E-ZPass an easy sell in Northern Virginia

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With express lanes on Interstate 495 expected to open in December, AAA Mid-Atlantic locations around Northern Virginia are reporting brisk sales of a new E-ZPass.

To avoid stopping to pay a toll, users of the 495 express lanes must have a new E-ZPass or an E-ZPass flex transponder. “Judging from AAA’s sales, a lot of motorists have great interest in using the express lanes when they open in December,” Mahlon G. Anderson, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s managing director of public and government affairs, said in a statement. “… We’ve sold over 3,000 of these units in just a couple of months at our five Northern Virginia locations.”

AAA Mid-Atlantic began selling both devices in July.  “We anticipate an even greater number of sales …  as we get closer to the opening of these lanes,” said Victoria Stark, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s retail district manager.

All new E-ZPass users will be able to travel on the express lanes. However, there is an added incentive for purchasing the E-ZPass Flex if drivers are interested in carpooling. It features a switchable transponder that allows vehicles carrying three or more passengers to use the express lanes for free when they flip a switch saying “HOV ON” on the transponder indicating that they are carpooling. If E-ZPass Flex users are driving by themselves or carrying only one other passenger, they must switch back to the other option or they will incur a fine.

Currently in Virginia, there are more than 900,000 active E-ZPass transponders, and 11 million electronic toll transactions a month.

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