CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The transition to all-electronic tolling on the Massachusetts Turnpike is at 10:00 Friday night, but if you have yet to obtain an E-ZPass transponder, the state is making an accommodation for you. MassDOT has announced a six-month “grace period” for drivers to get transponders.
People who do not have one will still need to pay their invoices through the new “Pay by Plate” system, but can apply for a transponder and receive a credit to their new account, ultimately negating the surcharge they had to pay through the paper bill.
Here is how it works:
- If any driver without a transponder passes underneath an All Electronic Tolling gantry, the vehicle owner will receive a Pay By Plate invoice in the mail.
- The vehicle owner can choose to pay the Pay By Plate invoice, or, choose to apply to receive a free transponder and will receive a credit for the difference between the Pay By Plate rate and the E-ZPassMA rate. After paying their Pay By Plate bill in full, customers will be credited the difference on their new E-ZPassMA account.
- Customers will be able to take advantage of this program online, or by calling or visiting a customer service center.
- After receiving that Pay By Plate invoice, if a customer logs on to MassDOT’s new website (EZDriveMA.com), the customer may convert their Pay by Plate account to an E-ZPass MA account by using the “convert” feature. This feature requires customers to pay their invoice in full and open a transponder account.
- For the first 6 months, this program will be offered on any current Pay By Plate bill a customer receives, and then after 6 months, on just the first Pay By Plate bill a new customer receives.
- During the first 6 months, in the event a customer ignores their first invoice, MassDOT will still honor the grace period and E-ZPassMA rate, but customers will still need to honor the late fines associated with the bill. MassDOT strongly discourages travelers from ignoring their Pay By Plate notices and encourages drivers to pay these invoices or contact the customer service center as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, MassDOT will be expanding hours for E-ZPass service centers this weekend (note that the E-ZPass website will not be available starting Friday night. On Tuesday, the new website EZDriveMA.com will be activated).
Hours for nearby service centers are as follows:
- Charlton– Mass Pike eastbound service plaza – Saturday & Sunday 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Monday 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
- Lee – Mass Pike eastbound service plaza – Saturday & Sunday 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Monday 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
- Ludlow – Mass Pike eastbound service plaza – Saturday & Sunday 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Monday 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
- Ludlow – Mass Pike westbound service plaza – Saturday & Sunday 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M., Monday 7:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M.
Additional service center locations are in Auburn, East Boston, Natick, Saugus, and Framingham. E-ZPass transponders will also be available at RMV and AAA locations during regular business hours.