Kentucky to weigh final rules for RiverLink toll disputes
A legislative panel is scheduled to vote Friday on regulations giving drivers 60 days to appeal tolls they believe are wrongly charged on the RiverLink bridges
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky has finalized the process for drivers to appeal tolls they believe are wrongly charged on the RiverLink bridge network.
A legislative panel in Frankfort is scheduled to vote Friday on the rules, which would replace emergency regulations approved by Gov. Matt Bevin in November. Tolls began in late December on the Interstate 65 Lincoln and Kennedy bridges between Louisville and Jeffersonville, Ind., and the Lewis and Clark Bridge some eight miles upriver.
Indiana has similar regulations in place regarding toll enforcement.
Those crafted by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet give drivers and vehicle owners 60 days to dispute tolls on RiverLink account statements or invoices. Kapsch TrafficCom, the company operating the toll system, then has 30 days to consider the protest and issue its decision.
Drivers who want to challenge a toll may have to include a copy of their invoice or account statement when objecting in writing. Protests are limited to cases that include incorrectly read license plates; tolls assessed to license plates that don’t match vehicles; and a vehicle that’s been sold, transferred or stolen.
In some cases, drivers may be asked to show they were improperly billed – by providing a police report if a car was stolen, for example.
If Kapsch chooses to uphold the toll, a driver would have 10 days to pay or ask for an administrative hearing at RiverLink customer service centers at 400 East Main Street in Louisville or 103 Quartermaster Court in Jeffersonville. Fines for delinquent tolls won’t be charged during the appeals process.
The states plan to hire hearing officers by the end of February, said Megan McLain, the Transportation Cabinet’s assistant general counsel.
“As the disputes come in, we want to be able to provide a hearing officer to resolve them further if we can’t do it here at RiverLink,” she said.
McLain said there has been at least one formal challenge to a toll bill, but it hasn’t been resolved.
During the first five weeks of tolling, an increasing share of vehicles using the bridges has had transponders, according to RiverLink data. The all-electronic system has no tollbooths, relying instead on roadside technology to read license plates and scan windshield-mounted transponders.
Passenger cars with transponder accounts pay the lowest toll rate -- $2 per crossing. RiverLink says about 54 percent of weekday toll bridge trips in January involved transponders, compared with 40 percent on the weekends and holidays.
There have been some early glitches, including drivers who say crossings haven’t posted to their accounts.
Donovan Crawford of Jeffersonville said he allowed RiverLink to automatically replenish his account when it ran low. That didn’t happen, he said, and he was locked out of his account. As a result, he said he was charged for three crossings as though he didn’t have an account -- $12 -- instead of $6 under the transponder rate.
Crawford said he’s had difficulty getting RiverLink customer service representatives to straighten out his dilemma.
“I’ve been trying to dispute it ever since I was told I was going to get a bill—maybe stop it before it starts—and they’re not helpful at all,” he said.
RiverLink added a callback feature last month, allowing people to forgo waiting on hold and have customer service representatives to return their calls. McLain said a Kapsch subcontractor in Austin, Texas has added nine additional call center workers and plans to add another 20 by the end of the month.
“We do acknowledge that that is something we can improve on,” she said.
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