Oklahoma's Own In Focus: Pike Pass Users Report Overcharges On Will Rogers Turnpike

Over the last week, News On 6 has been in touch with the OTA. People are getting credited for their overcharges, but some drivers said they are skeptical of using the turnpike again.

Wednesday, April 17th 2024, 6:35 pm



Some drivers on the Will Rogers turnpike told News On 6 they are being charged almost $4 more per trip than they should be with their Pike Passes.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said it gets 17 million transactions a month and needs drivers to make sure their transponders are in the right spot on their vehicles and read their statements.

About a dozen people commented on a Facebook post that they have had some recent overcharges.

Over the last week, News On 6 has been in touch with the OTA. People are getting credited for their overcharges, but some drivers said they are skeptical of using the turnpike again.

The Will Rogers Turnpike seems to be the talk of the town.

"We have a community group here in Claremore, and a gentleman had posted on it, talking about everybody should look their statements because he knows some overcharges, like getting charged for the Joplin rate,” said Trevor Robison from Claremore.

Robison said he started getting charged in March for going all the way to the Missouri State line for simply entering at Claremore.

He said after calling OTA, he was credited $52, and OTA sent him a new transponder, but he still gets overcharges, even some this week.

Robison said after News On 6 asked OTA about his case, he got more money credited back today.

Others, like Kelsie Donahue, have also been charged for going to the Missouri State Line when they did not.

"Had I never caught that, could it have just kept doing it? And how many other people has this been happening to?" asked Donahue.

Donahue said she wants to know if the issues are from the new Plate Pay system.

"We have confirmed that there were no errors with our equipment,” said Lisa Shearer-Salim, a spokeswoman with the OTA.

She said misreads can come from many situations.

"We have a large system, so there may be instances where weather, there may be a sensor issue in some locations, they may have gone through the wrong lane,” said Shearer-Salim. ”They went through the cash lane instead of the pass lane. Maybe their windshield doesn't allow consistent read of the toll tag."

The OTA said it has a reminder on every statement for customers to check anything in highlight or bold.

Some drivers said they want the OTA to be more reliable.

"I rely on them to be accurate,” said Donahue. “I mean, my toll bill is a couple hundred dollars a month. If they're going to overcharge me by $4 a trip, that can add up very quickly."

Another pike pass user News On 6 talked to was also charged the toll as if he went to the Missouri State Line.

The OTA said in that case, it was an issue with the reader on the motorcycle and will send the owner a new reader that is not available to the public yet.

Have There Been Previous PikePass Complaints?

This is not the first time PikePass customers say they've been overcharged.

In November of 2016, the OTA reported a glitch caused 69,000 accounts to be overcharged by almost $500,000.

Those customers were given a credit back the next month.

And a class action lawsuit was filed against the Turnpike Authority in 2003 for overcharges during the previous five years.

The lawsuit claimed drivers getting off at an exit were still being charged for the whole trip.

That lawsuit was dismissed in 2005.

Why Do Drivers Have To Pay Tolls?

Many drivers wonder why we even have to pay tolls.

The Turnpike Authority says it does not get any state funding other than bonds to build new turnpikes.

That means turnpike maintenance, construction, and other upgrades are paid for by the tolls.

The OTA says there is a way to make the turnpikes free, but it's out of their hands.

"That is up to the state legislature, and after all bond debt and obligations are paid would that be possible. You'd also have to have a plan through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to fund the maintenance of this system, and you're talking hundreds of millions of dollars,” Shearer-Salim said.

The OTA says all 12 turnpikes are set up so that tolls will pay off the debt for every turnpike.

How Can I Make A Complaint To OTA?

OTA says people need to read their statements on a regular basis to make sure the charges are correct.

If you see something that doesn't add up, call 800-PikePass. You can also visit their website here.

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