Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's not easy going green, at least going EZ Pass Green

It took forever but I finally received my Green EZ Pass. For those who drive a low emission vehicle (hybrids), you may be eligible for a discounted EZ Pass.
Essentially, there are two green plans. Quotes from the NY EZ-Pass website:
Port Authority Green Pass Discount Plan**: Eligible vehicles receive a 50% discount off the cash toll rate during off-peak hours at all Port Authority crossings. A special green tag is issued to qualified vehicles that meet the specific emissions standards as outlined on the Port Authority's website at Plan Code: (PAGRN)
Thruway Green Pass Discount Plan**: Receive a special 10% discount on all Thruway facilities for Hybrid vehicles that get at least 45 miles to the gallon and meet specific emissions standards as outlined on the Authority’s website Cannot be combined with commuter plans. Plan Code: (GREEN)
It’s not a lot but it’s something.
I started the process in October. Why did it take so long? Several things happened but the main wait was due to EZ-Pass moving their facilities and losing my paperwork.
To apply, you will need to fax/mail a completed EZ-Pass form (even if you have an existing EZ Pass) and your vehicle’s registration.
Here are some notes to help you out, depending on where you live, you are given an EZ-Pass managed by a specific authority (NYS/NJ/Port Authority/MTA). This will effect which plan(s) you are eligible for. FYI, here are the common tag prefixes and their associated owners:
005 = Port Authority of NY/NJ
004 = NYS Thruway
008 = MTA
022 = NJ
In my case, I had a NJ pass. I had applied for EZ-Pass before it was in NY and still had my NJ pass. Long short, I had to cancel that pass and apply for a NY pass. However, due to my location in Manhattan, they gave me an MTA pass which wasn’t eligible for either NYS Thruway or PANYNJ pass. So I had to write copious letters and send everyone my registration and one of those purple forms (not electronic but paper copy – how antiquated) to resolve the issue before they could even accept my request for a green pass.
I was getting so frustrated, I was ready to call Susan Jhun at NY1 because the amount of paperwork I was sending to EZ-Pass was killing a small forest in South Jersey. The process isn’t very green, NY EZPass. Kermit the Frog would be ashamed. {Honestly, I couldn’t think of a green animal mascot that would be like Smokey the Bear so I used Kermit. Is there a ‘go green’ mascot?}
Honestly, they didn’t make it easy for me and I got learn customer service reps at the Staten Island facilities through my dealings but I am now a proud owner of a green EZ-Pass.