poolers and motorists can easily pick up an E-ZPass® at 13 AAA Mid-Atlantic retail stores and branches across Virginia and at other selected retailers in the Commonwealth. And they can do this at the same price as they can through VDOT.
With a bevy of new toll roads, including the I-495 Express Lanes, coming on-line across the commonwealth in the future, VDOT expects its E-ZPass® program and the number of E-Z Pass users to double over the next few years. To meet the anticipated growing demand for the toll transponder device, the transportation agency is expanding its distribution network.
That means the motoring public and AAA members traversing the region-wide HOV/HOT Lanes network in Northern Virginia can purchase pre-loaded E-ZPass® transponders with ease, while picking up AAA TourBooks® and TripTiks®. Of special note to area motorists, AAA Mid-Atlantic will also sell the E-ZPass Flex. It’s the much-anticipated switchable transponder that lets vehicles with three or more people to travel toll-free on the 495 Express Lanes, which runs “smack dab” down the middle of the Capital Beltway.
“With the advent of the $1.9 billion,14-mile Capital Beltway Express Lanes project, the E-Z Pass Flex transponder will become a hot commodity in the Washington metro area,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “When the high-tech Express Lanes debut, motorists will need the flex transponder because there will be no toll booths or options to pay cash. To assist them, our northern Virginia retail locations will offer both standard and flex transponders, and all our branches will offer the standard units. Motorists will value the easiness and convenience of walking into a location closer to their homes to purchase a pre-loaded transponder.”
Toll fees will vary on Express Lanes, according to congestion. To access and travel the fully electronic tolling lanes, as well as the future 95 Express lanes, all drivers must have an “E-ZPass Flex” transponder. Drivers with fewer than three occupants will pay a toll. The “E-ZPass Flex” transponder allows carpoolers, with three or more occupants, to designate their vehicles as a “high occupancy vehicle” and travel the Express Lanes at no charge. To activate the E-ZPass Flex, motorists will simply slide the switch on the transponder to display the words “HOV ON.”
E-ZPass is accepted at 13 toll roads and bridges in Virginia. Currently, 24 toll agencies in 14 states, including Virginia and Maryland, utilize E-Z Pass, according to the E-Z Pass Group. The motoring public and AAA members can find their E-ZPass Flex, standard transponders, the E-ZPass On-the-Go kits for E-ZPass, and other E-Z Pass services at:
AAA Tysons Corner
8300 Old Courthouse Road, Suite 110
Vienna, Virginia 22182-3288
AAA Fairfax CCIT
9400 Main Street
Fairfax, Virginia 22031
4100 Monument Corner Drive
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
2231 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22314-1700
19317 Winmeade Drive, Suite N109-110
Lansdowne, Virginia 20176
1171 Central Park Boulevard, Suite 100
Fredericksburg, Virginia 22401
616 Albemarle Square Shopping Center
Charlottesville, Virginia 22901
All told, VDOT expects the motoring public to purchase nearly a half million new toll transponders in the near future. “Demand for transponders is growing, and expected to soar with the addition of the new flex transponders for use on the 495 Express Lanes later this year. Our additional outlets will serve as an important piece of a stronger distribution network,” said Townsend.
The Capital Beltway Express lanes project promises to improve travel on free lanes by diverting up to 15 percent of the traffic. The commute will be easier with E-ZPass® devices, advocates say. In fact, having an E-Z Pass will help motorists and carpoolers to spend less time in stop-and-go traffic and to save fuel. It also offers them the convenience of paying tolls without cash or tickets.
Put simply, E-ZPass® is an “electronic toll collection (ETC) system that allows you to prepay your tolls, eliminating the need to stop at the toll plaza.” Currently more than 22 million E-Z Pass transponder devices are in circulation, including an estimated 900,000 in Virginia, notes the E-Z Pass Group. To keep using your E-ZPass, simply register before or after the first use by going online or by calling 877-762-7824.
AAA Mid-Atlantic advocates on behalf of its nearly four million members in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It provides a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 50-plus retail branches, regional operations centers, and the Internet. For more information, please visit our web site at www.AAA.com.