Report Indicates MTA May Have Overcharged Thousands Of Customers At Tolls Across The State
HARFORD COUNTY - A new report from the Maryland General Assembly's Office of Legislative Audits (OLA) indicates that thousands of customers were potentially overcharged at toll locations across the state.
Auditors reviewed tolls from April 2021 to January 2022, specifically focusing on the Hatem River Bridge in Havre de Grace. According to the report, auditors found 11,488 customers who potentially were overcharged a combined $545,000 in tolls.
According to OLA, the audit was commissioned due to a high volume of complaints from EZ-Pass users who said they were double-billed.
"As of April 2, 2022, 74 complainants had contacted our fraud, waste, and abuse hotline, many of whom had multiple complaints, including being charged for a toll they did not incur, charged an incorrect rate, or charged multiple times for the same trip."
The report found that 82,847 customers were potentially charged more than once for a single trip through a toll. Around 80% of those double charges occurred at the Intercounty Connector (ICC), the Maryland Bay Bridge, and Fort McHenry Tunnel.
Auditors sampled 65 customers from the list, and 62 said they were overcharged.
"For example, a customer traveling on the I-95 Express Toll Lanes was charged twice based on tolling equipment cameras in two lanes mistakenly reading the same vehicle twice, and another customer was improperly charged twice for the same trip on the ICC," the report states.
The report identified two reasons why customers might have been overcharged. For the Hatem River Bridge, auditors determined that customers subscribed to the bridge's special discount plan were sometimes charged for every crossing instead of the flat $20 annually promised in the plan.
The report also states that Over-billing is often linked to improperly mounted EZ-Pass transponders on customer vehicles.
According to the report, the Maryland Transportation Authority found only $110,000 of the $545,000 was improperly charged. MTA defended its practices following a September 2021 audit that identified similar issues with tolling equipment.
"In a detailed analysis provided to OLA covering four specific days at two different facilities, MDTA identified 15 occurrences of customers being overcharged out of a total of 230,687 transactions. This reflects an error rate of 0.000098," The agency said at the time.