"Free rides" will be fewer and farther between for Oklahomans and infrequent toll road users on the North Texas Tollway Authority's roads. The NTTA has lowered its threshold and is now billing all drivers who carry a balance of at least $2.50, or three toll trips, on their accounts.
Since Texas and Oklahoma now share license plate information across state lines, the authority has also sent 80,000 invoices to Oklahoma drivers with a history of using Texas toll roads.
Changes to the North Texas tollway system mean no more free rides – not even once.
According to spokesman Michael Rey, the NTTA's recent switch to a consolidated monthly ZipCash billing system is changing how the authority sends invoices.
In years past, the NTTA would bill drivers only after a customer made five trips on area tolls roads.
Two years ago, that threshold was lowered to three trips, as reported by NBC 5 in an earlier story.
The new system, however, has made billing more efficient and more economical for the authority.
In years past, invoices would hold until a customer reached a minimum amount to make sure sending the bill didn't cost more to process than it would collect.
Since late spring, that changed.
The NTTA has reset the threshold for $2.50, and, according to Rey, has sent out about 500,000 invoices.
"These were folks who had one, two, three transactions that just didn't justify sending a bill," Rey said. "Every little bit adds up. If we can do it in a financially responsible way, we'll do that to go ahead and get the tolls back."
The NTTA has also sent 80,000 invoices recently to Oklahoma drivers.
In 2014, Texas and Oklahoma reached an agreement to share license plate information.
Now, Rey says, the NTTA will be able to send overdue invoices to Oklahoma drivers who've made trips through Texas and used toll roads.
In both cases, he says, overdue tolls will only be billed back through 2012.
To settle outstanding debts, consult your invoice from the NTTA or visit ntta.org.