Resolution Passed to Update RiverLink Business Rules
Conversion offer will be extended in the coming year
The Joint Board and Tolling Body met today and approved resolutions ratifying selection of a new toll services advisor (TSA) and amending business rules for RiverLink, the all-electronic tolling system for the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Project.
The Joint Board approved a resolution authorizing the Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) to procure the services of HNTB Corporation to serve as a toll oversight advisor (TSA) after the previous contract expired at the end of 2018. HNTB was selected after a request for proposals was issued this fall.
The Tolling Body, the group that sets tolling policies, passed a resolution making several changes to the business rules. Several of the changes are designed to update, refine and better define the framework for operations of the tolling system.
“We are approaching the end of our second year of tolling,” said Megan McLain, innovative finance manger with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. “The resolutions passed today reflect some of the changing needs of our maturing tolling system. Many are housekeeping issues to ensure our business rules are up to date and reflect day-to-day operations of the tolling system. We also want business rules to reflect updates expected in 2019.”
Updated Customer Service Hours
The new year will bring updated hours for RiverLink customer service centers. Two customer service centers and the customer call center are currently open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday – Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Customer service needs have decreased in the second year of tolling. By summer 2019, customer service hours are expected to change to 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday – Friday. Customer service is always available online, 24 hours a day/seven days a week.
Kentucky and Indiana have yet to institute inactivity fees for account holders, and updated business rules reflect that the fees are not in effect at this point. After 365 days of inactivity, the states can charge an inactivity fee of $5 a month until an account is depleted and the account is closed. The inactivity fee is designed to clear the books after an extended time of inactivity. Customers would first receive a notice of an approaching inactivity fee. As a new tolling system, the states have not found the need to implement the inactivity fee at this point.
If the payment method on file fails multiple times, the customers will be notified, and the payment source will be removed from the account.
Refunds are provided in the form of payment received. Only full refunds are applied to credit card payments. Any partial refunds are provided by check.
Pay-by-Plate Business Rules
The updated business rule reflects that drivers who sign up for Pay by Plate notifications are notified of crossings on tolled bridges for a period of 30 days.
For disputes taken over the phone by a customer service representative that require documentation, drivers must provide required documentation within 15 days. If the documentation is not provided, the dispute will be rejected.
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Toll rates are adjusted yearly on July 1. Rates increase annually by 2.5 percent, unless the rate of inflation (as measured by the Consumer Price Index) is higher. Amended business rules clarify which index is being used to determine CPI.
Extended Conversion Offer in 2019
“We’re always evaluating the tolling system and working to make it the best it can be for our customers,” said Paul Boone, Indiana Department of Transportation interim director of tolling for the Ohio River bridges. “This past year, we added a Pay by Plate option for drivers without prepaid accounts and transponders. In the coming year, we’ll make it easier for drivers who owe back tolls to open an account and save money.”
A one-time conversion offer allows drivers who owe back tolls to have tolls lowered to transponder rates and late fees waived when they open a prepaid account. The offer is currently available to drivers who have not reached collection status (4th toll notice). By summer 2019, the one-time offer is expected to be available to all drivers who owe back tolls, including drivers who have received a collection notice.
Another updated business rule would allow the states to authorize an amnesty period at a future date. Late fees would be waived if tolls are paid in full. There are currently no plans to implement an amnesty period, but the new rule provides a future option to collect outstanding tolls.
Joint Board and Tolling Body
The Joint Board and Tolling Body include transportation and finance leaders from Indiana and Kentucky. The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) commissioner, the Indiana public finance director, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet secretary and the Kentucky Public Transportation Infrastructure Authority (KPTIA) chairman, or their designees, make up the Joint Board. The Tolling Body includes the four Joint Board members and an appointed member from each state.
The Tolling Body sets tolling policies. The Joint Board was created to have long-term oversight and management responsibility for the Ohio Rivers Bridges Project.
Bi-state tolling representatives handle the day-to-day administration of the tolling system.
Note: Resolutions and supporting documents from the meeting will be posted at https://riverlink.com/about/joint-board/.