NORFOLK, Va. — State transportation officials have expanded the Virginia E-ZPass website’s capacity and added weekend hours at two service centers to meet an increased demand for transponders in Hampton Roads.
On Friday, the website couldn’t accept requests for transponders at times because of a high volume of traffic, media outlets reported.
Marshall Herman, a VDOT spokeswoman, told The Virginian-Pilot that volumes on the website Friday were five times greater than any previous period.
The demand is due to electronic tolls that begin Feb. 1 on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels. Motorists who don’t have an E-ZPass transponder will pay higher rates.
Motorists were appreciative of VDOT’s decision to add weekend hours at service centers in Portsmouth and Norfolk.
“That’s most helpful,” Yvonne Goodman told WAVY-TV on Saturday. “‘Cause I had no idea I was going to get anything at all today. This time of evening anyway.”
Goodman said it took about 20 minutes to open an E-ZPass account.
“I came last week and there was maybe about 20 people in there,” Sylvia Whitfield told WAVY. “That was kind of too many people for me.”
VDOT also is working to speed up deliveries of E-Pass supplies to retail locations. Several retail locations had to turn customers away last week because they ran out of E-ZPass packets.
Herman said VDOT began shipping orders by air on Thursday to get them delivered within two days. By next week, VDOT hopes to be getting supplies delivered within one day.
The high demand for transponders prompted Elizabeth River Crossings, which is overseeing the toll operation, to extend a promotion in which people would five free tolls if they signed up for a transponder in Hampton Roads by Friday. The promotion will now run through Jan. 13.
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