Consumer Watch: Pike Pass Change An Adjustment For Drivers

Friday, June 10th 2011, 11:29 pm
By: News 9

Amanda Taylor, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- When you drive around Oklahoma, chances are it takes you onto one of the state's turnpikes.

"That's one of the reasons why we get a Pikepass because of the convenience of going on through," Pikepass owner Karen White said.

But White said what the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is doing, isn't convenient at all. Through 2011 and 2012, it's replacing the boxes with stickers.

Jack Damrill with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said, "It's economical for us. It saves the customer money. It's better in the long run because it doesn't have a battery to replace."

Another major difference, you won't hear a beep when you drive through the toll gates.

"I listen for that beep because when I'm driving, I'm watching the traffic, especially if it's bad weather or holidays," White said.

"It will be something the customer will have to get used to not hearing the beep anymore, but they can trust us that it will be read," Damrill said.

Another change Karen doesn't like, you can't transfer the sticker to another vehicle, something she depends on since she often rents cars. We found the OTA does offer a portable unit but it will cost you $25.

"In order to keep our cost low for the customer in terms of toll rates, we have to pass some of that cost onto the customer if they want that portability" Damrill said.

Like any change, it will be something Oklahomans will have to get used to.

"Anytime you switch technology, there's always going to be those people who either don't like it or are concerned that it doesn't benefit them," Damrill said. "We're trying to make it as simple as possible when we make this transition."

If you have a box for your Pikepass, keep using it until you receive a postcard in the mail. The postcard will walk you through the steps to get the sticker. It's expected to take about two years to phase out the boxes.