Harris County hopes to reduce toll road fees

By Jace Larson - Investigative Reporter

HOUSTON - The Harris County Toll Road Authority is changing how it reduces some toll road violations when a customer calls in.

The toll road authority will give you one chance every 12 months to have your violation reduced from $33 to $5, whether you have an EZ Tag or not.

Customer service employees won't have to ask for a supervisor's permission. That should reduce hold times, according to Deputy Director Lisa Castaneda.

"That's one of the intended goals," Castaneda said. "We wanted a more simple process."

In the past, it was up to a call taker and a supervisor to decide whether to reduce a person's fees, and one customer might get his or her violations reduced and another might not.

Also it could only be done one time per account, even if you'd had your account open for 20 years.

"I held for an hour," Kehinde Adeniran, a Houston driver, said. He recently had to call after he got a new credit card and forgot to update it with the toll road authority.

He’s happy to hear people in the future hopefully won’t have to wait as long on the phone.

Castaneda suggests customers call in as soon as they notice they have made a mistake or if they have questions about their bill.

Calling in quickly may help avoid a customer’s account being sent to a collection agency.

"People call and the large majority are everyday mistakes," Castaneda said. "We've learned a large majority of our calls are first-time offenders. They aren't habitual."

Have something to share about this story or a tip? #TipJace by email or text at jlarson@kprc.com or 832-493-3951.

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