The 411 on Virginia’s New Toll System, the E-ZPass

Despite having debuted several months ago, the E-Z Pass tolling system is still causing confusion in parts of Virginia. Designed to streamline highway traffic and shorten commute times while rewarding carpoolers with lower rates, this innovative system has met mixed reviews. Back in December, outrage occurred on social media when single-occupant cars on the I-66 express lanes were met with toll bills over $30. The E-ZPass and E-ZPass Flex systems are clearly still works-in-progress, but in the meantime, Virginia drivers have several options for lessening toll costs and reducing their risk of being fined.

E-ZPass vs. E-Z Pass Flex?

The E-ZPass Flex is key to lowering your toll charges. Created as a special E-ZPass transponder, it’s designed to accommodate cars carrying more than one person. Unlike the standard E-Z Pass, an E-ZPass Flex’s settings can be changed to a carpool mode, otherwise known as its HOV mode. When in HOV mode, certain highways like the I-66 express lanes are free for your vehicle. To be eligible, the toll lanes on I-66 require at least 2 people in the car, while the I-95, I-395, and I-495 require 3 or more. By 2022, you’ll need a minimum of 3 people in your vehicle to use carpool privileges on all of Virginia’s tolled highways.

Don’t Risk Getting Fined

Using your E-ZPass Flex incorrectly or failing to own an E-ZPass can result in various fines and penalties:

  • Anyone who drives in the Express Lanes without a pass will face a $12.50 fine.
  • Police are checking to see if E-ZPass Flex users have the appropriate number of passengers in their car while using HOV mode.
  • If you are an E-ZPass customer, you may still receive a Toll Violation Notice if your transponder isn’t mounted properly, its battery is dead, or it has been reported lost or stolen.
  • Make sure to check your E-ZPass account balance regularly. If you don’t have enough funds available, you will be penalized with a Toll Violation Notice.
  • Unpaid fines will also result in additional charges.

Where to Buy an E-ZPass

If you are without an E-ZPass or E-Z Pass Flex, it’s still possible to purchase one. Virginia drivers can order it online at or by calling 877-762-7824. To buy the pass in person, visit your local Department of Motor Vehicles center, AAA location, supermarket, or transit store that carries E-ZPass and E-ZPass Flex transponders. Buying yours today can help you avoid future fines and time-consuming detours.

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