HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - The deployment of the Harris County Toll Road Authority’s new tolling system is causing tensions to run high among drivers seeking assistance at the county’s EZ Tag stores.
Some customers say they stood in line for more than two hours on Friday trying to get help with their accounts or obtaining new EZ tags.
"We couldn't do [anything],” said toll road driver, Shannon Carpenter. “Not on the internet, not through the website, not even through the phone system. The phones were shut down."
Carpenter stood with her young son outside of the Humble EZ tag store while her husband stood in line to cut off his deceased father’s EZ tag account.
“We’re trying to get the EZ Tag taken out of my father-in-law's name who just passed away,” Carpenter said. “There's steps you have to take to close an estate and he died April 8th.”
After surveying the progress of the line inside the store for about 15 minutes, Carpenter’s husband walked out the front door.
“Too long!” David Carpenter shouted.
An HCTRA spokeswoman suggests customers do most of their business online while the transition takes place, which could take weeks before it is up to speed.
At the EZ Tag store location off the Sam Houston Tollway and Clay Road things were much the same; long lines and extreme wait times.
“I did a lot of it online, but I had to go to the counter to get the tag,” one customer said. “I waited for an hour and 20 minutes.”
KHOU 11 received the following statement from HCTRA in response to the customers’ complaints:
“Since we started operating in the new system on Monday morning, the system has performed slowly, which we expected,” HCTRA spokeswoman Roxana Sibrian wrote in an email. “We’ve communicated with customers that temporary delays can be expected, at the outset.”
The e-mail states that HCTRA expects speeds will improve over the next few weeks.
The vendor contracted to provide the work on the transition is Electronic Transaction Consultants Corp. (ETC).
The toll road authority was not able to provide contract dates of the company or if ETC has provided previous work for the county in the past, prior to broadcast.
The e-mail from HCTRA states it is committed to its customers and will “fix any mistake that has occurred due to this transition.”
We're told any issues encountered by customers should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.