CORNELIUS, N.C. (WBTV) - We’re on your side – continuing to investigate more billing complaints on the I-77 toll lanes.
This time, a motorcyclist called WBTV for help after he kept getting charged – even though motorcycles are supposed to be able to ride for free.
Bill Hood started using the express lanes under the impression he wouldn’t get charged.
More than a year later, he’s fighting bills he shouldn’t have gotten and wondering how many other motorcyclists are in the same battle.
“I ride it on the tollway. It’s a lot safer not being in the heavy traffic,” Hood said.
Hood loves hopping on his bike for a ride from Mooresville to Charlotte, but he says taking the I-77 express lanes has become a nightmare.
NCDOT says the I-77 express lanes are free for motorcyclists, but after numerous complaints, Hood again on March 25 was hit with another bill.
“These are February 24, the 25 and March the 4 on two different motorcycles,” Hood said.
NC Quickpass sent him a bill for $26.30, which includes a previous invoice amount for $13.84.
To make it even worse, NCDOT is now also adding a $6.00 processing fee and a new toll fee for $6.46.
“So it indiscriminately charges me. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t,” Hood said.
He doesn’t know why he’ll be able to ride for free some days and not for free on other days.
It turns out this crazy on-and-off-again billing pattern has been going on for more than a year.
“So every month I get a new bill and then they take away the old tolls here in the month before, but then every month I have to call again, wait on hold, fill out a form online,” Hood said.
Every month, it’s the same drill, writing a letter and going through the whole process of disputing a charge.
“It’s just a pain in the neck, because every month I get a new bill,” Hood said.
To figure out why Hood is getting billed, WBTV called the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, and they said:
“Motorcycles can automatically use the I-77 Express Lanes toll-free, a transponder is not required. See the FAQ here.”
From what NC Quick Pass can see, Hood’s motorcycle has been incorrectly classified by I-77 Mobility Partners roadside system and as a result, a Bill-by-Mail invoice is automatically generated.
NC Quick Pass has filed multiple disputes on Hood’s behalf to I-77 Mobility Partners for each of these incorrectly assessed tolls. Another dispute is being submitted to I-77 Mobility Partners for the remaining balance on his account. To date, each dispute has been approved by Mobility Partners.
NC Quick Pass is coordinating with I-77 Mobility Partners on possible solutions for Hood to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for I-77 Mobility Partners said:
“Motorcycles may travel for free in the express lanes and a 100 percent discount should be automatically applied to their account. My understanding is this particular account will be zeroed out,” the spokesperson said.
For Hood, “14 months in a row, it’s starting to get kind of cumbersome and irritating.”
The Turnpike Authority says it has lodged a complaint with I-77 Mobility Partners regarding the improper classification and is working with the company to keep the problem from happening again.