According to the PTC press release, their research shows that 20% of drivers who pass through the east-west highway still pay tolls with cash, down from 40% in 2010. However, critics are not convinced that that's enough of a reason to ban cash on the cross-state road all together.
Federal Data findings show that over 200,000 people living in Pennsylvania are unbanked. To them, and to anyone living paycheck-to-paycheck, the cashless highway poses serious risks. What happens when money is automatically taken out of a driver's account wrongfully?
A few months ago, William Entriken found $300 of fines on his family E-ZPass account because of a lack of notifications regarding confusing lane systems that uses cameras on the road to charge additional fees despite not being able to determine a driver's distance.
"They have an incentive not to fix it. They’re getting money from the fines and saving money from not having to fix the transponder. They just wait for you to find it and then they’ll handle it. There’s a whole category for V-toll complaints about it on their website.”
Like driving behind a car that signals left but turns right, cashless highway announcement comes at at confusing time. Earlier this year, a fresh wave of support for safeguarding democratic cash in Philadelphia saw new a bill passed banning cashless stores across the state because they discriminate against the most vulnerable. The legislation has even inspired other law-makers to fight for pro-cash bills across the country...so why should driving across the pro-cash state reflect otherwise?
There are also concerns being raised about the impact on jobs. Of the 1,900 people working at tolls across the highway, 600 are to be replaced by the cashless system. On whichever side of the toll you find yourself, maybe it's not too late to stop the barrier from coming down.
The popular highway is expected to be fully cashless by the fall of 2021, that is, unless findings show that more and more drivers are choosing cash. The public could even take the road of the cashless store ban by reaching out to government representatives and requesting action against discriminatory cash-banning highway tolls.