E-ZPass gets cheaper


PORTLAND — The Maine Turnpike Authority dropped the price of its E-ZPass transponder boxes Wednesday from $25 to $10, part of a deal with the box maker that will also lead to the release of a new, smaller version of the transponder this summer.

MTA Executive Director Peter Mills said he hopes the decrease will boost E-ZPass use.

In Maine, 140,000 cars are linked to accounts. Currently, 62 percent of turnpike revenue comes from E-ZPass customers.

“There are other authorities that are in the 70s range,” Mills said.

At some exits, such as Exit 48 in Westbrook, during rush hour “People are backed up trying to pay their $1,” he said. It becomes a traffic hazard issue.

Depending on miles traveled, users either receive a discount at toll plazas or pay the same as cash drivers. Someone passing through the York plaza and exiting at Wells would pay 80 cents, Mills said. A driver paying cash at York pays $2.

Kapsch, the company with the new contract to supply the windshield boxes, will roll out a smaller version of the transponder in June. It fits in the same spot as the current model and has a similar life expectancy, eight to nine years.

People who bought a unit for $25 in the last 90 days will receive a $15 credit, Mills said.

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This story was updated at 10:17 a.m.