RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Last July, we told you about construction on the Pocahontas 895 and the new credit card tolls. Many people wanted to know if would work. Nearly a year later, crews are still working out the kinks.
A Varina family, fed up, what they called "constant" malfunctioning toll machines called 12 for help. We investigated the complaints. Jimmy Olgers and his mother Geneva admit they've violated the Pocahontas 895 tolls -- they have the tickets to prove it.
"It's for three different times that I went through so I mean it doesn't work and I have tried to work the thing but you can't make it work," Geneva said.
They don't want to run the toll, but there's no coin machine or attendant, and they say the credit card machine doesn't always work.
"I have had a lot of trouble trying to get it to accept my credit card, swiping the credit card three, four, five times sitting there with people backed up five to 10 minutes," said Jimmy.
The family was fed up. Jimmy said, "I feel like if you are going to run a road, it is my responsibility to pay it but it is your responsibility to keep your equipment up and operating to enable me to pay."
We wanted to know if the Pocahontas toll mangers had gotten any other complaints about those credit card machines not working, and if they had, how were they going to fix the problem, so we went to the mangers to get some answers.
Mary Ellin Arch, a Transurban spokesperson, the company that manages the toll said, "We have gotten calls from people as you say that have had one or two experiences, they are a little upset with that, they are in a hurry, so they call to complain about that. Anytime we have gotten a complaint we have gone right out there to double check the machine and we are out there even when people are not calling to do refinements and further improvements to they system."
She encourages drivers to call if they have issues -- and says they should drive through the toll if the machines are not working -- she doesn't want a traffic backup.
Arch reminds drivers that the technology is only a year old and problems will occur. There's a number posted to report problems, or the information is on Transurban's website. Arch says the sooner you call -- the better for both parties.
"My phone number is on there, people can reach me personally and I will make sure they get taken care of," she said.
Meanwhile, Jimmy and his mom will pay those tickets -- but hope for a hassle free ride on their next trip.
"If they want to leave the credit card machines there that is fine but put the change buckets back so at least you can use regular money if you have to," he said.
Transurban says it will address credit card issues, but the old machines won't be coming back. Remember, if the toll isn't working and you go through, call the office promptly. You'll get an invoice for the original amount. If you wait too long, the invoice will include administrative costs. For more on the 895 Toll you can visit their website: http://www.pocahontas895.com/home.html