E-ZPass Booth at 4-H Fair draws motorists

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PITTSFIELD >> In addition to horses, goats, sheep and rabbit exhibitions at the annual 4-H Youth fair on Saturday, the E-ZPass van was on the grounds.

The Massachusetts Dept. of Transportation is in the process of transitioning to all-electronic tolling (AET) on the Massachusetts Turnpike by the fall.

According to David Fenton, a spokesman for the DOT, the operative date for the transition is Oct. 15. But, he admitted, that date is operative pending no delays in implementing the program.

State Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier said the E-ZPass van was at the Downtown Farmer's Market in Pittsfield on Aug. 6. The response was so overwhelming, she said, she decided to offer the program at Saturday's fair.

There were four stations set up for applications on Saturday. The lines waxed and waned throughout the day, but there was usually one or more people on any given line.

Farley-Bouvier said the gantries for "reading" the transponders have already been set up on the Turnpike. The gantries will enable drivers to pass through thee various checkpoints on the Turnpike without slowing down, said Fenton.

Those drivers without an E-ZPass after the system is refitted will still be allowed to travel the turnpike. The gantries will read a license plate, record it and send a bill to the registered owner. They will be assessed an administrative fee, said Fenton, that has yet to be determined.

Former Berkshire Eagle editor Gerald B. O'Connor was pondering signing up. He examined the application form carefully.

O'Connor was asked why he was considering signing up.

"Well, the transponders work anywhere there's an E-ZPass program, and we travel to Pennsylvania sometimes, where they take E-ZPass" he said. "And someday, before I die, I'd like to take a ride on the New York State Thruway."

To visit New York City?

"Oh no, no," he sputtered, partly in jest. "Not the big city!"

Contact Derek Gentile at 413-496-6251.


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