Bad experience at Queens Tunnel

Old May 20th, 2002, 06:56 PM
Posts: n/a
Bad experience at Queens Tunnel

I wanted to get everyone's opinion about something that happened to me last wkend. My husband, me and another couple went to NY and traveled over to Long Island for the day. We had never driven in NY before and on our return trip thru the Queens Tunnel, we accidently got in the wrong lane. It was very busy and we unfortunately got in the EZ pass lane by mistake. The policeman came over and my husband apologized and said we needed to pay cash, we were very sorry. The policeman was really awful! He told us it was a 70 dollar fine and 2 points on his license. He loudly repeated that several times. He asked for my husband's driver's license, registration, and money for the toll. He told us to pull over to the side and didn't tell us what he was doing. He was very short and nasty to us. We waited for several minutes, eventually he came back with a $70 ticket and our change. His only words to us were, "read the signs!".
Here's my complaint-- it is confusing for tourists thru the tunnels. We weren't criminals, we were very polite and apologetic. We definately were not trying to get by without paying. We all felt like the reaction to this mistake was a little over the top. A stern warning would have been appropriate, the ticket and policeman's bad attitude was excessive. It didn't leave us with a very good feeling about NY.
Any thoughts?

Old May 20th, 2002, 07:21 PM
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Can your husband go and fight the ticket? Or maybe you could put this to paper and write a letter to someone higher up at the police dept. I totally can understand how confusing all of these EZ pass lanes are across the nation.
Old May 20th, 2002, 07:22 PM
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Well if they let everyone who was apologetic and claimed they had made a mistake off with a warning, everyone would use the EZ lane wouldn't they? You'll probably get more satisfaction if you sent a letter to the tunnel authorities or the NY Times suggesting ways to correct the confusion.
Old May 20th, 2002, 08:53 PM
SunPass/EZPass User
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You should have looked for the signs. Nothing frustrates an EZPass/ SunPass /Toll Tag /Cruise Card /E-Pass/O-Pass /I-Pass /FastLane etc. commuter more than a bumbling tourist driving into the lane just because the line is not as long as the cash lanes. Don't you know that the line is not as long because we have prepaid? The signs are very clear. We go through the hassle of getting a transponder so we do not have to wait in line, but you go into the lane and stop in the lane waiting for god to come by and allow you through or even put your car in reverse and attempt to get out of the lane and back up into traffic. Meanwhile 100's of commuters who have invested in transponders have to wait for your dumb ass to move. If you get into the EZPass lane, do not stop. Keep going!!!! And if you get a ticket it is your own fault. You get no sympathy from me.
Old May 21st, 2002, 03:37 AM
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And you wonder why New Yorkers have a reputation for being nasty.
Old May 21st, 2002, 03:44 AM
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Well said SunPass/EZPass you summed up my thoughts and experiences as well.
Old May 21st, 2002, 04:08 AM
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New Yorkers are the most provincial people in the US. The fact that they can't imagine that it might be hard to follow signs in unfamiliar areas suggests that they never leave NY, which would explain why they are so clueless not only about the rest of the country but about themselves.

The only other explanation would have to be that people like Sunpass and Chuck never make a mistake, never get confused, never cause difficulty for anyone else.

What an incredibly BAD attitude you two have! What can possibly give you the idea that it's admirable to be so inhospitable? Are you proud of being New York-stereotypical jagasses?
Old May 21st, 2002, 04:44 AM
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Last time I checked "Sorry, I didn't mean to do it" isn't a defense to a traffic violation. Everyone says that - so even if it was true in this particular case, that doesn't mean that the poster should not have received a ticket.

If that one experience (which doesn't sound all that awful) with one officer is enough to leave the poster with not a very good feeling about NY, she's not going to feel good about a lot of places.
Old May 21st, 2002, 04:57 AM
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Everyone has a bad day sometime - I agree that the story, as you told it, leaves the cop looking bad. Working at the entrance to the Queens Tunnel would give anyone a bad attitude, even if the fumes did not do more permanent damage. But, as stated above, don't let one bad experience color your whole picture of an entire city. Driving that route if you are not sure of where you are going is stressful. My best guess is that there is some shared blame here. Ignorance of the law...
Hope you were able to put it behind you and get on withg your trip.
Old May 21st, 2002, 05:07 AM
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I agree with Sun Pass and Chuck. There are signs all over the place noting which lines are for Easy Pass. I do not drive regularly through the Midtown Tunnel but know this. If I did drive and pay for EZ Pass nothing would bother me more than getting behind someone who was not suppose to be there.
For people who are not familiar or not comfortable driving in the city, use mass transit especially from Long Island. The LIRR is made for people like you.
Old May 21st, 2002, 05:25 AM
Language Police
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Diane, you're second sentence should start, "My husband, another couple, and I went to NY ... ."

