Reader Question: EZPass?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Mark asks: Where I live, the bridge tolls (from NJ to PA) were increased for the first time in a few years. Like last time they went up, they went up a quarter; they went up from $1.00 to $1.25. But, there’s a catch! Unlike last time, the quarter increase only applies if you have the EZPass electronic toll transponder; if you pay cash as I always have, the toll went from $1.00 to $3.00! The toll commission obviously wants everyone to use EZPass.

My question is this: should I get the EZPass or not? I don’t like it, because it’s another tool with which to monitor you. OTOH, with all the LPRs around these days, does doing without EZPass make much of a difference anymore? If the “authorities” can read my plate everywhere I go, does skipping EZPass make that much of a difference? Now that I’m not working, I don’t need to go to Jersey. That said, there are good driving roads over there, so I still like to cross the river to have some fun. I don’t pay going in to NJ, but I have to pay to return to PA. My inclination is that, since the LPRs are everywhere and pretty much monitoring me in real time, I don’t know that doing without EZPass makes much of a difference in terms of privacy anymore. What are your thoughts?

My reply: I wouldn’t.

EZPass can be used to track your car all the time – not just mulct you for tolls. LPRs can do a similar – but not the same – thing. Your car must pass by a reader. The LPR knows you where there – but not where you’re going. It’s a small but – to me – important difference. By getting the EZPass, you are essentially putting a government tracking device in your car. Getting ready for Mulct-by-Mile, too.

Note also the Orwellian language. “EZPass.” So easy! Like the “Excelsior Pass.” So good!

So not.

I’d say: No Thanks.

.  . .

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13 COMMENTS

  1. Illinois tollways did the same thing with the cheaper rate for I-pass (same system, interchangeable, it can be used on any Ez-pass system). In some cases it was half the price.

    Now that Covid has finally given the tollway authority the green light to rid of themselves of the remaining toll booth workers (the union once fought for those folks), it’s I-pass, paying online or getting a bill in the mail (with a “service” charge). No more discounts anymore either.

    All this from a tollway authority that was SUPPOSED to dissolve by 1975 (when the original bonds for building it were paid off). Like most government, there is no such thing as temporary.

  2. I can’t speak for the New Jersey one, but the TxTag has no battery and only transmits in the presence of a specific RF signal. In response to this RF signal, the circuitry activates and replies using only power received from the RF signal. All in all very low transmission power that can only be received short range (at most ~300′, less than a good outfielder’s arm’s throw). So yes, it can track you but would require transmitters and receivers everywhere. It can track you much less than your what cell phone can easily do. And if you’re concerned about tracking just use tape or some other temporary manner to affix it to your windshield; the things have problem working through certain tint so storing it in a small copper Faraday cage would stop any transmission from reaching the tag.

  3. Easiest pass is no toll.

    (For example the gas tax could he increased by 5 of 10 cents per gallon to make up the difference of the toll.

    They could even do this instead of tax by mile. But that would no tg give full monitoring by TPTB)

  4. Eric,

    I didn’t know that they could track you in REAL TIME with EZPass! I knew that they’d know when you passed a toll barrier, but that’s it. They did the same for entering NYC. If you pay cash at the bridges, they RAKE you over the coals! The last time I went, it was like $15 to cross the bridge or go through the tunnel if you pay cash; if you used the EZPass, it was considerably less. They don’t force you to use it; they give you a ton of incentive to use it. The gov’t wants you to use the EZPass.

    I looked up the toll rates for entering NYC. For many of the bridges and tunnels, cash is no longer allowed at all! You can either use EZPass, which is the cheapest option; or you can let them video your plate, and they mail you the toll bill. Where cash is allowed, you pay $16, whereas with EZPass, you pay either $11.75 off peak or $13.75 peak hours. You can see the rates here: https://www.tollguru.com/toll-info/new-york/toll-rates-for-new-york-bridges-and-tunnels/#:~:text=Toll%20rates%20for%20New%20York%20bridges,%20tunnels%20,%20%20$10.17%20%2020%20more%20rows%20

    As a Christian, I’m also wary of the cashless aspect of it, since it’s a step toward’s The Mark of the Beast, aka the Beast system. In Revelation 13, the Bible talks about a time where one will need the mark in his right hand or forehead in order to buy or sell. That’s talking about a biometically based cashless system. If you pay attention while watching the movie, “Demolition Man”, they show this. I’m afraid we’re perilously close to the Beast system already! I don’t want to help usher it in, nor do I want to be monitored in real time wherever I go.

