The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has awarded a new contract that will see an award-winning back-office tolling system provide support for its delinquent unpaid toll-account operations.
THEA has awarded a three-year contract to ETAN Industries, which will now assume account management responsibilities for the agency’s delinquent unpaid toll-by-plate accounts, including customer service, notification, dispute resolution, and payment processing. Unpaid tolls are a critical, and potentially lost, source of finance, as THEA is a user-financed public agency led by a board of local citizens that operates with no tax dollars, and all revenue reinvested back into local projects in Hillsborough County. The ETAN/THEA partnership is expected to bring approximately US$1m to the Tampa Bay economy in its first year. The contract also provides the option of two one-year extensions.
Dallas-based ETAN will open a call center in Tampa, and provide staff for satellite customer service locations in the community. In support of THEA’s small business enterprise (SBE) policy, which was designed to encourage opportunities for small and minority-owned companies, ETAN has pledged to work with SBE or MBE (minority business enterprise) certified businesses whenever possible for its Tampa-based operations. ETAN has already demonstrated toll management success in Florida, as the Miami Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) is also one of its clients. The company also brings an award-winning product to Tampa, as in July of last year, ETAN was honored with the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association’s (IBTTA) Toll Excellence Award for the development of its FASTLane (Financial Accountability Solution for Tolling) platform.
Several aspects of FASTLane, which combines industry-leading accounting services with powerful video toll transaction capabilities, will be implemented at THEA.
FASTLane operates using a unified database and a common data model, enabling ETAN to offer a completely centralized system, with a single point of reference for everyone for the consumers, for the customer service team, and for the toll-authority administration. Its Point in Time database architecture allows for instant processing of adjustments, easy reconciliation with toll-authority data, and almost real-time reporting and control of video toll activities. Customers without a valid toll tag represent roughly 20% of tollway transactions, however they consume about 80% of administrative resources, from billing, to customer service, to payment processing, to collections. These tasks have been ETAN’s area of expertise for nearly 40 years.
“Customer satisfaction is at the heart of our business model,” said ETAN’s president, Steve Levine. “Our goal is to provide outstanding services to THEA’s toll users at every point of contact, whether it be by mail, on the phone, over the Internet, or in person. We look forward to working with THEA to facilitate smooth travels, and bring unsurpassed customer service to the Tampa-Hillsborough community.”
Rafael Hernandez, director of toll operations for THEA, said, “Customer service was the biggest determining factor in choosing a partner. ETAN makes it easy for travelers to resolve unpaid tolls incurred in our roadways. Even the process of removing a vehicle registration hold will be simplified for our customers.”