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Longboat Key Wednesday, May. 12, 2010 7 years ago

Toll road stickers wreak havoc

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Bay Isles residents who have affixed a SunPass Mini toll road sticker to their windshields are not able to get into their communities.

Bay Isles south gate vehicle-control officer Webb Moffitt told The Longboat Observer the new toll sticker is rendering the credit-card sized plastic SmartPass that residents use to get through the gates useless.
“These stickers make the SmartPass totally ineffective,” Moffitt said.

After two Bay Isles residents reported that they couldn’t get through the gate, Moffitt realized the toll stickers were the problem.

Taking a piece of glass with both a toll sticker on it and a Bay Isles SmartPass, Moffitt waved it in front of the gate with no luck.

But as soon as Moffitt removed the toll sticker from the glass, the light turned from red to green and the gate opened.

The new SunPass Mini, which is available at both Publix and CVS Pharmacy, is being offered at a price of $4.99, while giving customers $4.99 worth of toll credits for activating the stickers.

The new toll sticker is being touted as a new offering to go along with a SunPass portable unit that is similar in size to Bay Isles/Islandside SmartPass transponders.

Moffitt has contacted a technician at SunPass, who said the stickers are causing similar problems in gated communities across the state.

A public information officer said she would investigate the issue.

Dick Weber, president of the Bay Isles Master Association, said his board discussed the topic at a board meeting on Monday.

“It’s an issue that needs to be worked out both on our end and SunPass’ end,” Weber said. “We are not alone on this.”

For the time being, Moffitt recommends Bay Isles and Islandside residents refrain from placing the toll stickers on their windshields until the problem can be remedied.

And Moffitt, who purchased a few of the toll-road stickers, is trying to come up with a solution that might work and save the Bay Isles and Islandside communities money in the process.

Moffitt believes it would be relatively easy to write a code for the technology in the toll-road stickers that would also allow the guard gates to open.

If that solution was agreeable by the communities, Moffitt said the communities would only be paying $5 for toll-road stickers instead of $50 each for SmartPass transponders that he says routinely fail and need replacing.

If that suggestion came to pass, residents could use the stickers to access the Key Club gates, while having the added benefit of activating a SunPass toll-road account if they desired.

In the meantime, Longboat Key Club and Resort Safety Manager Robert Hunt said the toll-sticker problem is a non-existent issue so far at Islandside.

“If this becomes a problem at Islandside, it will be corrected,” Hunt said.

Contact Kurt Schulteis at [email protected].

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