Commuters who sign up for an E-ZPass transponder during September will be eligible for two weeks of free travel when the I-495 Express Lanes open later this year.
All travelers who wish to use the express lanes when they open will need an E-ZPass or an E-ZPass Flex, said Pierce Coffee, marketing director at Transurban-Fluor, and the promotion is an incentive for new users to get their tags before the lanes are operational.
"People are busy with their daily lives, so they wait until the last minute to get their E-ZPass, and then they might not be able to get it in time for [the lanes'] opening," she said. “So what we want to do is entice people to get their EZ-Pass before the road is open later this year so that they have it — it's in their car, they're ready to go.”
The promotion is only open for new E-ZPass users who sign up for the transponder service during September. They will then be eligible for two free weeks of express lane travel in January 2013.
Commuters who already have an E-ZPass will not be able to take advantage of the two free weeks, Coffee said.
The I-495 Express Lanes, which Coffee said are on schedule to be completed and open for travel at the end of 2012, will run a 14-mile stretch from the "Mixing Bowl" interchange in Springfield to near where the Dulles Toll Road meets the Beltway in Virginia.
Travelers will have the option to pay tolls in single-occupancy vehicles for a quicker ride, or to ride toll-free in HOV vehicles.
"For anyone who thinks they're going to want to use the lanes, it's a great opportunity to get your E-ZPass and get a little bit of a free trial," Coffee said.
To be eligible for two toll-free weeks, commuters must register on the Express Lanes website and get an E-ZPass in September. To purchase a transponder, commuters can go to the E-ZPass website or purchase them at select retailers. E-ZPass is available at AAA Mid-Atlantic stores, select Wegmans in Northern Virginia, E-ZPass Customer Service Centers and the Tysons Corner DMV.
The official rules are below:
Open only to new E-ZPass account registrants who (1) are legal residents of the following jurisdictions: the District of Columbia; in Maryland - Charles County, Frederick County, Montgomery County, or Prince George's County; in Virginia - Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, or Prince William County; and (2) open a new account for a Virginia E-ZPass or E-ZPass Flex at http://www.ezpassva.com between 9/1/12 and 9/30/12. The first 10,000 new registrants get toll-free travel on the 495 Express Lanes from 1/7/13 to 1/20/13.