    • Amen, Mark –

      For that and other reasons, I could not abide in the NYC/NJ area – even though I’m nominally a native (born in NYC). If the cashless/biometric bidness ever comes to pass, I’m punching out. Going Amish – just without the outfit! I’ll live quietly on a small, self-sufficient farm. And if that’s not enough to be let alone, then let ’em come.

      • That’s one reason I moved across the river: to esape The People’s Republic of New Jersey! It’s sad, because I love Jersey. It’s a very diverse state; it has a lot to offer. Unfortunately, it’s become a costly, totalitarian hellhole, so I left.

        I’d like to do the farm thing, but I don’t know how I’d manage with arthritic knees. With pressure increasing to get The Holy Jab, I don’t know if replacing my knees will even be an option. We’re truly living in Bizzaro World!

        Oh, here are Tucker Carlson’s very reasoned thoughts about The Holy Jab: https://tv.gab.com/channel/revolvernews/view/banned-from-youtube-tucker-asks-how-6094ba07ece43b4417c81c1d

      • Mornin’ Eric!

        Sick thing is too, in NY now, one accesses the subway via a Metrocard (as opposed to the old metal tokens that ya’d just buy anonymously and drop in a turnstyle)….and thus they can track your comings and goings every time ya use the disgusting subway. They’ve even located witnesses to crimes by determining who was where and when via their Metrocard!

        It is UNREAL the level of surveillance and tyranny in places like NY/NJ, and the scariest thing is that MILLIONS of people are not only willing to put up with it, but to pay top dollar to live in disgusting places….and they LOVE the tyranny, and ask for more!

        When I was a teen, I used to ride the subways just to explore the city and subway system itself. It was glorious at the time (Late 70’s)- You’d drop the token in the slot (The only way to pay for the tokens was via cash) and go anywhere ya wanted to…and no one knew who you were or where and when you were getting off. Thank goodness it was that way at the time, ’cause I wouldn’t have been able to abide the way it is now!

        • Nunzio,

          I remember the tokens! When we’d visit the city, we’d use them. They had that 3 pointed symbol in the middle of it. You paid cash for ’em, dropped ’em in the turnstyle, and you were on your way! While I think I may still have a Metrocard, I’ll never use it again; I’ll won’t be going to NYC again any time soon; if I do, I’ll drive in, as I don’t want to mask up.

          • Hey MM!
            Ha! Yeah, those old tokens with the cut-out “Y” in them! I still remember when the fare was 35 cents! Funny thing is, everyone always disparages the NYC subway of the 1970’s with it’s old graffiti-covered trains and little maintenance….but the thing is, it actually worked back then, and would reliably get you where you needed to go….and it was quite an oasis of freedom (for NY)- you could ride between the cars…there’d be guys openly smoking pot on the trains, etc.

            For decades now, that subway, -now replete with high technology and endless maintenance and computerized trains and signals (etc.), has become an endless work zone where trains are rerouted constantly, so that you never know what goes where…and some lines are even shut down sporadically entirely….and of course, now you can’t even walk from car to car, much less ride between the cars- Hell, they’ll give you a ticket for putting your bag on the seat next to you in a near empty car (And perish the thought you forget to take it with you when you get off…they will literally call the bomb squad when someone reports seeing an abandoned bag!) (They shall flee when no one pursues them”).

            • Hey Nunz! Don’t forget the bums (what we called them before “homeless” came into vogue) stretched out across a whole row of seats. Not to mention the various groups going car to car looking for a handout. Yeah, don’t miss that at all.

              • Hi Mike,

                My sister lives outside of San Diego, CA. When I was last there about five years ago, one had to step over/walk around the derelicts splayed on the sidewalk. Not in the alley. Syringes and poo, too.

                • Sad to hear, Eric – I grew up there. Even though sort of desert-like, it was beautiful, to my young eyes. Balboa Park, Presideo Park, the Zoo – all manicured and spotless.

                  I spent hours wandering through the canyon just behind our neighborhood. Rough beauty, it was.

                  Now, I hear the parks are virtually turned over to the homeless – by the government! It’s really sad, because it doesn’t have to be this way!

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