Parkways Authority extends E-Z Pass discount deadline

The West Virginia Parkways Authority held an emergency meeting Friday to extend the deadline for the E-ZPass early enrollment discount after technical challenges and service disruptions made the process for residents anything but easy.

The deadline, which previously had been Dec. 31, has now been extended to Jan. 11. Another meeting will be held Jan. 10 to see if the authority needs to extend it more. The customer service center will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, closed on Tuesday and then reopening on Wednesday to answer customers’ questions.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice said in a news release Friday that he asked the Parkways Authority to convene the emergency meeting to find a solution to the problem. Long lines greeted people at the Parkways Authority in Charleston, where residents were trying to get the discount and beat the original Dec. 31 deadline.

“Rest assured I will continue to monitor this situation to ensure West Virginians have an opportunity to purchase an E-ZPass,” Justice said.

With three days left for the discount during the original deadline, the turnout was huge. On Friday morning, the line at the Parkways Authority on Piedmont Road in Charleston was quite long. People waiting in line to purchase the E-ZPass for $24 for three years of unlimited travel across the West Virginia Turnpike plus a $13 transponder fee.

The $2 you pay at each toll on the Turnpike was scheduled to turn to $4 on Jan. 1. Lines were expected to be long Friday since Monday, the original deadline, is a state holiday. Eyewitness News caught up with some people who got in line early.

“Got here right at 8 o’clock, thinking I would be here when the doors open,” Mike Pollack of Parkersburg said. “I was, but the line was already to the parking lot.”

Meanwhile, Carol Pottorff of Poca said she thinks “we just procrastinated too long.” She said standing in line, however, was worth it.

“Oh yeah! Long as I have my coffee,” Pottorff said.

You can also get an E-ZPass by going on the turnpike’s website — printing an application — and mailing it in to the authority.

Another option is filling out the application online and getting a transponder mailed to you, but there have been major technical issues reported with the website due to high volume of traffic.

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Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com