Archive for Friday, July 10, 2009

Kansas Turnpike rolling out new K-TAGs

The change will require some users to alter how they use the devices

July 10, 2009

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Kansas Turnpike Authority to use new passes

The Kansas Turnpike Authority is getting rid of the old plastic passes and switching to a new credit card-size sticker. Enlarge video

A Lawrence trash truck goes through the K-Tag turnpike toll gate to enter Interstate 70 from North Iowa Street on a Thursday morning in April

A Lawrence trash truck goes through the K-Tag turnpike toll gate to enter Interstate 70 from North Iowa Street on a Thursday morning in April

Account accounting

The Kansas Turnpike Authority’s 100,440 customers have a total of 214,755 active K-TAG readers. A breakdown of how many are in area counties, and their percentage of the total:

  • Douglas County: 11,741 accounts, or 11.7 percent; 18,744 tags, or 8.7 percent.
  • Shawnee County: 9,183 accounts, or 9.1 percent; 15,093 tags, or 7 percent.
  • Johnson County: 3,915 accounts, or 3.9 percent; 7,399 tags, or 3.4 percent.
  • Wyandotte County: 1,698 accounts, or 1.7 percent; 4,368 tags, or 2 percent.
  • Jefferson County: 1,011 accounts, or 1 percent; 1,896 tags, or 0.9 percent.
  • Leavenworth County: 755 accounts, or 0.8 percent; 1,273 tags, or 0.6 percent.

The Kansas Turnpike Authority is recalling some of its oldest and least-functional K-TAG readers, swapping the plastic cartridges with smaller, thinner and more efficient stickers.

About 2,000 K-TAG customers are having their readers recalled, the latest move to upgrade equipment in a system that started rolling on the turnpike in 1995.

K-TAG allows drivers to pass through toll booths without stopping, and to pay either on a monthly basis or ahead of time in exchange for a discount.

The recall is giving affected customers a new “K-TAG sticker” to replace their plastic-encased readers, ones that either have malfunctioned in the past or are likely to do so soon, said Lisa Callahan, a turnpike spokeswoman.

“Sometimes the customer knows that their tag is not functioning at 100 percent,” Callahan said. “They may have gone through a plaza when the gate didn’t go up. Or they don’t know. But we know, so we just replace them. …

“We replace them before they die, so you don’t get stranded in a lane.”

Aside from their physical appearance — the new stickers are about the size of a credit card, while the old readers are bigger than many wireless phones — the switch for in-vehicle systems will prompt at least a couple operational changes:

• A K-TAG sticker actually must be affixed to the vehicle’s windshield for it to work. Unlike one in a plastic case — which typically works if simply held up near the rear-view mirror while heading through a toll plaza — a K-TAG sticker doesn’t have a battery, and therefore needs a strong connection with the glass to function, Callahan said. “Now you have no choice but to mount it,” she said.

• No more switching sensors between cars. Each vehicle needs its own, dedicated sensor. “They cannot be removed and used again once they’re on,” Callahan said.

Pricing won’t change, or at least not immediately. Currently there are three K-TAG programs:

• A prepay account, whereby customers put money in ahead of time and receive a 10 percent discount on tolls, while paying a $1 monthly fee per sensor.

• A pay-and-you go account, under which customers are billed monthly for their tolls. The fee for each sensor is $5 per year.

• A new account, started late last year, that allows customers to buy a sensor for $12.50, and then pay tolls using a payment card kept on file with the turnpike authority. The sensor may be used for as long as it functions, and therefore is good until a customer buys a new car, decides to switch cars, or even needs to replace a windshield.

Comments

Curtis Lange 6 years ago

I've had my new wafer-thin K-TAG for the past month. Works great and is less noticeable in and outside of the car. Only thing that sucks is you do pretty much have to slow down to the 20 mph speed limit now unlike with the older model K-TAG, haha.

monkeyspunk 6 years ago

Aw man, my wife and I switch tags between our cars often depending on what we have going on in KC or Topuka. Oh well, at least I won't forget it now and have to piggyback in the K-tag lane. =D

texburgh 6 years ago

I like the new K-TAG - it's unobtrusive. But it is a rip-off for those of us who switch cars. It means I am forced to get two k-tags at $1.00 per month because I can no longer take my one and use it in either vehicle.

More money for KTA, less money for me.

We should have an option.

LoneHawk1 6 years ago

This will create a problem for companies and their employees who drive different rental cars for each business trip and just transfer the K-TAG between vehicles.

KansasVoter 6 years ago

texburgh (Anonymous) says… "it is a rip-off for those of us who switch cars. It means I am forced to get two k-tags at $1.00 per month because I can no longer take my one and use it in either vehicle."

Is an extra $12 per year really going to hurt?

========

LoneHawk1 (Anonymous) says… "This will create a problem for companies and their employees who drive different rental cars for each business trip and just transfer the K-TAG between vehicles."

It won't really create a problem, they'll just have to get a ticket and pay a toll like everybody used to do.

LoneHawk1 6 years ago

KansasVoter (Anonymous) says…

It won't really create a problem, they'll just have to get a ticket and pay a toll like everybody used to do.


The problem becomes the employees. Now instead of having a corporate K-TAG that can be transferred between vehicles the employee must spend their own money and wait for the company to reimburse them.

Beth Bird 6 years ago

I do not like this idea. My husband and I trade k-tags back and forth depending on which vehicle we are driving. I do not want to pay for 2 seperate sensors. I will just forgo the k-tag and pay as I go from now on.

