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Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: SDGuy
Date: September 15, 2007 02:57PM
"A Massachusetts man who insists his New Hampshire highway tokens are still valid just spent three days in jail because he insisted on using two tokens to pay a 50-cent toll."
[www.thebostonchannel.com]

Just wondering what sort of public notice was given that the State issued tokens would no longer have any value - and whether or not the State offered to buy unused tokens back from the public.

If there was no such notification and no trade-in program in place, then I hope this guy files and wins his lawsuit.

But if there was lots of pre-transition notices/billboards/newspaper ads/etc. and an easy way to exchange the old tokens for cash, then I'd have to say the guy falls into the "DumbAss" category...so, please enlighten me..I MUST know where my sympathies belong...
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: TL
Date: September 15, 2007 03:06PM
NH state website says: "NH Turnpike Tokens, by state law, are no longer accepted as a valid form of toll fare payment and there is no redemption program for tokens." Source: [www.nh.gov]

NH stopped selling tokens in 2005, and hasn't accepted them since 2006. This coincided with the move to the EZpass system. Source: [www.nh.gov]

I'm not from NH, but I can't see how this guy could be unaware of the change more than 18 months after it went into effect.
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: GGD
Date: September 15, 2007 03:12PM
It looks like in the end, those two tokens got him through the toll booth, and he got 3 days of free room an board. Although it did take up quite a bit of his time, I think the state lost money on this deal.

I wonder how many more tokens he has.
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: Seacrest
Date: September 15, 2007 03:28PM
Damn kids and their rap "music."





I am not Ryan Seacrest, and I do not approve this message.
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 15, 2007 04:13PM
It's about time they started cracking down on the crime around here.
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 15, 2007 05:47PM
Quote
TL
NH state website says: "NH Turnpike Tokens, by state law, are no longer accepted as a valid form of toll fare payment and there is no redemption program for tokens." Source: [www.nh.gov]

NH stopped selling tokens in 2005, and hasn't accepted them since 2006. This coincided with the move to the EZpass system. Source: [www.nh.gov]

I'm not from NH, but I can't see how this guy could be unaware of the change more than 18 months after it went into effect.

I'm not from NH either, just one of the adjoining states, Mass. I had not heard NH had ended use of tokens, not that it mattered to me since I never bought any. As for not providing for redemption, that could get the state in trouble at the federal court level if someone wanted to press the issue. Essentially NH issued a currency equivalent and did not provide for conversion at end of use.



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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: comaplate
Date: September 15, 2007 05:50PM
Tokens were phased out a long time ago, signs were posted by all the tolls months in advance. Given that he owns property in NH and the news coverage moving to EZ-Pass received in the Boston media, it's hard to believe that he would not be aware of the change over.

NH also let everyone know up front that it was a use-em-or lose-em proposition. A cheap move (in addition to cutting the toll discount from 50% using tokens to about 35% with EZ-Pass). On the flip side the EZ-Pass lanes move 2-3 cars through in the time it takes one car to go through the exact change lane (which used to accept tokens).

Anyone else catch the part of the article where the guy didn't tell his wife he was going to jail?
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: JoeH
Date: September 15, 2007 06:31PM
2 years is not a long time ago as far as things go. As far as Boston media, I get 4 of the stations out of Boston on my cable, don't recall a single story from that time period. As I travel regularily across NH to get to Maine, do not really recall noticing all that many signs saying they would be no longer accepted at the toll booths on i-95 either.

As for "use-them-or-lose-them", that has been ruled confiscatory in the past, no reason to believe the courts would ignore precedence if it came to a rulling. About the only thing protecting NH is that most peopple do not have the funds to fight it that far.



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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: September 15, 2007 07:24PM
Quote
JoeH
About the only thing protecting NH is that most peopple do not have the funds to fight it that far.

yeah, and one could say the same about the state of NH. no funds! (different topic, though)



Hurts like a bastid...
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: estnyc
Date: September 15, 2007 09:47PM
NYC tried tovdo the same thing when they got rid of subway tokens. Courts wouldn't let them get away with it.



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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: comaplate
Date: September 16, 2007 12:01AM
As a frame of reference, the legislation phasing out tokens was passed on June 29th, 2005. NH stopped selling tokens on September 1, 2005, and continued accepting them through January 1st, 2006. Tokens were sold in $5 rolls, and each one was worth 12 and a half cents.

Even if the guy bought them on the very last day they were sold, he still had 4 months to use them.

