Patrick Administration Announces One-Stop Shopping for Drivers
RMV offers Pike FAST LANE transponders and MBTA CharlieCards
April 3, 2008
(Watertown, MA) - The Patrick Administration today announced a pilot program to make available Massachusetts Turnpike Authority FAST LANE transponders and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority CharlieCards at Registry of Motor Vehicles offices. The pilot program to further increase availability of transponders is one of several steps to cut costs and reform transportation services throughout the state.
"This program is an example of how our transportation agencies are working collaboratively to break down barriers," said Secretary of Transportation Bernard Cohen. "Allowing customers to buy a FAST LANE transponder while doing business with the RMV will not only save them time but will also allow the Turnpike Authority to cut costs and thin out congestion."
"We want our customers to be able to get everything they need to be smart commuters in one convenient location at one time," said Registrar Anne L. Collins. "If you have to visit a branch to renew your license or registration, why not get your FAST LANE transponder and CharlieCard while you're here and save a trip."
This agreement is part of a larger transportation reform initiative focused on electronic toll collection at the Pike. Since the beginning of the Patrick Administration, the Turnpike Authority has taken the following steps:
- reduced the price of a transponder by $5 with nearly one million now in use
- reduced by four the number of manual toll lanes while increasing the number of FAST LANEs, saving the Authority approximately $570,000 in the first year
- initiated a process of evaluating several proposals that could bring to the Turnpike advanced technologies such as open road tolling and video tolling to make the system even more convenient and cost efficient.
In addition, Cohen called for stricter enforcement of a City of Boston regulation requiring all city cabs to use FAST LANE transponders. Enforcing this requirement will alleviate congestion at the tunnel tolls and increase use of the U-turn ramp.
The one-stop shop pilot project will make CharlieCards available at the Watertown RMV branch while transponders will be available at both the Watertown office and the Eastfield Mall RMV office in Springfield. The FAST LANE transponders can be purchased only by credit card and will have their accounts activated in a matter of days. Customer service for FAST LANE will still be handled at FAST LANE service centers or through the program's 1-877-MASSPIKE hotline.
"Having this program in place allows us to make the FAST LANE program more accessible to Massachusetts drivers, saving them both time and money," said Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Executive Director Alan LeBovidge.
Currently, an average 60% of Turnpike drivers use FAST LANE transponders. The Authority is selling approximately 1200-1300 transponders each week with a goal of 1500-1600 per week with the new incentives and availability.
The FAST LANE program allows drivers to pay tolls electronically on the Turnpike, Tobin Bridge, and up and down the East Coast. Massachusetts drivers receive a discount of 25-cents at the Weston and Allston-Brighton tolls, and a 50-cent discount at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels. The Massachusetts Port Authority also offers a 50-cent discount to FAST LANE customers on the Tobin Bridge. FAST LANE transponders can also be used at all E-ZPass tollbooths in 12 states.
The CharlieCard was introduced in 2006 and allows riders to make electronic payments to access the MBTA system. CharlieCards can be loaded with value or passes by way of cash, credit, or debit cards at MBTA vending machines or retail sales terminals throughout the system.
"Increasing the availability of CharlieCards helps make public transportation more accessible to consumers," said Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority General Manager Daniel Grabauskas.
The FAST LANE/RMV program is the first of many initiatives in the transportation reform agenda under Governor Patrick's Massachusetts Mobility Compact. The inter-agency agreement, signed by Governor Patrick last July, calls for increased collaboration between transportation agencies to enhance mobility, create efficiencies, and share best practices.