If you’ve already lived somewhere in the northeast, then E-Z Pass is nothing new to you. If, however, you haven’t, then chances are you don’t know how awesome it is.
E-Z Pass is an automatic, electronic toll collection system that works on the majority of toll roads in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia. If you’re a DC resident, you’ll need to register through Maryland.
There are two types of E-Z pass, one is a “transponder” that you mount on the inside of your windshield (it’s about the size of a floppy disk and about an inch thick), and the other is a smaller version that mounts on your license plate.
Just picture it: You and your friends are on a road trip to New York and you come up to a backup at a toll stop. So you merge to the left lane—E-Z Pass only—and voila! You’re through in a flash (Just don’t go through too fast, or you’ll get a warning letter, like my mom did).
To get an E-Z pass, you have to set up an account and pre-pay a minimum amount (depending on your state) from which the tolls will be deducted from. If you have a low balance, certain tolls will flash a yellow light that says “balance low.” I’d recommend using the automatic replenishment option that’s offered so that you’ll automatically get charged when your balance is low. Otherwise, you’ll get a ticket when you go through.
There have been instances of people breaking into cars to steal E-Z passes, so I have velcro on the inside of my windshield that I stick the transponder to when I’m using it, and then I hide it in my car. But there’s also been instances of people getting in accidents while looking for their transponders, so make sure it’s within easy reach.
If you are planning on living in the area for awhile and if you drive a car, it’s just plain silly not to get an E-Z pass.