Delivered September 19, 2019. Contributor: Megan B.
To understand the 12% of customers of PANYNJ that do not currently use the E-ZPass.
Generally, there is only anecdotal evidence available around why certain people do not use the E-ZPass system.
One reason someone may deliberately not use their E-ZPass is because they may be charged a higher rate if they are deemed an out-of-state driver. While the Port Authority apparently does not do this, MTA-operated bridges and tunnels do, possibly leading to a misconception among out-of-state drivers that it is not advantageous to use their E-ZPass.
Additionally, tourists often do not buy E-ZPasses because they are expensive to activate, and the tourist likely does not plan on using it enough to pay for itself.
Use of an E-ZPass is easiest when linked to a credit card or bank account. Replenishment by cash is possible, but would require visiting a location in-person to do so. New York City has a higher percentage of under- and un-banked people than the national average. 360,000 households in New York City are unbanked and 780,000 are underbanked, a factor which would led to seem not wanting to or not being able to use an E-ZPass.
Some people are extremely suspicious of E-ZPass, as New York City uses the transponders to track traffic patterns. This has lead to significant privacy concerns. Some people even believe that E-ZPass is used by the police to issue speeding or traffic tickets (though this is not actually true).
Given that New York City is one of the largest tourist hubs in the US, we have to assume that tourists would comprise the largest portion of those who do not use an E-ZPass. It may be that they either did not know of the scheme prior to visiting or they feel like they will not get enough use out of one to apply, since the E-ZPass-On-the-Go (the prepackaged option one can buy at a retail location) required a minimum $30preloaded in NYC.
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