By KAYTE MARSHALL
Capital News Service
LANSING – International commuters traveling between Michigan and Ontario are expected to cross the technological bridge between commuter cards and new radio-frequency identification tags by Dec. 31.
The International Bridge, which connects Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., with Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, and the Blue Water Bridge, which connects Port Huron, Mich., to Port Edward, Ontario, have updated their toll systems from card-based commuter discount systems to new radio-frequency identification tags, also known as RFID tags.
“With the new tag implementation, it’s going to ease customer wait times, make it easier for them to cross without having to use their card,” said International Bridge Association chief financial officer Emily Jacques.
The previous toll system used Prox commuter cards, a system that is expected to be phased out by Dec. 31.
With the old system, drivers had to roll their windows down and display their card to an electronic reader to proceed across the bridge. The new system uses RFID tags that are mounted near a vehicle’s rear view mirror or another designated location.
The association recommends that commuters check their vehicle owner’s manual for the correct RFID tag placement location.
“Drivers will be able to pull up to the lane, the overhead reader will read the tag in the windshield, and then the gate will open,” Jacques said.
Commuters can purchase one tag from one bridge operator and then set up an account with the other.
The program is the first of its kind toll collection system between the U.S. and Canada.
“So using our golden ticket, as we call it, to be able to operate in both countries, we were able to undertake the contracting process and manage the project,” Jacques said.
There will be no toll fare increases associated with implementation of the new RFID tag system, according to Jacques.
“We encourage people to come in, get their tags and get the most benefit they can from the system,” Jacques said.