Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mass Pike Driving

Train Rider drove to Boston today. I've heard from many people that this morning's commute was not a pleasant one for anyone who took the Mass Pike in from Central Mass/Metro West.

Since we're on the driving topic, for now, I wanted to pass along some information a friend of mine shared with me. This is about some additional changes to the Fast Lane transponder program:
As of January, you will no longer receive a Fast Lane paper statement. (For those of us trying to be greener, this is a good thing).

If you want to continue to receive one, it will be $2/mo for residential and $5/mo for commercial. You must log on the Fast Lane website to request this option.

And, they are no longer offering the "post paid" option. Anyone who had it is grandfathered in, but if you have any issues with your payment method and they can't collect, you'll lose it and get pushed to pre-paid.

This happened to me and now they're threatening to charge $50 if I use my Fast Lane tag before they process my "pre-paid" paperwork (won't let me do it online.)

You can log/set up an account at
I've read some articles about how the Mass Pike is going to charge a monthly fee for Fast Lane users (I believe $.50 per month per transponder), but I haven't heard the news my friend shared with me. The $.50 per month per transponder fee is a bit irking for those of us who have already paid a transponder fee. I get the fact that the state is in a financial crisis, heck it seems like the whole world is right now. But I don't understand why they can't grandfather those of us who have paid a fee for our transponder and start charging us when our transponder fee doesn't cover the the monthly fee anymore. Then again, I do "get" why they won't do this - most Fast Lane users have already paid the monthly fee, so there wouldn't be any revenue to collect.

In today's Boston Globe there is an article about the federal economic stimulus plan. Only 5% of the $819 billion plan is earmarked for infrastructure things such as rapid transit and roads: $12 billion for rapid transit/trains and $30 billion for roads. This means that funding for MBTA-related projects and road improvements could be difficult to obtain.

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