TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Driving on Florida toll roads is part of doing business for trucker Bill VanEpps. “Tolls are a huge expense, and it adds up to a lot of money at the end of the year,” Bill said. He noticed a lot of mistakes with his EPass account so he switched to SunPass in January. “I’ve discovered weekly mistakes,” Bill added. Between January and September, Bill found 42 mistakes by the SunPass electronic tolling system. “My rig is a five axle rig. I’ve been charged for as many as 7 at one time. I’ve been charged for as few as 2,” he explained.
This is not just a problem for truckers. 8 On Your Side obtained thousands of pages of Florida Department of Transportation Axle Miscalculation reports dating from 2009 through 2014. Each page contains 3 to 4 mistakes and complaints. Records show axle miscalculations on many makes and models, including Toyota Corollas, Camrys, Ford Escapes and 150s, Honda Accords, Civics, CRVs.
Here is some of what we found:
- a Honda Accord charged for 8 axles, 03/11/09
- a Ford Focus billed for 7 axles 03/27/09
- a Toyota Prius charged for 9 axles 09/21/10
- a Toyota Tacoma billed for 15 axles 08/15/11
- a Ford Fusion billed for 7 axles 07/05/12
- a Honda Fit billed for 15 axles 07/13/12
- a Ford 150 billed for 7 axles 10/29/13
Between July and August 2011, the state billed one Camry owner for having 4 and 3 axles a total of 24 times. The reports show that from March 2009 through March 2014 customers complained about their 2 axle vehicles being billed for 15 axles, on 70 different occasions.
The toll plazas with the most problems are located at:
- Everglades Parkway
- Three Lakes
- Curry Ford
- Anderson Road
- University Lane
- …and the Sunshine Skyway
“The Leesburg toll barrier, it’s very common to have mistakes show up going through that toll barrier,” Bill VanEpps noted. “You are referring to data that appears to be largely at least 4-6 years old,” Florida Turnpike Enterprise Public Information Officer Christa Deason, wrote in a July email. “Also, the toll plazas at University and Curry Ford are not part of the F.D.O.T. system-they are CFX (Central Florida Expressway) plazas.”
Trucker John Northrup, of Plant City, contends the electronic tolling system is so inaccurate, he is suing the Florida Department of Transportation, claiming it has faulty equipment that results in consistent over billing. following 8 On Your side’s report Northrup, the executive director of the Florida Turnpike Enterprise, Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti told the Florida Senate’s Transportation committee in January 2014, the problem was with Northrup’s truck.
“He has so much low metal that the gradient sensor is reading more than it is intended to read,” Gutierrez-Scaccetti told senators. “We have not heard from anybody else since that news story broke back in the late fall.”
The Axle Miscalculation reports reveal the state heard from plenty of customers before and after Gutierrez-Scaccetti appeared before the senate transportation committee. “The bottom line is their system, is not accurate, it doesn’t work right,” Bill said.
How to report SunPass problems
The SunPass Call Center phone number is 1-888-865-5352. The fax numbers are 1-888-265-1725 and 1-561-470-6699. The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Center is open Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Check your SunPass billing online here.
- Click “Login to Account.”
- Once your on your account page, go to “statements” and click “detail.”
- Next, click “view.” This will give you a detailed account of your transactions for the last month.
- You can click on the window with the month listed and then choose any and all months to review.