The RFID-enabled sticker system launched by the Port of Los Angeles this week got off to a rocky start. The system, which enables toll collection as part of a pollution-reduction effort at the port, went live on Feb. 18, and by the end of the day an estimated 15% of trucks visiting the port had been turned away, creating serious gridlock issues.
The RFID system is similar to automatic tolling solutions being adopted by tollway systems around the country. In the case of the Port of Los Angeles, the system is part of a Clean Truck program approved last fall. In addition to gradually banning older, heavy-polluting diesel trucks from doing business at the port, a $35 per container fee has been instituted for carriers. The RFID system enables automated collection of the fees.
Roughly 16,000 trucks visit the port each day, and 80% of those vehicles will be subject to the fees. RFID tags are issued to trucks enrolled in the port concession program after a fee is payed and proof that the truck is a post-1988 model is submitted. Officials expect the program will generate around $1 million in fees, which will fund replacement of older, more-polluting trucks. Once the bugs are out of the system, that is.
According to local news outlet The Daily Breeze, on the first day of operation at least 1500 trucks were denied access to the port. Many of these were turned away because they lacked the proper tags, but a number of system malfunctions and improper registrations were also reported.
“The system itself is working and fees are being collected, but it appears there’s quite a few drivers that waited until the last minute to either get their (tags) or ensure the tags were working properly,” says Port of Los Angeles Communications Director Arley Baker, in a statement to the Daily Breeze.
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