A driver says confusion between her and her son over who was paying the electronic toll bills on the state Route 520 bridge led to fines of more than $3,000 for 65 crossings.
According to a report in The Seattle Times, the 64-year-old Kirkland went to a new state toll court to fight the bill, but ended up paying the fines anyway.
The driver admitted to making mistakes, but told the Times: "It's a new system, and I think we [institutions] sometimes get simple-minded when we design systems in the beginning. … I don't think it's people-friendly."
There are no toll booths on 520. , either through a pre-paid Good to Go transponder installed in a car, or through a bill in the mail after cameras record the vehicle's license plate. The state , and there is a schedule of escalating penalties for people who don't pay up.
What do you think of the payment system for electronic tolling on 520? Does it work for you? Have you dealt with fines or been to toll court? Let us know what you think in the comments.
The new toll courts allow drivers to challenge their bills. But, the Times reports:
By law, toll-court judges cannot reduce or dismiss a motorist's penalty, unless they rule that a toll or a fine was charged incorrectly. This makes toll court less flexible than municipal courts, where folks with a compelling story might sway a magistrate.
"We want to collect the tolls," says Craig Stone, toll director for the state Department of Transportation. "We have enforcement, to be fair to the people who pay the tolls."
The current peak toll is $3.59 if paid through a Good to Go pass, or $5.13 if paid by mail, according to WSDOT's Toll Rate schedule. If the woman who was fined $3,000 had paid the 65 tolls on time, the bill would have been under $350.