No FastPass? Well, You’re Gonna Wait, and Wait

Continuing my series on life’s little joys, I get to a topic that is lighting up talk radio and the pages of the Boston Herald this week. It’s about the Mass Pike and Fastlane passes. I’ve had one of these little white boxes just above my car mirror for many years and I’ve extolled its virtues to all of my passengers as we’ve glided through the fast pass lane, never going less than 20 mph, while others stop and dig change out of their gloveboxes.

On Easter weekend, many of the fine employees of the Massachusetts Turnpike decided to call in sick. So at the Allston/Brighton tollbooths, there was just a single lane for those unfortunate enough not to have Fastlane passes. The Pike’s director, Alan LeBovidge, blamed the public yesterday for not buying enough passes. He said that the Pike is desperate and those employees are allowed to ‘bang in sick’ any day they want, even though it enraged motorists who had to wait in long lines. Even Fastlane holders got stuck, since so many non-fastpassers were clogging up the faster lane.

Managers at the Pike aren’t allowed to call more toll takers in since overtime is a bad word at the Pike. A survey next to the Herald article showed that despite the obvious logic that drivers who don’t want to wait should buy a Fastpass, most insist that the Pike should just rip out the tollbooths and make it all free. A mere five percent of survey respondents said yes, they’d be buying a pass, following the advice of the Pike director. Twenty-one percent say somewhat stubbornly that ‘The Pike should flow no matter what.’

If you don’t have a Fastpass, the message here is to stop complaining, because until you get one you’ll be sitting steaming in line with everyone else on Memorial day.