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Monday, January 24, 2011

Thanks New Hampshire!

I am sure you are familiar with highway tolls and the lane demarcations directing you where to go based on your method of payment.  EZ-Pass to the left, coins and cash to the right.  Have you ever wondered what would happen if you end up trapped in the wrong lane for an EZ-Pass when you in fact have no EZ-Pass and therefore cannot pay the toll?  Well, I just found out. 


Here's what happened: 

About a month ago we went to the airport to pick up my little sister.  On the ride back home I was doing a great job of playing backseat (rather passenger seat) driver.  While fiddling with my phone I glanced up when we were approaching the tolls.  Rather than taking in the entire scenario and let Shawn drive I frantically told him to switch lanes, declaring that we were in an EZ-Pass lane and needed to move over to the left.  Shawn tried to get a word in saying he was in the right lane, but I was positive we needed to switch lanes so he did.  Three seconds later we were firmly between two cement barriers in an EZ-Pass lane with cars lining up behind us and no escape.

Ooops.

I laughed.  Shawn did not.  "What the heck do I do now?!"  He said as he stopped the car in the middle of the toll.  Cars behind us started honking.  "I told you I was in the right lane in the first place.  Now how the heck do I pay the stupid $1 toll?"  

I still laughed, which did not help the situation.  So Shawn ignored my laughter and began to slowly creep forward through the toll.  As soon as we crossed some imaginary line buzzers and bells began to go off wildly.  It reminded me of that scene in Coyote Ugly. Realizing then that we were drawing an ungodly amount of attention to ourselves I demanded that Shawn hammer down the gas pedal and drive off as fast as possible so we could avoid having a photo of my car taken.  I was full of logic that evening.  Who was I kidding, we were going slow enough that they could have taken a high resolution version before Shawn hit the gas and we retreated back to the safety of Vermont where there are NO TOLLS.  

Nope.  Not one.  And that is why Vermonters screw up simple things like driving on turnpikes and through tunnels. 

So a month went by and my fear of getting a ticket in the mail dwindled and was forgotten.  I really had no idea what would happen if you drive through without paying.  Maybe they give you a freebie for your first offense?  Then a letter from the State of New Hampshire DOT arrived in the mail.  Since I don't have any vehicles registered in the Granite State I immediately knew what it was about, the tollbooth.  They had sent me a ticket after all....

However, when I opened up the letter I was surprised.


Yup, two bucks.  The state of New Hampshire is actually quite nice!  And I honestly don't mind paying a 100% processing fee this time.  Almost fifty percent of that has to be postage.  I'm pretty sure they're still losing money on the deal.  

So now you know what happens when you don't pay a toll, at least the first time!

15 comments:

Rachel Roushey said...

Glad it was only $2! If you don't like tolls I highly recommend avoiding Chicago!

MarieElizabeth said...

Wow, that's a cheap toll!

Regan said...

That seems such a ridiculous amount to send a bill for considering the postage!!! You would think they would jack up the price for blasting through the toll. But, I am sure you are a good citizen, want to keep your medical licenses and so you will pay on time. Right?! I knew you would.

bribears said...

NY did the same to me recently for a 9 cent toll when apparently my ez-pass didn't register and I didn't know it. Actual toll=.09, charge toll amount $15 PLUS a $25 processing fee. Anyone know of a good job in New Hampshire?

Rosanne said...

LOL For a second I thought that funny grate across the road was one of those things that pops your tires! (silly me) THAT would really gum up the works! At least they didn't tack on some silly processing fee. We don't have any toll roads in our state...yet.

24atheart said...

Sound like something I would do. We don't have many toll roads in Texas, either (yet) and any time I get on one, I freeze. So glad they didn't try to really stick it to you!

Hydrant girl said...

LMAO - and how much was the stamp to send it to you?

They showed you!

Kristin said...

:-) In Florida we have the EZ Pass and SunPass. Our local expressway just went to "toll by plate." Which means they photograph your license plate and bill you. It also means you pay a little extra for the convenience of using the toll expressway without one of the fancy windshield thingies. Trust me, the $1 convenience fee covers the stamp and the time it took to print out a bill and mail it to you. And New Hampshire and Florida save a TON of money either way because they're not paying a person to take your money at the actual booth. Plus, I'm now grateful that I don't have to give my family different directions when they're down here to avoid the toll roads. Because it used to be a $100 fine to go through the EZ Pass lane without a transponder. :-)

sarah said...

LOL! I did this on my way up to Vermont. Only I got my ticket in NJ & was supposed to turn it in it when I got off the turnpike it is my highest toll on the trip, like $9 something. I reached down to get my wallet & found myself in the wrong lane. My ticket came to me for like $19. I told my husband after I flew through that lane without any back up like all the other lanes, it was worth it:)

~A said...

Yeah, Chicago would be bad if you're not a fan of tolls... although Chicago has an option now that if you miss a toll, you can pay it online without a penalty for seven days... after that, you're pretty much roadkill.

SharleneT said...

Geez, last picture of my auto cost me $150 but it was a yellow light (isn't that caution?) and there literally was no one else on the road at the time! But, it's still a great convenience...

Anonymous said...

If that was in California it would probably cost you $348.74!

Amanda said...

In Texas, if you forget to pay the first bill that the toll sends you, you get a $300 fine. Three hundred. My finger didn't stutter on the zero. I occasionally wish I lived in a state that didn't have tollroads.

Anonymous said...

Just stumbled upon your blog and love it. I'm a nurse too and from NH. The same exact thing happened to me. I ended up in an EZ pass lane and couldn't figure out how to pay so I just went though. I heard the alarm but hey, what was I supposed to do about it? They sent me bill for $32.00... Lucky you on your $2.00! Great blog!

IdahoNegomir said...

We had that happen on a toll road in Colorado..Only it was because we didn't have any cash with us...I called them the next day and they said they would send us a bill..and they did, and since I am not hyperventilating while typing this I can only imagine it wasn't horrific!

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