Friday, October 06, 2006

Turnpike ignoramus

Now I know what happens if you don't grab a ticket and erroneously enter the PA turnpike by going through the "Easy Pass - NO TICKETS" booth. It helps to NOT have any cash or a checkbook on hand should this occur.

If you stupidly do this mainly because of poor signage, you're tired, and you had two tangy margaritas, DO NOT FRET. For the record, the margaritas happened LONG before the drive home and the ingestion thereof was punctuated with a hearty meal.

The guy at the booth will tell you that you have to pay the "whole enchilada," so to speak. I just couldn't resist using that term after the earlier beverage reference. But I digress.

It DOES help to have proof of where you got on the Turnpike. For example, I was at Mad Mex in Monroeville and had a time-stamped receipt! This was emblazoned in my memory as I realized my horrendous error. I thought, "I'll show them! I can PROVE where I got on!"

Of course I told all this to the toll booth guy at the Butler exit, but he wasn't enthused. He was even less enthused when I said I COULDN'T pay because I had no cash or checks. He had to fill out my "CERTIFICATE OF PASSAGE" form. Then he nicely presented me with a scribbled 1-800 number to call and said, "Call this number, tell them EXACTLY what you did, and they'll send you the difference."

So the next day, I retrieve the 800 number and my passage form. I dial and sift through all sorts of recorded instructions until I find what I think is the right one for "Fare Collection." Of COURSE when I make contact with a human and tell them my story, they say, "Oh, you need to talk to...blah blah blah."

I get "blah blah blah" on the phone, whose name is Ted. After listening to my spiel that started with, "Uh...I did a dumb thing and...", he says, "Allright. Here's what you do. Put OK Per Ted at the top of the passage form. Write 1.00 processing fee plus your 1.25 fare, and send a copy of the receipt and a check for 2.25. That's it."

So that was a fun way NOT to have to spend $23.00! In fact it was WORTH the $1.00 processing fee just so I could write this recap!

1 comment:

Stefan Wray said...

That's a great story Amanda.

It has a protagonist (you), a villain (the evil turnpike tolls), a conflict (you and the toll booth guy), and a resolution(you got out of paying the full toll).

Plus it kind of has a herioc element -- against all odds in the end you were able to prevail!