Two years was *plenty* of time to figure it out -- remember, the guy involved owns a home up north, so it's not likely this was the first time he's ventured from MA up to NH over the past two years.

There were signs posted all over the tollbooths before this happened-- of course, whether or not anyone chose to read them is a different matter.

When you boil it down, the guy was probably miffed about not having redeemed his tokens in the specified timeframe, and chose a silly way to try and make a point, opting for jail time over what most people consider a dead issue.

Am I annoyed that I still have a few tokens left over? Yes, they were mostly strays that found their way into change jars. Did I have ample opportunity to use them? Yes. Did I? No. Whose fault is that? Mine. Who's responsible for not using them before they expired? Me.

This is not a large-scale human rights or civil disobedience issue, this is a guy going out of his way to prove that he's right. It's okay to dislike legislation, but honestly -- it's not like we don't have Legislative, Judicial, and Executive branches of government here in NH, and it's not like NH is some sort of totalitarian state.

For the cost of part of a $5 roll of tokens, he got free room and meals for three days. That's either a good deal, or a senseless waste of tax resources because this guy didn't feel like following the rules.

Personally, if I had the choice of how my tax dollars were used on this guy, I'd would have preferred if the state trooper would have tasered the guy in full view of a TV news crew, that way I could at least have gotten some entertainment value from the situation.

I also would have settled for news footage of the conversation where he had to tell his wife he was in jail for 3 days because he refused to fork over $.50 to go through the tollbooth. I'm guessing had she been in the car at the time, she would have handed over the change and smacked her husband upside the head...



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/16/2007 12:09AM by comaplate.
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: Jem
Date: September 16, 2007 07:56AM
I'm from NH and do recall a fair amount of coverage on this subject, including the controversy over whether unspent tokens could be exchanged for cash back after the cutoff date for actually using them.

If I recall correctly the state eventually agreed to exchange them for cash ONLY if you had a very large stash of them still in their original rolls... not sure of the amount, but it was something like 1000 or more. Not something the typical commuter would have in their dash console.

At the same time, some NH *Businesses* used this as a marketing opportunity, accepting the tokens at original cash value towards purchases as a way to attract new customers to their stores and generate some goodwill.

I personally think it would have been the "right" thing to do to have offered an exchange period the month before usage stopped, located at the state DMV... not at the tolls.

But they didn't, and in the grand scheme of things this ranks as an annoyance but not some great injustice. There was fair warning, and unless you bought your tokens by the bushel load, you weren't likely to be out more than $5... the cost of one roll of tokens.

For the few tokens I now have left over in my drawer I accept as karma for all the *highway* tokens I took from my parents cars when I went to the local arcade. For some reason the machines at the arcade (FunSpot) used the same size, weight and color tokens as the automated tollbooths. And at the given discount, the highway tokens were cheaper than the arcade one... so I felt less bad than asking my parents for money to spend at the arcade. Cognitive dissonance, I know... but I was eleven at the time smiling smiley
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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: RAMd®d
Date: September 16, 2007 12:26PM
Posted signs of impending doom are often read and immediately forgotten by those not affected, in this case people who hadn't purchased tokens.

So while I agree with much of Joe's posts, it seems NH has their act covered.

And I'm not crazy about the Fed's stance on "use it or lose it" health plans, but there is sufficient notification, and one knows the end is coming.

I've still got a few Key System bus token lying around. But I think it's too late to redeem them.






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Re: Any New Hampshireites out there? "Man Jailed Over 50-Cent Toll"
Posted by: mrthuse
Date: September 17, 2007 09:04AM
New Jersey stopped issuing tokens when EZ Pass went into effect. At the time, tokens were good for one toll and if there was a toll increase, they still worked although when you ran out and had to buy more, you were charged the new price. One of the more zealous travelers in the area bought up a bunch and successfully used them until tolls were doubled (from $0.35 per toll to $0.70 per toll) and booths were made one way; same toll, same number of miles, just faster since you only paid at every other one. Stamped right on the token were the words "Good for one toll". Well, our zealous traveller insisted he only had to use one token instead as the state insisted, two. He was fined and got his date in court whereupon the judge decided he was over the top and found him guilty of toll evasion.

Sooner or later whoever has 'em will run out of 'em. Until that time, if somebody's bright enough to out-think Big Brother by buying up tokens in anticipation of a toll hike, I say good for 'em. The judge didn't see it that way. Maybe the guy in NH found out about the guy in Jersey.
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