Tolling cameras on the Golden Ears Bridge. (THE NEWS/files)

$9,000 in bridge tolls shocks Maple Ridge man

Jeffrey Hann was shocked to learn he owed more than $9,000 in Golden Ears Bridge tolls

Jeffrey Hann thought he was caught up on his bridge toll payments until renewing the license plate on his vehicle earlier this month.

According to reports, the Maple Ridge man was told by ICBC that he owed some money, which came as a surprise since he said he’d been paying his toll bills regularly on his white Dodge Ram for crossing the Port Mann Bridge and hadn’t received any other bills.

He thought the bills for Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges were linked. But the Port Mann used TReO as its billing system, whereas the Golden Ears used Quickpass.

But when he called Quickpass, the customer service agency that deals with tolls from the Golden Ears Bridge, he discovered he owed $9,000.56 – $4,988.65 in tolls, $3,535.35 in interest, plus $476.51 in unknown extra charges.

Quickpass had recorded his truck crossing the Golden Ears Bridge 1,200 times since 2011.

However, Hann is a union sheet metal worker by trade and, as a result, recorded information about the projects he worked on.

For almost a year, he was working in Kitimat, yet his truck was recorded numerous times crossing the Golden Ears Bridge. Same as when he was working along the Sunshine Coast and in Trail.

All of his tolls are video toll charges.

In 2013, Ian Christiansen of Maple Ridge received a $5,000 bill for Golden Ears tolls. Although he admitted his work took him over the bridge several times a day, he never received a bill despite the fact he had a registered transponder.

When he was finally asked four years later to pay, he owed $4,980.63. A lawyer told him at the time that TransLink has a legal right to collect for six years worth of debts.

In 2014, Greg McNally was doing his taxes when he found 23 mistaken billings in six months for the Golden Ears Bridge. One of the crossing dates he was in the hospital and nobody else was using his vehicle. At that time, Quickpass confirmed the billings were not his vehicle and the tolls were reversed.

TransLink maintains its video tolling system was tested for accuracy regularly over the years. Once a month, it would take a portion of video of bridge crossings and compare the automated system results to a manual review.

At least twice a year TransLink would audit those results.

Hann is fine with paying tolls that are actually owed by him, but has lost faith in the system. He thinks TransLink should erase all fines still owing to the company.

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