Paul Geisler 6 years ago

Typing before reading again, are we? If you read the article it shows that KTA is offering several options for K-Tag. If you don't want to pay $1/month with the pre-pay plan you can pay them $5/year for each sensor and be billed monthly for your tolls. Of course if you still write paper checks and use a 1st class stamp to mail your monthly bill it won't save you much at all.

• A pay-and-you go account, under which customers are billed monthly for their tolls. The fee for each sensor is $5 per year.

classclown 6 years ago

A lot of spoiled people posting here.

KEITHMILES05 6 years ago

Most people in Lawrence are spoiled. Nothing new here.

KansasVoter 6 years ago

LoneHawk1 (Anonymous) says… "Now instead of having a corporate K-TAG that can be transferred between vehicles the employee must spend their own money and wait for the company to reimburse them."

Is it really going to hurt people to have to wait to get their $2 to $4 in tolls reimbursed? Those employees probably already have to wait to be reimbursed for their gas and mileage, so I doubt that they'd have a problem waiting for the toll reimbursement.

bad_dog 6 years ago

"Only thing that sucks is you do pretty much have to slow down to the 20 mph speed limit now unlike with the older model K-TAG, haha."-KUweatherman

Watch out for the increased enforcement in the deceleration lane, weatherman. It's apparently become a profit center of its own in this down economy. I have only seen this type enforcement occur once before in the decades I've traveled the KS turnpike.

KTA troopers are using LIDAR to nail people in the deceleration lane prior to the gate where the limit is 35 mph. It's real easy to get ticketed for speeding a quarter mile from the gate if you're not paying attention. Most radar detectors won't warn you quickly enough to slow down, so keep that in mind as you approach the exit gate.

Curtis Lange 6 years ago

bad_dog: Interesting observation; don't think I've ever seen them sitting on that area (don't travel the turnpike too often). Thanks for the heads-up!

LoneHawk1 6 years ago

KansasVoter (Anonymous) says…

Is it really going to hurt people to have to wait to get their $2 to $4 in tolls reimbursed? Those employees probably already have to wait to be reimbursed for their gas and mileage, so I doubt that they'd have a problem waiting for the toll reimbursement.


Corporate fleets and corporate car rentals do not require reimbursement to the employee for gas and mileage. Some of us incur much more than $2 to $4 per month in KTA Tolls. My average bill is over $100 per month. With K-TAG this is billed directly to and paid by my employer. K-TAG keeps me from floating my employer the money for this expense.

somebodynew 6 years ago

I am in the corporate group. We use mostly rentals and there is no way to have one for every time you need to travel for work. I also use mine to pay for when my friends drive for golfing as they don't have one. Oh well, live with the changes.

Chris Beilman 6 years ago

Just give I-70 back to the InterState system and get rid of the toll booths ...

TXHAWX 6 years ago

just moved to Texas and the EZ pass is the same as the new KTAG sticker and we fly through the tolls at 80MPH.. you shouldn't have to slow to 20 with it.. the same old 35-40 will work.

YouPeopleAreCrazy 6 years ago

"just moved to Texas and the EZ pass is the same as the new KTAG sticker and we fly through the tolls at 80MPH.. you shouldn't have to slow to 20 with it.. the same old 35-40 will work."

witchcraft!

doc1 6 years ago

I got the new sticker also. I cut a piece of plexiglass to the size of the sticker and placed the sticker on the plexiglass. Now I can carry my KTAG (Sticker) anywhere. It's handy when I carpool or decide to take another car.

gccs14r 6 years ago

I can't believe that KS makes you go through a slow lane with a transponder. Like TX, OK also has full-speed transponder lanes, and you have to pull to the side to throw change in the bucket only if you don't have one.

somebodynew 6 years ago

doc1 - Glad someone on here is actually awake and thinking !! I take it that works fine ??? If so, I am going to look like a genius at work when I bring that up on Monday. (Of course if asked, I will give proper credit.)

Danimal 6 years ago

I have the new K-tag, it's compact, adorable and makes all my friends with their old chunky K-tags jealous. The only improvement I could recommend would be to make the sticker the shape of the state of Kansas.

InspectorJo 6 years ago

Doc1 Thanks for the great idea! We too share the k-tag with spouse and kids, transporting it from one vehicle to another, you just saved me $50.00.

doc1 6 years ago

Somebodynew & InspectorJo

Yeah it still works great. For some reason I actually have to hold it up to the window when I go through the lane. I put some Velcro on the back so if I'm in my primary vehicle I just leave it on the windshield.

doc1 6 years ago

Forgot to mention if you put Velcro on I would only put it on the very edge of the Plexiglas. Also use High Temp Velcro tape because the heat will cause the adhesive to melt on the regular Velcro tape. Good luck.

doc1 6 years ago

I also forgot to mention that I made one for a friend and we just used the clear plastic off an old CD case. That works pretty good too.

GardenMomma 6 years ago

Glad to see that the C.A.V.E. people are out in force.

Suck it up! Change happens.

GardenMomma 6 years ago

THAT'S a bummer. Wonder why it won't work on a motorcycle.

LA_Ex 6 years ago

KTA needs an option for motorcycles!

I don't understand why they put all the K-Tag lanes on I-70 on the right side of the road. Most other states that have toll roads allow the driver to pass through at 70mph and the only reason you know you hit a toll is when the reader beeps or a light blinks.

I especially love how west bound exiting traffic has to cut across traffic to get to the K-tag lane at the west & east Lawrence exits. I seriously think the people that work for KTA have never actually driven a car.

doc1 6 years ago

Pay N My Way... Whoever told you that doesn't understand how electronic frequency works. I have the new sticker attached to a piece of plexiglass and it works just fine if I hold it up as I pass through. An electronic chip does not need the aid of glass to pick up a signal.

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