Driver Gets Bill for Express Lanes He Never Drove On

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    Some northern Virginia commuters are concerned about a newly discovered mistake in the Express Lanes. A driver contacted News4 after getting a bill. The problem is he says he has never been on the Express Lanes. News4's Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss got to the bottom of the mistake and reports on the surprising result. (Published Friday, Mar 1, 2013)

    A local commuter says he was sent a bill in the mail for driving on the Beltway Express lanes - even though neither he nor his car have ever been on the lanes.

    Pui-man Mak, who lives in Maryland, wrote News4 an email wondering why he was charged a toll for a trip he never took.

    "The invoice states that I committed this infraction on January 3, 2013, between 5:21 p.m. and 5:25 p.m. I was still at work during that time, and besides, I take the Metro. I do not know how they got my license plate number, but I believe that the invoice was sent in error," wrote Mak.

    Turns out Mak was right.

    The video equipment on the all-electronic Express Lanes in Virginia incorrectly read another driver's personalized license plate. That information was then sent to the Maryland DMV, where a computer mistook the personalized license plate for Mak's license plate.

    The operator of the lanes say it never should have happened.

    "We sent that invoice to the wrong person. We made a mistake," Mike McGurk, Transurban Corporate communications assistant said.

    The driver "did exactly what you should do if you receive an invoice that you don't understand, he contacted us and we took care of it," McGurk said.

    Transurban says since the Express Lanes opened in November this has happened to about 10 people.

    Express Lane leaders say a permanent fix is in place and the problem should never happen again. From now on, when a license pate number needs further review, an actual person - not a computer - will review the notice before it is sent in the mail.

    Still, drivers in Tysons Corner Friday said they were concerned.

    "You could get duped into setting up electronic payments automatically and all of the sudden you are getting charges on your card that you are not aware of," said driver Brian Orland from Virginia.

    "I think they probably have to fix the system," said Amy O'Brien from Maryland.