Two very different tales of FasTrak transponders and toll lanes: Roadshow

Q: I hate to tell you you’re wrong….oh, who am I kidding?  Given that you’re almost always spot-on in your responses, I take great delight now in telling you that one recent answer was wrong.

In your June 13 column about FasTrak transponders and the fact that new ones don’t emit a beep, you told the reader not to worry, but to wait for their FasTrak statement to confirm functionality. I’m here to tell you that you should worry about this issue.

When I got my new transponder, I checked my statements to make sure the transponder worked correctly, partly because of the lack of a beep on the new devices. For multiple months, it worked flawlessly, so I stopped checking.

Without warning, it stopped working. I racked up over $100 of express lane charges. And because I didn’t catch the issue within 30 days, FasTrak told me, “There is nothing we can do about it!”

The moral of the story with FasTrak and these transponders is not to trust them. Always check your bill. Be prepared to fight with the FasTrak people if the bill is in error.

Tim Riener, Fremont

A: Thanks for sharing your story about the need to check your bill monthly, and follow up promptly on errors.

Q: Friends and I drove from San Jose to Oakland to see an A’s game in mid-May. We encountered the new Interstate 880 express lanes off Dixon Landing Road. The signage is confusing, and I had no clue what a transponder was.

We had 4 people in the car, so opted for the diamond lane. Carpool, for me, has always been 2+.

We drove in and out of the far left lane, debating amongst our party if we could or could not do that. Traffic picked up and I am a slow driver, so we stayed in the left lane past Mowry.

A month later, I received a violation notice. The toll was $.50 for the time and day involved (they have a picture of my car). The fine for no transponder was $20.00 … 40x the toll!

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I wrote Caltrans to “grieve” the violation, and said I had no clue about the need for a transponder. I also commented on …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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