Monday, April 25, 2011

Good To Go! Passes – One Size Doesn’t Fit All

by guest blogger Janet Matkin

Update Feb. 5, 2015: For information about the I-405 express toll lanes, visit our Flashing lights signal I-405 express toll lane equipment install blog.

Drivers seem to love choices and that’s exactly what we’re offering toll payers who set up Good To Go! accounts. With a prepaid account, tolls are electronically deducted without stopping or slowing down. Once you have an account, it’s good on any tolled facility in the state.
For those planning to set up an account or order new passes, it’s important to take a few minutes to consider your options. With five different Good To Go! Pass choices and the ability to mix-and-match if you have several vehicles, drivers can order just the right passes to meet their driving needs:
  • Movable pass: is easily moved between vehicles or put away if you are a carpool using SR 167 HOT lanes
  • Switchable pass: Well-suited for SR 167 HOT carpoolers as it can be turned on or off depending on the number of people in the car.
  • Sticker pass: this permanent sticker cannot be moved between vehicles and cannot be turned on or off. 
  • Motorcycle pass: Adheres to motorcycle headlamp light or visor.
  • License plate pass: Mounts on the front license plate.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you select your Good To Go! pass:

Do you frequently carpool in the SR 167 HOT Lanes in this vehicle?
Then you should choose the $12 switchable pass that can easily be turned off and on. Switch it off if you’re carpooling in the HOT lanes and switch it back on when driving by yourself or using one of the tolled bridges.

Are you looking for the cheapest option?
The $5 sticker pass is the best value and has proved to be the most popular option among drivers. It’s about the size of a small band aid and sticks to your windshield behind the rearview mirror. But, once it’s installed, you can’t move it to another vehicle. And, if you carpool in the SR 167 HOT lanes, you can’t switch it off.

Do you have more than one vehicle that uses tolled roads? You have a couple of options:
  • You might want to have a permanent sticker pass for each of your vehicles. You can register up to six vehicles on a personal Good To Go! account, each with its own pass, drawing from the same pot of money.
  • You also might consider an $8 movable pass that can be shared among vehicles. It sticks to the inside windshield with Velcro and can be transferred from car to car, as needed. You also can hide it in a special metallic bag if you’re carpooling on the SR 167 HOT lanes, although it’s not as convenient as the switchable pass for that purpose. 
Are motorcycles your thing? We have a great new sticker pass that goes on the motorcycle’s headlamp. It’s clear, so it virtually disappears once you install it.

Would you rather not have a pass on your windshield? You have two options:
  • You might choose the $12 external pass that screws into the frame of your front license plate. It’s in a hard black plastic case that can withstand the elements.
  • You can also opt for no pass at all and just register your license plate number(s) on your account and get charged an additional 25 cents per trip for the extra processing costs.
The beauty of choices is that you can pick just the right Good To Go! pass options to meet your needs. Want to know more?  Check out our great “How To” video that describes each of the passes and shows how they’re installed. Or, take our quick quiz to help you narrow down your pass choices.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

The team that designed these options seems to be oblivious to the possibility that people who buy the moveable pass want to use it with more than one vehicle. They only include one set of velcro stickers with the moveable passes they mail out. More sets of velcro stickers are available through the customer service center. Maybe someday the state will figure out that it would make sense to ship moveable passes with more than one set of velcro stickers.

Anonymous said...
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MVS said...

I have a Good to Go pass and it is correctly mounted on the windshield of my car. I keep receiving manual bills which cost more money than the automated tolls that DOT says they offer. It also takes unnecessary time to pay the darn things each time I get a bill.

I am curios as to what good it does to get a pass, set up an account, place the ID tag in my car, but then get manual bills anyway.

Why does DOT continue to bill car owners manually even if they have a valid, up-to-date Good to Go pass, with cash in the account to fund payments on the tolls?

My take on it is that they are billing me manually because they will make more money versus if I pay automatically?

Plus, they can make even more money off of me if I am late in making a payment.

This all seems like a perverse way of doing business, but if DOT is not making as much money on tolls as predicted, this is one sneaky way to generate extra revenue.

I am really curious as to why DOT is allowed to perpetuate this scam.

Cheers,
Mark

WSDOT said...

@MVS Sorry to hear about the issue you’ve had receiving toll bills. If you are a Good To Go! customer, there are several possible reasons why you could have received a toll bill. You will need to contact the customer service center at 1-866-936-8246 to resolve the bill. Customer service can also apply the bill to your account at the lower toll rate. The reasons you may receive a bill include: your account doesn’t have enough money to pay the tolls, your credit card or bank account information is not up-to-date, the vehicle license plate was not on the account or the pass wasn’t detected.

You should make sure every vehicle with a pass is registered on your Good To Go! account. If you think the pass is defective you can visit a customer service center in Seattle, Bellevue or Gig Harbor to it tested to see if it is working properly.

Anonymous said...

I tried to remove an attached sticker ($5 pass) from my car's windshield. I couldn't get it off completely! It did leave some glue marks and scratches on the glass.

Anonymous said...

We bought a pass when it got introduced a few years back and were not told clearly about the options. We used the toll bridge only a handful of times but now our account is depleted because we used the 167 HOV lane a few times with 2+ people in the car, even though the signs say it's free when you carpool. The signs don't say "free if you carpool and are not using the sticker option". Is there a way to oppose those wrongful charges? Are there pictures of all of our trips on 167 so that we can prove the Good-to-Go program is charging us abusively?

MonkeyJin said...

I always wondered about 167 charging you even when there are 2 people in the car. If someone would have told me that in the first place, I would have bought a removable pass since I frequent the Mt Rainier area with family.

Anonymous said...

Why does WSDOT charge an extra 25 cents to read my license plate? The capital investment in the license plate reading equipment has already been made and all transactions are electronic and automatic. Does it really cost WSDOT more money to read my license plate than it does to read a Good To Go sticker?

WSDOT said...

Yes, the 25-cent fee covers the additional cost of processing photo toll transactions including reviewing images that cannot be read by cameras. A Good To Go! pass remains the least expensive way to pay tolls.

FourOhFive said...

Will the current switchable passes also work on the new 405 express lanes? Are they different then the 'flex pass' that is being discussed with the tolled express lanes?

To expand, currently on 167 with the switchable pass if you are a carpool, you put it in the 'off' position - this allows you to pass the sensors without getting billed.

On the 405 express toll lanes
will the carpool with the switchable pass in 'off' mode still pass for free, or will the sensors not detect a good-to-go pass (cause its in in the off position) and be billed at the current pay by mail toll rate as if it was a non-carpool, non-good-to-go pass holder?

My assumption is the switchable pass is either on or off, where as the flex pass will technically always be 'on' just with two different transmit codes to determine carpool or not.

WSDOT said...

I-405 express toll lanes will have Pay By Mail, which is not a payment method on SR 167. Therefore, if you have a Switchable Pass in the ‘off’ position and travel in the I-405 you will receive a bill in the mail. If the Switchable Pass is turned ‘on’ you will be charged regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. The Flex Pass will have two modes, both of which are ‘on’, but one is TOLL mode for drivers paying the toll and the other is HOV mode. Drivers who plan on carpooling in the I-405 express toll lanes, will need to meet the occupancy requirement and have Flex Pass set to HOV mode to travel free. If you have further questions please email goodtogotolling@wsdot.wa.gov.

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