A Gwinnett County woman tells Channel 2 Action News a Peach Pass fine she got while using these lanes could be a lesson for everyone. She had her Peach Pass set to pay the HOT lane toll on Interstate 85 but police still stopped her and gave her a $96 fine.
"I carpool usually with coworkers or other students. I’m a student at GA state university,” Sana Badshah told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh. "You can be in non-toll mode as long as you have three or more people."
In non-toll mode, drivers ride the I-85 HOT lanes for free.
Sana Badshah says one day in June, she dropped off her carpoolers and immediately changed her Peach Pass from non-toll mode to toll mode. She started back on the road again headed for the interstate. Moments later, she saw Department of Public Safety blue lights flashing behind her.
"He said I have to wait the entire 15 minutes before entering the HOT lane again,” Badshah said. "He said that I didn't wait the 15 minutes and there's nothing he can do."
Badshah said it took her about seven minutes to reach the HOT lanes.
A spokesperson for the State Road and Tollway Authority, or SRTA, emailed Channel 2 Action News saying:
"For both technological and safety reasons, it is critical that customers change their toll mode before they start their trip and at least 15 minutes before getting in the Express Lane."
SRTA says it can take that much time for the system to catch up. But Badshah says that wasn't the case with her.
"So 9:12 a.m. and I got charged a fee for $.70 . That's the same time as my ticket which is at 9:20 am."
She was paying the toll all along.
"With a ticket for almost $100 as well as a toll on top off that, it's like I'm getting double charged," Badshah said.
SRTA also told Kavanaugh they are always willing to review an individual customer's situation to see if the appropriate actions have taken place, and will certainly do that in this case. They also said they will work with Gwinnett Solicitors’ office to do so.