3:15 p.m. UPDATE : Elizabeth River Tunnels spokeswoman Leila Rice told WVEC.com that the demand has been high by all methods including at On-the-Go retailers.
'It's a good sign that people are getting their E-ZPass transponders ahead of tolling and understand that it will be the least expensive way to pay tolls,' she remarked.
12:45 p.m.UPDATE: Due to high demand, the offer to get new VA E-ZPass transponder with five free trips through the tunnels is extended to 1/13.
1/3/UPDATE: Today is the last day you can get five free trips at EZ pass stations when you get a new Virginia E-ZPass transponder (on a new or pre-existing E-ZPass account). The free trips must be be used by June 30.
Lots of ways to sign up. Learn more on the E-Z Pass page.
NORFOLK (AP)-Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton says the state needs to speed up an E-ZPass marketing campaign before tolls begin on two Hampton Roads tunnels.
Tolls on the Downtown and Midtown tunnels will be collected electronically using E-ZPass. The tolls begin Feb. 1.
The Virginian-Pilot reports that Connaughton criticized the marketing campaign's pace on Wednesday during a Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting in Richmond.
Virginia Department of Transportation consultant John Martin told the board that the agency planned to begin the marketing campaign in January. The goal is to distribute 75,000 E-ZPass transponders by February.
VDOT spokeswoman Karen Meyers told WVEC.com that as of December 2, there have been 5356 transponders distributed in the Hampton Roads region since November 1.
Elizabeth River Tunnels is offering an incentive to get people to sign up. People who live in Hampton Roads who get a new Virginia E-ZPass transponder (on a new or pre-existing E-ZPass account) by Jan. 3, 2014 will get five free trips through the tunnels to use by June 30, 2014.
At Connaughton's urging, Martin said VDOT will look for ways to begin some advertising sooner.
On the WVEC13 Facebook page, some folks said they'd already gotten their E-Z Pass. Two wrote about getting them from other states.
Ben Manning wrote, 'Go get one from Delaware. No service fee and they have a sale until Dec 31 where the transponder is free. That's what I got.'
Brad Brinke added, 'Massdot has free transponders with no monthly fee and just a $20 hold. You can get them online and they will ship for free.'
According to the E-Z Pass, 16 states are part of the network and an E-Z Pass bought in any of those states will work. However, if there is an service issue with the transponder, it will be need to be addressed with the state in which it was obtained, Meyers stated.
Information from: The Virginian-Pilot, http://pilotonline.com