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Newport Pell Bridge moves to electronic-only tolling in October

Back in February, the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA) announced a pilot program of moving to all-electronic tolling – and by the end of October of this year, that program will now be instituted permanently. Tolls at the Pell Bridge will be all-electronic, eliminating cash and credit card transactions.

“We are continuing to modernize and streamline our operations and all-electronic tolling is the next step,” said Lori Caron Silveira, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority.

“In 2020, approximately 11% of vehicles were paying with cash or credit and it makes sense to better utilize our staff and our resources where they are needed most. We are grateful to our toll collectors for their many years of hard work and especially appreciate their dedication during the pandemic and this transition.”

Tolls collected through RITBA-issued E-ZPass transponders on eligible vehicles will continue to be charged at the published discounted rates. If a vehicle is not equipped with a transponder, the owner will receive an invoice in the mail for the toll amount due.

“If you do not already have an E-ZPass, we strongly suggest you sign up soon,” added Lori Caron Silveira. “We expect transponder demand to be high as October nears and want to make sure that everyone is equipped to take advantage of the discounted toll rates.” RITBA strongly urges existing E-ZPass customers to ensure that their account and vehicle listings are up to date as the transition to electronic-only tolling approaches to avoid receiving invoices in the mail.

Job Loss & Support uncertain

RITBA employs eight toll collectors and four full-time supervisors. In February, RITBA told RINewsToday: “when RITBA shifts to AET permanently, RITBA is committed to making best efforts to transition displaced employees to other appropriate positions at RITBA”. When asked how much money the automated system could save, they said that “due to the unknown of how many of the twelve full-time employees would have new roles at RITBA, we cannot accurately calculate the future dollar savings (at this time).”

RINewsToday requested an update to that information, now that electronic tolls will be permanent, and has not yet had a response.

To register for an E-ZPass visit www.ritba.org

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