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Oklahoma Turnpike Authority prepares to deactivate old Pikepass units

Oklahoma Pikepass customers who don't get new windshield stickers face a $25 fine every time they go through an electronic reader. About 14 percent of the 590,000 Pikepass customers, about 88,000 account holders, haven't gotten the new stickers, which have been available since March.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: November 29, 2012 at 9:36 pm •  Published: November 30, 2012
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Pikepass customers who haven't exchanged their old transponder units for windshield sticker tags will soon discover they no longer work.

The old units will start being deactivated next week and won't work when motorists drive through the Pikepass readers on the state's toll roads, which likely will result in drivers getting a ticket, members of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority were told Thursday.

Authority members also were told of plans over the next several years to install cable barriers in the medians of the state's 10 turnpikes where no concrete or cable barriers are in place. Cable barriers are designed to reduce collisions that involve vehicles going into oncoming traffic.

Tim Stewart, deputy director and chief operating officer of the Turnpike Authority, said a fifth and final notice about the Pikepass change was mailed this month. About 88,000 account holders, or about 14 percent of the 590,000 Pikepass account holders, have not switched to the sticker tags, he said. About 104,400 hadn't complied as of August.

“We began sending the fifth and final notice on Nov. 5 of this year,” he said. “Thirty days past receiving notice, those old passes will no longer work. Beginning around Dec. 5, those old passes will be deactivated, and they will systematically be deactivated.

“Our hopes are that we get responses before we have to turn those passes off,” Stewart said.

Stewart said some customers may not have responded because they rarely drive on the turnpikes.

What to expect

Motorists without windshield sticker tags who go through a Pikepass reader will have their vehicle's license plates photographed, he said. Pikepass customers will be billed at the cash rate instead of the discounted Pikepass rate. Those who don't have their vehicle tag on file with the Turnpike Authority and aren't identified as a Pikepass customer will eventually be sent a violation notice.

Stewart said the Turnpike Authority initially will send a courtesy notice, but if motorists don't respond or continue to refuse to get a windshield sticker, they will be sent a violation notice, which carries a $25 fine per event.

“We've taken multiple progressive steps to try to get them to convert to the sticker tag,” he said.

The Turnpike Authority started using windshield sticker tags in March 2011. Customers were notified they could exchange their old units for the tags at no cost.

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