The E-ZPass debate: Why Judi finally gave up on her privacy
To have it or not to have it. That has been a long-standing debate in New Jersey since E-ZPass was first introduced. And with this weekend's heavy travel traffic, you'll be thinking about it more than you normally do. And probably wishing you had it.
There are so many people out there who insist that they will never have easy pass because it is just too big brother-esque. People are afraid that easy pass can track them, catch them speeding, or just generally know their whereabouts and way too much information about them. I have never been one of those people.
Perhaps in the beginning of the E-ZPass days here in New Jersey I had some hesitation about jumping on the transponder bandwagon. There were so many stories about what the technology could eventually do to you if the government got ahold of your whereabouts and your travel info, so it made sense for me not to have easy pass since I don't really travel toll-roads all that often.
So, in the beginning I decided to tough it out and just make sure I had extra change in my car at all times and a few dollar bills in my wallet. And then one day on a trip home from Brooklyn on the Garden State Parkway, I encountered the Raritan Toll Plaza. It's not a crazy plaza in the sense that it's not busy all the time, not notorious for crowding and jockeying of cars to get in line (at least compared to some other toll plaza in the state, especially those along the turnpike.)
It's just that all it took was for me to change my mind was to sit waiting to pay in one very long line. One line that was slightly slower than the next. My impatient New Jerseyan came out in full force to the point where I could not watch one more car with the magic wand easy pass transponder get through the tollbooth before I did.
I was gripping my steering wheel, infuriated that somehow these people had all been invited to the blow-through-the-toll club and I hadn't. That was the end of that. The next day I happily snapped that plastic box onto my windshield, throwing all caution and paranoia to the wind.
Let the government have their way with me! Let them know all about me. Let them give me a ticket for speeding, trace my comings and goings, even show up at my doorstep and question me about why I was going where I was going. Just don't make me wait in a line while other cars are gleefully flying through tolls.
It's a psychological thing, because in reality over the course of your average highway trip E-ZPassers like me are probably only saving 2 minutes, but it's the principle of the matter. In short, I'd like to trade a little privacy for a little speed. And at the end of the day, I think that's what makes me a true Jersey girl.
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