Drivers being hit with hefty fines at AC Expressway toll | Action News Investigation

ByCheryl Mettendorf and Chad Pradelli WPVI logo
Thursday, May 23, 2024
Drivers being hit with big fines at AC Expressway toll | Investigation
Drivers being hit with hefty fines at AC Expressway toll | Action News Investigation

SICKLERVILLE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The Action News Investigative Team is working to get answers about a toll issue along a busy stretch of the Atlantic City Expressway ahead of the Memorial Day travel weekend.

Drivers using the cash toll say it intermittently works and that they continue to get dinged with hefty fines despite paying the $.75 fee.

Several drivers tell the Investigative Team that they've racked up thousands in violations despite paying their tolls.

The toll plaza in question is in the east and westbound lanes of the AC Expressway at Exit 41 in Sicklerville.

Jennifer Rosen is one of those frustrated drivers. She posted a video on social media of her putting money in the toll and it not working. Her video has since racked up thousands of views.

She said she pays her tolls, but she still piled up nearly $18,000 in violations and fees over the course of a couple of years. She refuses to pay for something she already paid for.

"There has been times where I've thrown $1.50 in there because I just wanted it to turn green," she said. "I just don't want to deal with these violations anymore."

The violations come with a $50 administration fee, so debts can rack up.

"I come through here about three times a day, so it is adding up quite a bit," she added.

While we were at the exit earlier this month, other drivers stopped to say they too had paid tolls and were issued fines.

Labre Sewell stopped to say she owes nearly $8,500.

"I tried to get an EZ Pass, but they said I don't qualify for one because I owe them money," said Sewell.

Sewell said she feeds the change bucket several times a day because she works as a delivery gig worker.

She told us the violation notices keep coming and it needs to stop.

"I already gave you my money, your machine is broke, and then I'm giving you more money," she said.

Ayanna Bell also shared videos of her feeding the defunct toll several times this month. She told us she owes hundreds in fines.

"It is still saying I owe 25 cents. I put three quarters in there!" she said in one of the videos.

In another Bell filmed she said, "Literally just put .75 in there and it is still saying pay fare."

The toll is run by the South Jersey Transportation Authority. Back in 2020, we reported on issues at this same toll booth with the E-ZPass system.

At that time, the agency told us that the problem was fixed.

So, the Investigative Team reached back to get answers a week and a half ago about the current issues at the cash toll.

Late Wednesday, the SJTA told us it inspects the tolls daily and said what may appear as a malfunction at the toll does not always mean one has occurred.

But SJTA acknowledged there've been 172 complaints over a two-year period. The agency told the Investigative Team it would not comment on individual accounts but is investigating thoroughly.

Rosen hopes bringing attention to the issue finally gets it fixed.

"I want to see this toll actually get fixed. I want to be able to go through and throw money in and not have to worry, 'Oh my goodness am I gonna get another toll violation?'"

We passed along the names of the drivers who complained to us to the SJTA.

We'll continue to press the agency for answers to our questions.