I'm adding $25 to your traffic fine for a total fine of $95. Pay attention next time.
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:00 AM
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Sorry, "Language Police," but "YOU'RE" not in any position to be judging others.
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:11 AM
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No question that the Midtown Tunnel is confusing, but you have to understand that for every innocent driver who makes an honest mistake (you) there are 100 who know the rules but blantantly try to beat the system, change lanes, back up or try any number of different things. The police at the tunnels are not known for their compassion -- or intelligence either -- so it's not surprising that they don't have the best "bedside manner".

I'm also afraid that any attempt on your part to fight the ticket will be lost in the big New York bureaucracy/red tape machine and when it's all said and done you'll end up paying it anyway -- with a penalty. So my advice would be to pay the ticket, painful as it is, and put a voodoo hex on the officer.
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:19 AM
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If you had any idea of how many people go through those bridges and tunnels on any given day! And so many of the people driving have no clue, don't read signs, don't know HOW to read signs.The police are not there to hold your hand or to listen to your apology.Never having driven to a place does not make it ok to screw up when you are driving there.
In case you forgot.Something bad happened in NY a few months ago, and there are some new alerts out now.
The police are just a little on edge and having to be very vigilante.Maybe some tourists with no clue irritate them.
Try to read the signs next time, they are easy to read.It says
EZ PASS ONLY , and that is the one you should avoid.
Puhleeze, do you write letters whining about everytime someone yells at you!
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:34 AM
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I find the No Parking/No Standing, 7 AM - 7 PM, M - F, T - T only, except Sun between 7 - 11, 4 - 9, etc. etc. confusing too. Does this mean I shouldn't get a parking ticket if I screw up? You state that the policeman was really awful. Was he awful because he repeated himself loudly or because he gave you a ticket that you feel you shouldn't have gotten? If he repeated himself loudly and didn't give you a ticket, would you still think he was really awful?
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:37 AM
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There's no reason the cop had to be nasty but the law is the law. I also agree with what SunPass/EZPass User said. When driving in an unfamiliar place you have to be extra careful and pay lots of attention to signs, especially when driving in such a notoriously congested areas. I know it's confusing at times but the set up at the tolls is that way for a reason, to keep the traffic moving as best as possible.
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:42 AM
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This doesn't have to do with reading the signs in the tunnel but I do have a tunnel experience. On my last night in NYC I decided to have dinner with my friends and they took me to an Indian restaurant. I left right after dinner to catch my plane. I called up one of the car express people who came on time and was very nice to me. We were driving along and entered the tunnel, I forgot which one, and it stomach started to rumble and I knew in an instant that the Indian food I just had was not settling in right. My pain was unbelievable! The traffic was slow and the tunnel seemed to never end! I did make it to the nearest gas station just out of the tunnel. Next time I will by pass the tunnel and that restaurant!
Old May 21st, 2002, 06:45 AM
Say wha?
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Hahahhaha....Chicagoan! But what the hell does that have to do with Diane's post? You should have contributed that to the old bathroom thread!
Old May 21st, 2002, 07:07 AM
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Contrary to some of the explanations above, the signs are NOT that clear. As you approach on a curve, you cannot tell which lane the EZ Pass sign is over. By the time you approach and can figure it out you have two options:
Stop right in the middle of traffic and wait for someone to let you over -- which might take an hour or two -- or simply keep inching ahead. There is no switching of lanes in that heavy traffic once you approach the tollbooth and figure out which lane is which. It is nice for those of you who commute it every day to know in advance which lane to be in, but it is unfortunate you have no mercy for those of us who have never been there before.
And thanks for calling us "bumbling tourists". I hope you never leave the comfort of your own home where you are familiar with everything.
I have twice made driving mistakes in foreign countries and when the police found out I was a tourist they didn't give me a ticket. If New York wanted to encourage tourism which they claim they do, the police could do the same thing when they realize that obviously this was a group of tourists who were lost in the confusion -- not someone trying to cut the line.
Old May 21st, 2002, 07:10 AM
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The Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Police are not known for their compassion.
The EZ Pass lanes are well marked, however people do get in them by mistake especially because the line is usually much shorter. The Queens Midtown Tunnel and the East River Bridges do not let you got through with out a transponder because there is a barrier that must go up to let you through. Very few EZ pass lanes in NYC do not have a barrier so you cannot just go through and hope for the best. The Police at these locations have all heard the "I did not know" story. They will give anyone a ticket. And they are not pleasant about it.
However, Diane, here's my suggestion. I am an EZ Pass user and have had my share of reasons to be in touch with the Customer Service folks. DO NOT TELEPHONE!!! You will get no where! Write a letter, be concise, be polite, remember that the cop that wrote the ticket does not work for EZ Pass, so don't bothering complaining about him to EZ Pass. I have found that a letter to them usually gets the situation resolved. You will usually have to pay the toll but sometimes the fine is discharged. Write them at:
EZ Pass Customer Service
Administration Office
PO Box 14902
Staten Island, NY 10314-9002
Another way is to stop at an EZ Pass Service Center near you and talk to someone in charge there.
will give you addresses of local offices. I have found them to be very nice and very helpful at the centers. I have had to deal with them at least a doazen times for various things and all resolved to my satisfaction. You can email me for more information if you like.

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