Thursday, September 17, 2015

Customer Service: MassDOT

I have an appointment  at 1 PM in Wellesley so I hop on the Pike  (I-90, Massachusetts Turnpike) at Exit 10A and toodle East. It's a beautiful late Summer day, and I'm making good time.All is right in my world until I get off at Exit 13 and approach the toll plaza to pay my 90 cent toll at 12:50 PM

There are five lanes at the toll plaza. Lanes 1,3, and 5 are cash lanes. Lanes 2 and 4 are EZ-Pass lanes. EZ-Pass is an automated system that requires a transponder which will deduct the toll from your bank account. I don't have a transponder.

After the tollbooths, the road forks. I'm heading East so need the left fork. Usually after the rush hour, lane 1 is closed. So, I'm happily heading to lane 3. As I look up, I see all of the cash lanes are closed with the red signal light showing and a caution cone in the middle of the lane.

I utter some colorful phrases. You've got to be sitting on me, sunny beaches, flocking words, or phrases to that effect. See, I'm now forced into one of the automated toll taking lanes. Without a transponder, if I pass through the automated toll lane I don't pay my 90 cent toll, I get whacked with a $50 fine. I think it's a $50 fine. Doesn't matter how much, it's more than the 90 cent toll I have in my hot, little hand.  I have no choice. I can't stop before the tollbooths. There's traffic coming fast behind me. I have to go through. I cringed when I heard the you-didn't-pay-your-toll-buzzer, and I'm pissed.

I get to my destination, pull out my phone and tweet my ire:

@MassDOT TIA for fine. Cuz all cash lanes closed 12:50 pm exit 13 Natick MassPike couldn't pay toll.

I figured nothing would come of tweeting to a faceless, government authority, and if I did hear from them, I thought it would be along the lines of Too bad for you. You should have a transponder. After sending the Tweet into the ether I felt better. Shortly after, I see a reply. Somebody at MassDOT heard me. Knock me over with a feather! I was asked to send MassDOT a direct message with my contact information. And then, I get a phone call! From a real, live person!

He listened to my story, and since he was so nice, I refrained from the color language. He apologized. Was a fluke thing that happened. Toll collectors coming from break at the same time, He politely listened when I suggested that breaks be staggered. He then said, he was trying to catch the toll violation notice.before it got mailed out. If I receive it in the mail, he gave me his cellphone number to contact him!

Thank you Mr. C. Refreshing to know patrons can expect excellent customer service from a large, government entity.

If you have problems, reach out to MassDOT via Twitter. Someone is listening.


  1. Well, at least something works! Nice to know that technology and the interweb can help :-)

  2. I had a similar experience with our toll taking entity here. I have to go through a toll to get 'on & off' our little isthmus. But have had the BEST customer service. There are still nice people in the world!