The Margate bridge and causeway will have a new name — Downbeach Express — and a new, less-expensive toll system, owner Ole Hansen & Sons announced Thursday.
A statement on the privately owned, two-mile causeway, which connects Northfield and Margate and is mostly located in a section of Egg Harbor Township, said the facility will begin a one-week transition from the current Quick Toll Card system to “the new, technologically advanced Downbeach Express Pass system.”
Cash tolls will remain $1.50, but while drivers currently have to buy a minimum $120 card for 100 trips at $1.20 per trip, or $70 for 50 trips at $1.40 a trip, the new Express Pass will allow drivers to purchase a card at a minimum of $50 for a standard $1.20-a-trip toll for every card.
“We’re doing away with the $1.40 toll,” Ole Hansen President Dave Goddard said. “It’s either cash at $1.50 or $1.20 with the Express Pass.”
The reduced minimum for the cards, he said, “gives the ability for more people to access the Express Pass. All you have to do is open an account for $50. When it gets down to $15, you would be notified, or you could set up an auto-replenish to automatically charge your credit card, safe and secure.”
The change also allows customers to manage accounts online or scan their smartphones instead of cards as they drive through the booths, he said.
In addition, commercial customers with large fleets of vehicles will be able to use scannable decals instead of each driver having to use a card, Goddard said.
Current cardholders will not have to exchange cards and will be able to use all of the trips in their accounts until they run out, when the system will automatically switch their accounts over to the new system.
The upgrade to the new system will take place between noon Oct. 21 and noon Oct. 26, and during that period customers won’t be able to make account deposits or open new accounts. Goddard asked that account-holders make sure their account information and balance is updated beforehand.
As for the new name, Goddard said in a statement that “as the most convenient, most direct link between offshore and the Downbeach community we thought our name should shout out who we are and what we do. Downbeach Express certainly fits that bill.”
Contact Steven Lemongello:
Follow Steven Lemongello on Twitter @SteveLemongello