Over the past few weeks, many drivers have reached out to KHOU 11 News on social media and by email, asking us to look into unwarranted violations by TxTag.
One man, Zachary Bybee, said his fees are so high, he owes nearly $7,000. He’s hoping it’s just part of a system wide error.
On their website, TxDOT has addressed the issue saying their trying to get their toll tags to work seamlessly with other agencies, which is what led to the unwarranted violations.
But Bybee says he now owes thousands of dollars after driving to and from work on Grand Parkway for just three days. He says the amount can’t be real.
It isn’t his first troubling experience with Houston toll roads.
“When we ended up updating our information, the Grand Parkway charged us a $500 fee," Bybee said.
That was back in January when Bybee’s wife switched credit cards on her account. So to be safe, Bybee says he removed the card and started depositing the money.
“That just started disappearing like it was nothing," Bybee said.
That didn’t sit well this driver.
“Every other day, I was getting charged outrageous amounts, $40 a day sometimes," Bybee said.
He says his commute normally costs just $6.00 one way. When he called TxDOT for answers, he said he didn't get anywhere. He was fed up.
“They kept charging me and adding more fees, and I had to go to work so I just finally ignored it," Bybee said.
Bybee was moving out of Houston anyway and decided he’d just take the hit on his last few trips down Grand Parkway.
But the toll authority hit back, hard.
He received a letter from an attorney. The toll amount of $291 and an admin fee of $6,625.
“They’re crazy. I mean a lot of us work and don’t make very much, but work to support our family and then we’ve got to deal with stuff like this. And if you don’t pay it, it goes on your credit which screws your life up even more," Bybee said.
The letter outlines Bybee’s violations over the course of a few days. Some toll fees of .44 cents, others were $1.13. And each of them had a $25 fee tacked on. Then the admin fee was piled on top.
Bybee doesn’t understand how he could ever owe that much.
“I don’t think you could run the toll for an entire year and still owe $6,000," Bybee said.
He’s hoping and praying it’s just not real.
KHOU 11 News has asked both TxDOT and the attorney’s office to look into Bybee’s account.
The attorneys office says while it hasn’t been confirmed, it is possible that the glitch in the system could have led to letters being sent out.
They say it’s a case-by-case situation and if you have questions, call the number on your notice. They are receiving a high number of calls so they are asking customers to have patience.
Here is the statement from TxDOT on the issue:
"We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience our toll customers are experiencing at this time. EZTag, TxTag and TollTag (Houston, Austin and Dallas toll authorities) have been working together to allow their toll tags to work seamlessly with Kansas and other states so that Texas toll tag users can drive on other states’ toll roads using their same tags.
During this time, the transfer of account information between the partnering toll authorities was delayed and, as a result, some customers were issued a Pay By Mail invoice and violations in error. Due to this issue, we are receiving a high volume of calls and customers are experiencing long wait times.Please call the agency with which you established your TxTag, TollTag or EZTag account with to dispute Pay By Mail invoices or violations you might have received in error from other toll agencies.
Your home tag agency will file a dispute on your behalf to resolve these bill issues with the other agencies. There is no need for you to call both toll agencies. We appreciate your patience as we work with our partner tolling agencies to resolve the situation."