The new year means many of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's Pikepass customers should receive new windshield sticker tags.
Distribution efforts of the new stickers will pick up early this year, with plans to get them sent to all account holders by the end of next year, said Jack Damrill, Turnpike Authority spokesman.
The sticker tags are replacing hard-case units that mount on the windshield. The hard-case units are no longer being produced.
The sticker tags should solve a problem with hard-case units that are switched between the same account holder's vehicles. When the hard-case units aren't mounted correctly, electronic readers at the turnpike gates can misread or not read the tags.
The sticker tag mounts on the windshield under the rearview mirror, similar to where the hard-case tag is placed. But the sticker must be mounted correctly in order for it to work properly; a few motorists who were selected to try out the stickers reported difficulties putting the sticker on the windshield, Damrill said.
No serious problems have occurred during two rounds of tests with the stickers on more than 25,000 vehicles, including 15,000 commercial trucks, he said. Those who took part in the trial tests were allowed to keep their sticker tags.
So far, nearly 32,000 sticker tags have been issued. The Turnpike Authority has nearly 543,000 Pikepass accounts.
Some Pikepass customers who have more than one vehicle switch the hard case tags between vehicles. Damrill said a sticker tag will be required for each vehicle.
Immediate plans are not to charge customers for the sticker tags, and account holders won't be charged when they buy a different vehicle or replace broken windshields, he said. The sticker tags don't work if they are removed from the windshield.
Exceptions will be made for owners who have upper-end vehicles that have metallic windshields, Damrill said. The sticker tags won't work on metallic windshields; those vehicle owners are given a bumper-mounted or vehicle tag-mounted device.
Customers who abuse the system by going through a high number of sticker tags eventually will be charged for replacement tags, he said. Sticker tags cost about $9 each.
The Turnpike Authority will notify account holders when they should get a sticker tag, Damrill said.
“After the first of the year, we'll be full-steam in transferring people over,” he said.
The Turnpike Authority plans to replace the hard-case units based on age, he said. The longer a Pikepass customer has had a hard-case tag, the sooner the customer will get a sticker tag.